Governor Pat Quinn recently cut the state’s MAP program, which provides financial assistance to approximately 145,000 Illinois college students. Quinn reduced state funding to MAP by 50 percent, and unless the revenue is reinstated, there will be no MAP awards for the 2010 spring semester.

It is important to note that Quinn had the flexibility in the state budget to protect this scholarship program.

The cuts have understandably prompted an outcry from universities, community colleges and students across Illinois who depend on MAP. An additional $202 million is needed to fully finance spring semester awards. It is estimated that 138,000 students will be impacted by the reduction, and that many will be forced to leave school.

Although several funding options for MAP have been advanced—including a $1 cigarette sales tax that is supported by Quinn, and proposed amnesty for residents and businesses who owe back taxes—Quinn could fully fund the MAP program by taking revenue from $1.2 billion in discretionary funding given to him by the Legislature. However, Quinn has chosen not to use that revenue to finance MAP scholarships.

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