College students and educators from all over the state rallied at the Capitol Wednesday in support of the state’s MAP scholarship program.
It’s part of the Quinn administration’s effort to convince lawmakers to extend or make permanent the five percent income tax, which is supposed to recede to 3.75 percent after 2014.
Many students say they wouldn’t be able to attend college without the program, including Michelle Bautista, a student at Augustana College in Rock Island. “I get about $2,000 from it every year, which is a huge deal in my family considering I am a first-generation American and a first-generation college student,” said Bautista, whose parents are from Mexico.
Currently, there are more eligible students applying for the grants than there are actually receiving them: 140,000 students received a MAP scholarship for this school year. That
number could go down further, though Gov. Pat Quinn says he’d prefer to increase enrollees over coming years. He’s urging the legislature to take his budget suggestions, which include keeping in place the temporary income tax increase set to expire in 2015. “We have to have a learning society in Illinois. We have not one person to miss. If they have that ability to go to college we don’t want them to be denied that opportunity because of lack of money. That’s where scholarships come in,” Quinn told rally-goers.