By Bob Schaper
ROCKFORD (WREX) -- More than a dozen students and staff from Rockford College will be in Springfield tomorrow.They'll ask lawmakers to restore $200 million to the state's Monetary Award Program, or MAP.
The administration says there are 300 students at Rockford College who receive more than $700,000 MAP grants to help pay their tuition. But as it stands now that money runs dry after this semester -- a situation they hope to change tomorrow.
The situation started when Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers were struggling to balance the state's budget last spring. One of the areas they slashed was aid for college tuition.
"This funding is important for our students to be in school, and for them to cut it during the spring semester would be very hard for our students to find that money and make it back up," Lindsay Kent, a coordinator at the Jane Addams Center, said.
Tomorrow Kent and 15 Rockford College students head to the capital to join more than 900 students from all over the state. Their message?
"Just tell them how important it is, how they're taking this opportunity from the people who need it the most," Jenifer Swanson, a Rockford College student, said.
One staffer predicts the current cuts will have an impact on the school body.
"I think that we would probably see a lot lower enrollment rates, we would see a lot of students who struggle to find financial aid," Scott Leezer, a resident hall director, said.
And that makes no sense, Swanson says. "Our economy's not going to get any better if people can't go to school and better themselves."
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