Lawmakers and State Treasurer Mike Frerichs are urging House members and then the Governor to follow the lead of the Illinois Senate and approve $373 million in Monetary Assistance Program money — or, MAP grants for college students. State Senator Sue Scherer, during a news conference at Millikin University in Decatur — told the story of a young girl that wouldn’t have gone to college without a MAP grant. That student, Scherer says, was her. “Do you have to be rich to go to college? Is that what happens in Illinois?” Scherer (D-Decatur) says. “Do you have to be rich to make anything above minimum wage? Do you have to be rich to be successful in school? Don’t you deserve a chance if you’re not born rich?”
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Governor Bruce Rauner has said he doesn’t want to see a piecemeal approach to passing a state budget. Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says in this case, his former colleagues don’t have a choice in this case. “I think there’s a consensus out there, and there is a way forward on the budget,” says Frerichs. “As long as there’s insistence that these non-budgetary items have to be passed first, and there’s an unwillingness to compromise on those, then I think this budget battle is going to drag on for awhile. It’s not fair to the universities, and it’s definitely not fair to the students to hold them hostage.” The average MAP grant award is $4,720 per student — lower than past years, but Frerichs says still makes a huge difference.