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February 23, 2016
By Rafia Ali, Hinsdale Central
We live in Illinois, therefore we have incredible pizza, an awesome hockey team and huge debt. According to Illinois Policy, Illinois has some of the highest debt level in the nation, currently $127 billion. And we’re on course to increase it by $6.2 billion in 2016. So when the MAP bill was brought in the Illinois Senate, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed it.
As students, we don’t often engage in state politics, and the presidential election has consumed the media, but in January, as I was discussing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), with my guidance counselor, she warned me to not get my hopes up for receiving aid, due to the lack of state funding. She mentioned the MAP Grant, the largest grant for students in Illinois that doesn’t have to be repaid, but I forgot about it until a couple days ago when Rauner vetoed a bill that would have appropriated $172 million for MAP because of the lack of a state budget.
Illinois has not had a budget since July 2015.
While I understand that the MAP Grant would further put a strain on social services providers and receivers, Illinois’ huge debt and lack of support for high education is putting a huge strain on colleges and universities because they don’t have have state funding. Chicago State University faces the threat of being closed down because of the lack of state funding and 130,000 students that have received the MAP grant face uncertainty. This proves to reveal the fallacies in our state politicians and their failures in handling a growing debt while cutting back on higher education spending.
Rauner has refused to start budget negotiations until his agenda has been passed. Again, politics are getting in the way of us, the students, from getting a higher education. For students, this is incredibly detrimental, because as the cost of college gets hiked up every year and schools struggle without state funding, the state government goes back and forth, as the debt increases in billions every year.
And we though Rod Blagojevich was the worst of it.
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