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March for MAP Grants at Statehouse

Wednesday hundreds of students marched on the capitol to plead for a budget deal. (WICS)

College students who once received aid from the state are coping with an old problem.

MAP grant payments to qualifying students of up to $5,000 every year stopped last July 1, the first day of the budget impasse.

288 days later and there are still no payments; Wednesday hundreds of students marched on the capitol to plead for a deal.

The issue has been going on for quite a while, but there are now some serious consequences affecting people in our community.

Some college seniors nearing graduation are forced to take out high-interest loans to make up the difference, some high school students are no longer looking to apply to colleges in Illinois, and many students are having to drop out of college altogether, with no guarantee they'll one day re-enroll.

Listen to this UIS student talk about how the 10 months of inaction from lawmakers could impact her family.

"I'll be a senior in college, he'll be a senior in high school, and she'll be an eighth-grader. If we don't come out and stand for our MAP grants now then my family is not going to have the opportunity to come up and bring themselves up with me. I don't want to be the only person in my family to go to college. I want them to come, but if we don't get the MAP grants, they can't," said Christina Sanchez, UIS junior.

This year, UIS paid out roughly $2.5 million in map grants to about 700 students when the state failed to do so, but Christina Sanchez says she has friends at other colleges that weren't so lucky.

With no deal in sight and UIS unsure about next school year, Christina says the uncertainty is nerve-wracking. She says not many people have a backup plan if the lawmakers' budget crisis forces them to drop out of school.

Wednesday evening, the Senate passed the $3.9 billion spending plan the House approved Tuesday. It includes MAP grant funding.

Governor Rauner is expected to veto it immediately, but even if he doesn't the state's backlog of bills means students won't get their payments for a long time.

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