University News

Econ Faculty Member Appointed to State Task Force

February 8, 2011

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MACOMB, IL -- Steven Rock, a professor in department of economics and decision sciences at Western Illinois University, has been appointed by The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) to a nine-member task force that will review a proposal of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to provide supplemental funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) through college opportunity investment notes (COINS).

The need-based MAP Program, created in 1967, was designed to help low- and middle-income Illinois residents attend the colleges of their choice within the state and last year provided assistance to more than 140,000 students.

The ISAC is proposing to sell $100 million of COINS annually to supplement state funding of the cash-strapped MAP program. The task force will report its findings and recommendations to the IBHE at the board's Feb. 15 meeting. The task force has been meeting on a weekly basis and has gathered testimony and data to analyze the proposal.

According to Rock, more than 120,000 lower income students are eligible for the program, but funds are not sufficient to help them.

"As a result, many students are unable to afford higher education. Given the state's financial situation, it is unlikely that additional appropriations will be forthcoming," Rock added. "The ISAC's proposal to fund the program is an innovative idea to tap investor rather than taxpayer funds. The higher salaries MAP recipients earn would be pledged to repay the bonds. This may be a 'win-win' situation, both for the students involved and the taxpayers of the state."

Rock joined the WIU economics faculty in 1990.

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