Illinois Legislative Black Caucus: Black Students Feel the Blow of Rauner’s MAP Grant Veto

A recent report published by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth examines how African-American students are disproportionally affected by the student debt crisis. This report was issued just before Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed MAP grant funding, which provides tuition assistance students who qualify both academically and financially.

“The governor added yet another obstacle, impeding the path of many of our smart, talented scholars who chose to stay in Illinois. He heard from his constituents and received thousands of petitions urging him to prioritize our state’s youth,” said Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter, chairman of the Appropriations committee. “Students face skyrocketing unemployment, diminishing opportunities and unprecedented student loan debt. Vetoing MAP funding is a slap in the face of the very students who will soon fuel our economic engine.”

A report released in early December published by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus explains how minority students are disproportionately low-income; therefore, programs that help low-income students attend college are likely to help minority students. The MAP grant helps close the achievement gap between blacks and whites.

“The governor’s veto sends a clear message that he doesn’t care about qualified students who need help achieving a quality education,” said Senator Emil Jones III, Chairman of the Senate Black Caucus. “Minority students are disproportionally low-income. The Governor is putting so many students who face challenges in the community at a blatant disadvantage. The Governor is out of control, and this is another instance that exemplifies his inability to lead Illinois in the right direction. ”

The MAP grant allows lower- and middle-income black families to send their children to college, which gives the next generation the qualifications for a higher-paying job. Middle-class students cut off from financial aid may have to drop out.

“It’s embarrassing that we have to fight our governor to get funding for a program that helps put poor students through school,” said Senator Napoleon Harris. The governor is out of touch with reality. Students in need, especially those at Chicago State, need this program to escape poverty, violence and trouble. It’s time Governor Rauner steps away from his political agenda and stops forcing people to suffer. It’s reckless.