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Education Desk
The Education Desk is our education blog focusing on key areas of news coverage important to the state and its improvement. Evidence of public policy performance and impact will be reported and analyzed. We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of education from pre-natal to Higher Ed.Dusty Rhodes curates this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.About - Additional Education Coverage00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d385d0000

State Budget Boosts MAP

Mason jar with coins in bottom.
Carter Staley
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015 — minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.  

The Monetary Award Program, known as MAP, provides grants of up to $4,700 to low-income college students. The two-year budget impasse shone a bright light on the program, as these students spoke out about how the lack of funding threw their lives into chaos. Lawmakers responded by increasing the amount going to MAP scholarships by 10 percent in the new state budget.

Tom Cross, who led House Republicans for more than a decade, now chairs the State Board of Higher Education.

“This was good. I applaud the General Assembly for passing this budget with respect to MAP,” he says. But even this increase isn’t enough.

“We could — in terms of the need to take care of all the kids eligible for MAP — we actually need more money,” Cross says.

He says he hopes this renewed commitment to MAP funding will persuade students to stay in Illinois. The state ranks No. 2 in the nation for out-migration of college students. In fact, Illinois held this ranking long before the budget impasse.

“We’ve got an efficient, streamlined way we run schools now, we’re taking care of our kids with MAP, and we want you Illinois students to stay in Illinois,” Cross says. “We have great schools.”


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After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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