News & Events

Concordia-Chicago to cover student MAP Grant obligations

2/26/2016

Concordia University Chicago announced today that a credit will be applied to the accounts of students who were eligible to receive Illinois MAP Grants during the 2015-2016 academic year. The decision affects 558 Concordia-Chicago undergraduate students who are current MAP Grant recipients.

“The ability for our students to continue pursuing their degrees is of paramount importance to Concordia University Chicago,” says CUC President Rev. Dr. Daniel Gard. “The MAP grant represents $2.3 million in funding that the University has not received—and we remain hopeful that a funding resolution will be reached soon. However, with a budget stalemate that has gone on for eight months, our current students and families face considerable hardship and uncertainty with only three months remaining in the academic year. The difficult and unprecedented step we have taken at Concordia-Chicago will minimize the uncertainty for our students, providing them reassurance that they can complete the current academic year without additional financial concerns—particularly those students graduating in May.”

The announcement follows a recent student-led rally at CUC’s River Forest campus. The event was organized by Concordia-Chicago student government leaders and attended by students from CUC and other Chicago-area universities who voiced their concerns about the state’s inaction related to funding MAP grants. Concordia-Chicago faculty and staff also attended in support of the students.

Illinois State Representative Emmanuel Chris Welch (D-7th), vice chair of the House Higher Education Committee, was in attendance and personally addressed the students. Concordia-Chicago students are represented by 101 members of the Illinois House of Representatives and 59 members of the Illinois Senate. During the rally, student leaders contacted Governor Rauner’s office on behalf of all MAP grant recipients and collectively expressed the need to fund the grant program.

At the rally, several students shared compelling stories about what the MAP grant means to their continued ability to remain in college. Senior Perla Vargas, of Onarga, IL, described the hardship that has been placed on her family. “Trying to pay the [tuition] balance out of pocket is one of the most difficult things in our lives right now,” she shared. “Because I also have a brother who attends a state university, my family is feeling a double effect of no grant funding and no state budget.” Vargas called on students to continue to take action. “Speaking and voicing our opinion is important and our voices will not be taken for granted.”

University administrators have been closely monitoring the Illinois budget impasse and the effect on MAP Grants since early this fall. Early during the budget impasse, President Gard wrote letters to each of the 160 Illinois state legislators representing the districts of Concordia-Chicago MAP recipients, to express the critical need for an immediate budget resolution.

The Illinois Monetary Award Program helps financially eligible students cover the cost of attending college. Because the State of Illinois has not passed a final budget for fiscal year 2016, MAP grant funds have not been disbursed to any college or university in the state. The maximum individual MAP Grant amount per eligible student is $4,720 annually and $2,360 per semester. The average MAP Grant award for CUC students is $4,064.00 per year.

According to the ISAC website, MAP eligibility is determined by information provided on students’ Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the cost of attendance at their chosen institution and the amount of other financial aid that each student receives.

Concordia-Chicago urges all students to complete their 2016-2017 FAFSA, regardless of the current MAP grant funding situation.