Students urged by Financial Aid to file FAFSA’s for tuition aid

By Alejandro Cortez

February 11, 2014

For the past two years, Monetary Award Program grants from the federal government, or MAP Grants, have slowly run out earlier and earlier in the year. MAP Grants are awarded to students residing in Illinois and are planning to attend an in-state college or university.

Unfortunately, MAP funding has been unpredictable in the recent past and the deadline for receiving money is expected to be approaching in late February as opposed to the typical March.

Two years ago, MAP funding was suspended on Mar.16. Last, funding was suspended but the state decided to extend the deadline for an additional two weeks.

According to Debbie Morsovillo, assistant director of Financial Aid, around 30 additional Dominican students were able to receive MAP Grant financial assistance last year due to the extension of the deadline.

Financial Aid urges that students immediately begin filing their FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, because those who wait until they actually file their taxes are not likely to receive funding in time to beat the deadline.

“Students can file last year’s taxes and fill in those numbers, but not submit [those estimated numbers] it to the IRS,” Morsovillo said, suggesting what students should do to fill out the most accurate data on the FAFSA form they can.

Dominican University has a limited budget for additional scholarships and cannot provide assistance students who miss the deadline.

“We don’t know when the shutdown is going to be [because] they haven’t told us,” Morsovillo said. “Last year, on Feb. 27, they told us, ‘we’re shutting down on Mar. 1.’ They gave us 48-hour notice.”

After the shutdown last year, Morsovillo and others did what they could to help students and are doing the same this year.

“We tried contacting and making phone calls to every student who hasn’t filed their taxes to file them.”

Morsovillo said that for this year, the federal government projects that the MAP Grant will be reduced 5 percent from last year, making the effective maximum amount for this year roughly $4,720 per eligible student.