If you're paying for your child's college tuition in Illinois, you'll be glad to hear that lawmakers have approved a bill that funds and stabilizes the monetary award program, or MAP grants.
Going to college can be expensive. That's why Makayla Briggs chose to start her college career at John Wood Community College.
"Choosing the community college route, I was very happy to make that decision because that meant I wouldn't have to go thousands and thousands of dollars into debt." said Briggs, a sophomore at John Wood.
In Illinois, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) gives grants to students like Briggs. However, John Wood Director of Financial Aid Melanie Lechtenberg said funding of those grants hasn't always been consistent because of issues with the state budget.
"There were some schools that notified the students that they had the money but were unable to access the money. So, it really varied but those students across the state of Illinois, sometimes they didn't know if that money was going to be available or not." said Lechtenberg.
Lechtenberg said with new legislation, those grants could become more stable which would keep students from going out of state for college.
"They'll still have steps they will have to go through to qualify for them but it's more of a guarantee that if I stay in the state of Illinois, I will have funds to go to school." she said.
While Briggs said, with rising tuition costs, she needs any type of financial aid she can get.
"With my half tuition scholarship I am receiving, with that financial aid and the map grant, I am going to be leaving here debt free and looking onto that four year university, I'm not going to be as worried as I was." explained Briggs.
MAP grants are given out on a first come first serve basis. That's why officials at John Wood said it's important to fill out your FAFSA as soon as you can.
To qualify for a MAP grant, you must be an Illinois resident, demonstrate financial need and be enrolled in a minimum of three hours per term at an approved Illinois college.