College-bound Illinois students seeking financial aid to offset their tuition costs will be turned away if their application was received after March 13, because the state has run out of money.
Illinois received a record high flood of Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) from current or prospective college students vying for a piece of the state's Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant money this year, prompting the Illinois Student Aid Commission (ISAC) to suspend fund disbursement starting March 14, the Northern Star reports. Before the ISAC put a hold on all grants, they had lowered the maximum award from $4,968 last year in anticipation of less available money and a greater need this year.
MAP funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and the Chicago Tribune reports that FAFSA aid requests were received from between 140,000 to 145,000 students by March 13, for values that will deplete the available funding for the 2012-13 year. Request submitted on or after March 14, a deadline announced by officials Tuesday, will be denied, affecting an estimated 140,000 students who will still seek aid for the coming academic year.
Colleges were alerted Friday that further applications would be ineligible for grant awards. FAFSA applications have been accepted since Jan. 1, according to the federal application's website.
ISAC spokesman John Samuels says the March cutoff marks the earliest the state has ever run out of MAP grant funding, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed adding an additional $50 million to the $387 million sum Illinois awarded the ISAC to continue the grant program this year, to meet the increased need, the Tribune reports. But Samuels says the anticipated need would call for $1 billion to fund financial aid for each applicant.
The funding shortages coincide with rising college costs, particularly at in-state schools. DePaul University students have been engaged in a battle with administrators over proposed 5 percent increase in tuition for incoming students and 2.2 percent for current students.
The University of Illinois blamed diminished state funding for a 4.8 percent tuition increase planned for next year, after a 6.9 percent hike last year, bringing the annual tuition costs to more than $24,000 at the Urbana-Champaign campus.
Critics and school officials say the financial aid drought will have the most negative impact on the state's neediest students. Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford told NBC Chicago he hopes the state legislature will address the funding shortage when the General Assembly reconvenes in Springfield Wednesday.
"When you start to look at choices you have regards to spending, I don't think there's any question with regards to public safety and education opportunities for not just young-young people but mature older people," Rutherford said on NBC, later adding: "We need to start to prioritize, and those two are very important to have happen."
I'm all for paying high prices for good value -- and my education was certainly of quality -- but I'm not in the market to be abused. From interest rates to the ease of borrowing, to confusion of terms and steadily climbing price of college tuition, I guess I have to thank all of the higher education system while I have the floor to speak. To the loan companies, the banks and private colleges: thank you. I and my peers will forever be indebted to you. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brittany-baker/debt-up-to-my-neck_b_945267.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
I currently owe around $23,000 not including interest and Parent PLUS loans, which my mother is still generously paying off. She is 60 years old and works 11 to 12 hour days selling flooring, which her employers pay on commission and only if no mistakes are made. She can't retire because she has to help me pay back my loans, and she won't let me pay the PLUS loans myself. It's very frustrating. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-vattuone/colleges-catch22_b_945213.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
As an average, working-class, white American male who is neither left-handed nor a great athlete, the options for scholarships available to me have always been slim. Combine that with my parents' income -- which is above Pell Grant eligibility and too high to be considered for greater loan amounts -- and you get my situation. At the end of the spring 2012 semester I will be $50,000 plus in debt, which means I will have reached my loan cap for borrowing. With a credit rating that sunk to an embarrassing low years ago, there is no way for me to borrow using private loans to finance my education. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quinn-anderson/quinn-anderson-27-boise-s_b_943879.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
I graduated from the New York Institute of Technology in May 2010 with a degree in Communication Arts; I am currently working 2 part-time jobs with no benefits and making $12 an hour. I'm also so over my head in debt with college loans. It's to the point that I'm considering filing for bankruptcy. I went to college to educate myself and make more money, but it feels like I dug my own grave. College is one of the biggest scams in the world; some of these institutions charge students between $700-$800 per credit for an undergrad degree. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laquinda-settles/a-degree-in-hand-but-what_b_951098.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
I am a 31-year old woman originally from Ohio working and living in New York City area. I graduated with a Master's degree in Speech and Interpersonal Communications from New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in 2007. Logging into the Federal Student Aid website I see that today my balance is $104,104.63 for a percentage of the information in my head. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aleesha-nash/debt-thats-worth-it_b_945223.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
I am a recent graduate from Elon University, a private school in North Carolina, and have $90,808 of college debt. Though my debt seems extremely high, Elon is also regarded as one of the most affordable private college educations. My story dates back to high school where my parents worked opposing shifts simply to make ends meet. I knew since middle school that I would go to a great college and venture away from my hometown. My motivation during the past 17 years of my educational career was to do well, go to a great college and then have no problem landing my dream job. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaclyn-cabral/post_2357_b_945238.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
I graduated from the Ohio State University with a fine arts degree in 2004. This is what I settled on after changing my major four times in my first three years at school. Clearly college wasn't for me, but I finished it because I wanted to make my parents proud and thought it would improve my life. Neither of my parents went to college, but they managed a pretty good life for themselves. Like all loving parents they wanted me to have a better life than them and were duped into believing that college was the answer. From the first day in elementary school to my last day in high school, we believed the myth that college was the only real path to success. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-newman/forced-to-fall-off-the-gr_b_945263.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
I turned down a full ride at Michigan State (a school that ranks in the top 20 in my field, education) to get the HBCU (Historically Black College and University) experience at Hampton University. It was the best thing I could have done as far as experiences go, but the worst for my finances. They say you can't put a price on experience, but I can. Roughly $24,000 my freshman year, and it only got more expensive every year after that. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brandon-woods/i-should-have-listened-to_b_951080.html" target="_hplink">Read more...</a>
I grew up with an insatiable need to explore the world around me. So I knew when I was going to go to college I was going to do two things: One, major in journalism and two, leave my home. It was time for me to blaze my own path. I had worked hard throughout high school and did all those things they tell you to do to get as much money out of the process as possible. I was an honors graduate and was involved in almost every kind of extracurricular activity. I did my best to be the girl any college would want -- and therefore would hopefully give money that she wouldn't have to pay back. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erin-dunphy/excited-for-the-future-ev_b_945253.html" target="_hplink">Read more....</a>