MAP Grant Reductions Leave Thousands Without Aid

Syed Ahad Hussain, Senior Staff Writer

The second and third term payments of 2010-11 Monetary Award Program (MAP) have been reduced up to five percent. According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s (ISAC) newsletter, “When the 2010-11 Monetary Award Program recomputed formula was approved by the commission in June, it was not known whether an unexpected 45 percent increase in applications would necessitate a reduction to MAP applicants’ awards. It was decided…that second and third term claims would be reduced to ensure that the 2010-11 MAP appropriation would not be overspent.”

However, it’s the state that overspent the money, not the students. “When students fill out their FAFSAs across the state, state projects the required estimated money they need to spend, which help them set the suspense date or the deadline,” said Maureen Amos, Financial Aid Director, “and when the suspense date passes, schools start to claim the required money.”

“On December 15, 2010, when [NEIU] claimed our money, the [state] found out that they didn’t have enough leftover from Fall 2010 to finance everybody 100 percent for Spring 2011,” said Amos, “so, they had to wait until we claim, so they know exactly how much they got and how much we needed.”

“It’s hard to keep a hold of the budget, so they keep moving the suspense date,” said Amos, “so they did their own calculation and implied a five percent reduction for each student.” In order to apply the reduction equitably, claims for second and third term will be reduced in the following manner. For semester schools: 5 percent reduction to payment on the second semester claims, and for the quarter schools: 3.7 semester reduction to payment on both second quarter claims and third quarter claims.

“It only effected the students who filled out their FAFSAs prior to April 17, 2010, because those are obviously the only students who actually get the MAP grant,” said Amos, “it doesn’t effect their Fall and Spring MAP grant that we already paid out, because prior to disbursement, we went in and subtracted the five percent so that we wouldn’t have to bill students later. Then we sent the notifications via email and the NEIUport.”

ISAC starts processing the 2011-2012 FAFSAs, and usually lets the university know between March and April, when the suspense date will be. According to Amos, they keep moving the suspense date back and currently the ISAC is going most likely to suspend the 2011-2012 MAP eligibility into March 15.

Students should rush out to fill their FAFSAs as soon as possible in order to get their maximum financial aid and grants. The financial aid office is doing FAFSA filling workshops on all three NEIU campuses, and they will also have their tables at the Village Square. For updates on the grant cuts, visit the 2010-11 Payment Claim Deadlines page, located within the MAP Payment section of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area at