There’s hope for Illinois college students who have not applied for MAP grants yet. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission suspended applications March 1, anticipating that the applications for the Monetary Award Program already exhausted the expected money available from the state for the 2013-14 school year. But the commission’s executive director says most students eligible for MAP are also eligible for a federal Pell Grant.
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“Last year, our estimate of Pell Grants that went to Illinois students was about $1.3 billion,” says Eric Zarnikow, “and based upon the FAFSAs that have been filed so far this year, we believe that Illinois students are eligible for over $1.1 billion in Pell Grants for the upcoming school year already.” Most families wrestling with college costs have the word FAFSA in their vocabularies already; that’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Zarnikow tosses out this nugget as well: a typical college student in 1970 could work a minimum-wage job full-time for five to seven weeks – less than one summer – to pay for the year’s tuition and fees. Today’s college student would have to work about 32 weeks at minimum wage.