Chicago’s Columbia College announced Monday that it would not fund student’s Monetary Award Program grants for the 2016-17 academic year as a result of the state’s ongoing budget impasse.
The state has been without a budget since July of last year. As a result, Illinois' social services and public colleges and universities have been adversely affected.
The school did announce, however, that it will cover the $7 million balance owed to students by the state for the 2015-16 academic year. Columbia has over 1,800 MAP grant recipients.
“We recognize that Illinois is in the midst of a budget crisis, but expecting college students to carry the burden of the state’s budget failure is unconscionable,” Columbia President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim said. “I’m proud to lead a college that puts students first and commits to supporting them in a substantial way under these extraordinary circumstances.”
Other state public schools have also made cuts in the wake of the impasse. Chicago State University has announced a plan to cut its school year short and Northeastern Illinois has added furlough days as a cost-saving measure.
“We’re all in this together,” Kim added. “Institutions across the state are also asking themselves the same hard questions about how to fund students this year without compromising the quality of education students expect and deserve.”
Kim announced the decision not to fund MAP grants for the 2016-17 school year on Monday, two days after the college hosted an open house for over 3,000 prospective students.
In response to the school's MAP issue, Columbia plans to make resources available to create financial plans for students in need. The school is also preparing an additional plan if the state’s budget issue is not resolved by next spring. That plan will allow students to pay off money that would have been covered by grants over an extended period of time.
Illinois lawmakers reconvened in Springfield Monday following March’s legislative break but no legislation on the docket slated for committee hearings is related to the state’s budget impasse.