WIU Participates in MAP Rally at State Capitol
May 1, 2014
MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University's voice was made loud and clear once again in Springfield April 30 as WIU President Jack Thomas spoke, at the request of Gov. Pat Quinn, at a MAP Matters Day Rally held in the capitol rotunda. Thomas also had the honor of introducing Gov. Quinn at the rally.
The event, which organized students and educators from across the state, was held to rally support for Quinn's plan to increase MAP (Monetary Award Program) scholarship funds for deserving college students within the state of Illinois. Quinn's plan is to increase MAP funding in order to provide 21,000 more students with the opportunity to attend college.
"This is a day of hope, as we are very enthusiastic with the prospect of significant growth in the funding for the Monetary Award Program," Thomas told a crowd of 300. "This increased funding will have a direct and positive impact on the enrollment of so many of our students."
Western receives $10.4 million annually in MAP funding, with 35 percent of the University's student population defined as MAP eligible. However, only 27 percent receive grants through the Monetary Award Program, noted WIU Office of Financial Aid Director Bob Andersen.
"An increase in MAP funding will have a significant effect on the lives of even more students and the citizens of Illinois," Thomas added.
The state currently allocates $373 million each year for MAP grants, which benefits more than 140,000 Illinois college students. Quinn's FY'15 plan calls for an increase of $50 million. According to the Office of the Governor, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the Monetary Award Program, received a record number of MAP applications through February 2014.
The University also hosted a legislative reception/alumni event Wednesday evening at the Sangamo Club. Macomb-area legislators Sen. John Sullivan and Rep. Norine Hammond, WIU Alumnus Sen. Kirk Dillard, several members of the legislature, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and numerous WIU alumni and friends joined Thomas and other WIU leaders for the event. WIU and Macomb officials also participated in Macomb Day at the state capitol.
Thomas and other University leaders were in Springfield last month, and in early March as well, to present budget-related testimony before the Illinois Senate and House Appropriations Committees, respectively, to urge legislators for greater support of, and funding for, higher education.