February 21, 2017
By Crystal Medrano
For the second straight year, Dominican students, along with students from other schools Illinois, went down to Springfield to fight for higher education funding.
As of right now, there is no funding for the Monetary Awards Program (MAP) Grant for this fiscal year. Approximately1, 200 Dominican Students receive the MAP Grant as part of their financial aid package and are at a great loss without it.
Student Government Association (SGA) President Jonathan Sass understands the great impact that this has on students and hopes for understanding from state legislators.
“It’s concerning that our representatives are not able to come to a professional agreement for our education systems,” Sass said. “I hope that this funding will continue because it gives people the opportunity to be who they want to be.”
The MAP grant provides students up to $5,000 a year, that is approximately $2,500 a semester. This is a big amount of money for tuition and without it, the plans of many college students would be very different.
Freshmen Yulissa Izaguirre and Stephanie Valladares commented on how losing this grant would affect them.
“I wouldn’t even be going to college if it wasn’t for the MAP grant because I would have to go to a community college and I feel like community colleges don’t live up to the standards of universities like Dominican,” said Valladares
Izaguirre shared similar feelings.
“I don’t want to go to a community college, the education I get at Dominican is irreplaceable,” Izaguirre said. “I’ve seen too many of my friends and teammates leave this school because of financial reasons and if the MAP grant is taken away, kids would either not be going to school or they would be taking classes that don’t give the full education of a liberal arts university like this one does.”
At last year’s rally, students protested in the Capitol Building. A big difference at this year’s MAP rally is that students got the chance to talk to their representatives face-to-face and share their stories.
Professor David Dolence and Fr. Brendan Curran commented on the impact of this change.
“I’ve been coming down here for 10 years now and last year’s was very focused,” Dolence said. “This year was very different, so it was a different kind of success.”
“You know, we are in the same place we were in last year so the importance of students coming here today makes a difference, it really does,” said Fr. Brendan Curran.
The ability for students to walk into the office of their representatives and share their personal experience was very memorable for a lot of students.
Senior Brianda Aguilar shared the details of her positive experience.
“It was really nice for us to tell our story to our representatives and be assured that we are being supported,” Aguilar said. “The MAP grant is a big deal because our families work for us to get an education and this grant is a huge weight off our shoulders.”
“It was nice to allow our representatives to actually see our faces,” said Sr. Magaly Robeolledo. “People talk about this subject as helping out the students and this opportunity allowed them to actually put a face to the student’s word.”
Although it may not have been a protest party as it was last year, the importance of students showing their need for their share of $5.3 million was just as big or even bigger because of the opportunity to speak to the people who are making this possible for the students.