Blackburn College is taking action to support the educational success of its students.
Due to the state’s inability to pass a budget, Blackburn College, along with all colleges and universities in Illinois, has not received Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding for the current 2015-2016 school year. Students are now uncertain if their current financial aid is a reality, and both current and prospective students are unsure of financial aid opportunities for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.
52% of Blackburn students qualify for and normally receive MAP funding as part of their financial aid package. Students, parents and entire families are affected by the lack of action from the state government and they are seeking answers that will offer a bright future for all college and university students in Illinois.
“The issue of affordability in higher education speaks to the very mission of Blackburn College,” said Dr. John Comerford, President of Blackburn College. “The College’s long history includes providing higher education for those students who may not have the financial means to earn a college degree. Blackburn’s unique, student managed Work Program helps to provide an economical, valuable educational experience for students and the College provides additional financial aid to ensure that capable students are not left out simply because of their financial situation. Blackburn College remains one of the best options for many low-income, first generation students in our state.”
“The inability of the state to approve MAP grant funding for deserving Illinois students is unacceptable.”
On February 20, the Blackburn College Board of Trustees approved action to help Blackburn students continue their education without interruption or additional hardship. Blackburn students rely on MAP funding to keep college costs affordable and the College feels obligated to ensure students are able to continue their college education without waiting for resolution of a political process.
MAP grant student awards, as approved and granted in financial aid packages for current students will be covered by the College for the 2015-2016 school year. Additionally, the College will cover equivalent funding for all new and existing students for the 2016-2017 school year. Students will need to meet all admission requirements, financial aid deadlines and income eligibility requirements.
“While extending the funds now to assist students will create a hardship for the College, the Blackburn Trustees feel that supporting our students is imperative to the school’s mission,” noted Comerford. “The action is taken in anticipation of the state’s resolution of the budget crisis and restoration of the MAP grant funding to all institutions. If the state’s support of this program erodes or disappears, the College’s investment of funds now will have a tremendous negative impact on future generations of students. We hope that students, parents, and concerned citizens will urge their legislators to seek a solution to the state’s budget battle and continue funding of the Illinois MAP program.”
Students, parents, and families can rest assured that the recent gap left by the unfunded Illinois MAP financial aid program will be met by the College. Student education and success remains at the heart of the Blackburn community. The institution strives to meet the needs of each individual student who aspires to a college education, continuing the Blackburn tradition of providing an affordable, quality educational experience.