State pulls MAP money after 'over-commitment'

By WEEK Producer

May 17, 2013 Updated May 18, 2013 at 5:54 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- It's the end of one school year, but many students are wondering what the future will bring, with decreases in Illinois Financial Aid. The state announced that thousands of students will be losing a chunk of their financial assistance due to an over-commitment.

Financial assistance for college education is being cut short in Illinois after the state announced they will be reclaiming 2 million previously promised dollars.

Nearly 10,000 students who filed for the Monetary Award Program or MAP after the March deadline will have their assistance reduced by 10 percent.

Colleges like Illinois Central College felt the impact. They are losing $23,000 in MAP funding for more than 200 students.

"The average reduction we are seeing is about $85," said Beth McLain, ICC Director of Student Financial Services. "Our average MAP disbursement for a student per semester typically is $600."

One ICC spring graduate in nursing, Angela Larson, says she is graduating Saturday thanks to programs like MAP.

"It definitely comes into play for a lot of incidentals that come up," Larson said. "A lot of times, financial aid doesn't cover everything that is required for classes, and you still have to live. Not everyone can work full time and still go to school."

Students at private institutions like Bradley University won't have to worry too much about the mistaken over-share by the state. University officials say they will lose $9,000, but they will absorb the amount with no effect to students.

"Considering what they are dealing with at the state capital, almost anything can happen," Bradley Enrollment Management Vice President Paul Schroeder said. "This is something that we could have expected."

Illinois State University is another school which will be absorbing the costs for affected students. Their loss is $50,000, which would have affected 142 students with a $330 dollar decrease in assistance for each.

Larson says, although, MAP may only be as much as a few hundred dollars a year, it adds up in a big way.

"I would have been on a much more extended program," Angela Larson said. "I probably wouldn't be graduating this year. I would have had to take time off and figure something else out."