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MAP Grant Money Gone, But Federal Pell Grants Available For Illinois College Students

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Stack of cash (CBS)

Stack of cash (CBS)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Higher education is not cheap, and a state program that provides financial aid is now diverting people to a federal program.

WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports the Illinois Student Assistance Commission suspended applications for the Monetary Award Program – also known as MAP grants – on March 1, because the number of applications at that point was expected to exhaust the available money for the 2013-14 school year.

But the commission’s executive director said most students eligible for MAP are also eligible for a federal Pell Grant.

“Last year, our estimate of Pell Grants that went to Illinois students was about $1.3 billion,” said Eric Zarnikow, “Based upon the that have been filed so far this year, we believe that Illinois students are eligible for over $1.1 billion in Pell Grants for the upcoming school year already.”

Most families wrestling with college costs have the word FAFSA in their vocabularies already; that’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Zarnikow said a typical college student in 1970 could work a minimum-wage job full-time for five to seven weeks – less than one summer – to pay for the year’s tuition and fees. Today’s college student would have to work about 32 weeks at minimum wage.

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