IVCC borrows from reserves to cover MAP grants

Hannah Smith, IV Leader Associate Editor

IVCC will rely on its reserve funds again this year to fund Monetary Award Program grants, hoping the state of Illinois comes through again with reimbursement.

Though the district recently was reimbursed in full for MAP grants awarded in 2015-2016, “we have not gotten any word of any funding for this coming 2016-2017 school year,” said Patricia Williamson, director for IVCC’s Financial Aid department.
Approximately 550 students at IVCC are awarded money in MAP grants per year, and Williamson said that number could change as enrollment fluctuates.

IVCC covers MAP grants because college officials “believe in standing by (their) students,” Williamson said. “Our board of trustees and our president are very adamant that this isn’t the students’ fault and they will fund money someway, somehow,” she added.

IVCC was one of the few colleges in the state that covered MAP grants in 2015-2016, hoping the state would eventually pay the college back. IVCC covered the funding for both semesters. The absence of funding was the result of the budget stalemate in Springfield.

MAP grants use the financial information students give when filling out Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications and are based on financial need and awarded on a first-come-first-served basis.

Though IVCC has not received any money from the state thus far for the MAP grants, administrators are confident that the money they provide for the 2016-17 MAP grants will be funded by the state eventually.

A full year of MAP grants costs around $500,000, which qualifying students see in tuition relief.

Though IVCC’s budget is tight, funding for school programs continues with little help from the state. The school claims its budget is currently in line with where it was at last year, though it is short $1.8 million in state funding so far.

Cheryl Roelfsema, vice president for business services and finance, commented on the school’s budget preparation and its revenue expectations from the state: “We prepared our budget with 75 percent of the funding that we received in fiscal year 2015. In 2016 we only received 27 percent of that 2015 funding.”

Roelfsema also mentioned that if IVCC does not receive the $1.8 million in state revenues it expects, the college will continue to draw on its financial reserves.

Though the state Legislature has appropriated $800,000 to help with six months of funding, IVCC is not sure when they will be receiving the money, but college officials remain confident it will come through later in the year.

The other main sources of revenue for the college are tuition and property taxes.