State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) voted yesterday, for the third time, to fund Monetary Assistance Program grants that allow low-income students to attend college this year. More than 1,000 Illinois students were unable to return to school after winter break because the lack of a state budget meant they did not receive the financial assistance they had been promised.
“One of the worst things we can do for economic growth in the state of Illinois is to deprive our people of the opportunity to get an education, train for a better job or acquire the skills they need to go into business for themselves,” Collins said. “My Senate Democratic colleagues and I have consistently voted to meet our obligations and pay out the grants these students were promised, and we will not give up.”
Senate Bill 2043 includes $397 million for MAP grants, $260 million to keep community colleges open and nearly $50 million for career and technical education. Last May, the General Assembly sent the governor a budget that included these vital expenditures, but Gov. Rauner vetoed it, sending the state into a months-long budgetary impasse that has forced some of Illinois’ most effective social service providers to cut back or shut down, in addition to barring college students from their classes. In the fall, the Senate again voted to fund MAP grants, and then – as now – the governor threatened to veto the legislation.
“Gov. Rauner has a decision to make, and I urge and implore him to make the right one,” Collins said. “Will he continue to treat low-income students as collateral damage in the personal and ideological battle he has launched, or will he help these hardworking men and women improve their lives and make Illinois more competitive in the process?”
SB 2043 has received both House and Senate approval. The governor has 60 days after it arrives on his desk to decide whether or not to veto it.