Greetings and happy Spring to everyone!
In a time when finances are up in the air and the economy is less than desirable, students and their families are feeling nervous about college. And, while some schools are certainly doing their part to ease the financial burden caused by tuition hikes with better financial aid programs, the situation is still not perfect.
The fact of the matter is that funding an education is simply harder these days, and state governments are feeling the heat too. One such situation has recently been brought to light in the state of Illinois, where students are for the first time in a long time being turned away for grant money. This is because the highly-sought Monetary Award Program (MAP) pot has run dry.
Thousands of students have recently filed their FAFSA, which, as many know, awards financial aid on a first-come basis. The MAP grant is dispersed along with other FAFSA-related aid (i.e. federal loans), and as such, it too is given to early applicants. By mid-March, Illinois saw 140,000+ FAFSAs submitted, forcing the usual end-of-month deadline for the MAP to spring up abruptly (March 13th, to be precise).
The problem facing Illinois this year was a limited budget, combined with 40,000 more students applying for financial aid than last year. And, while the aforementioned 140,000 college hopefuls will receive the MAP grant (valued at $4,968), that many (if not more) will be denied. The state is already doling out a large chunk—$387 million—for this grant program, and to accommodate each student would require that total to reach $1 billion. Still, it is Governor Quinn’s hope to raise $50 million to at least provide 35,000 more students with aid money.
Thankfully for these students, all is not lost. While the MAP grant is out of reach for the 2012-2013 academic year, other financial aid is still available via filing the FAFSA. As we all know, financial aid in any amount can be a huge help to families.
Entering college today means learning some hard lessons, including that of being mindful (or better yet ahead) of financial aid deadlines, and the tough reality that some aid is limited. What this does encourage, however, is looking at college financing from all angles—including looking near and far for financial aid options. Scholarships, loans, sponsored grants, and everything in between—you don’t know what kind of help you can receive unless you try! And there are experts who want to help you in your search, too. Give our solutions center a look, and see how Go Financial Aid can assist you.