Student activism saves map grants
Wearing red and carrying signs, Bradley students united last fall in an effort to convince Illinois lawmakers to reinstate funding for the Monetary Awards Program (MAP), which are grants given to students based on need. In response to Bradley’s active approach, student body president KYLE MALINOWSKI ’11, above center, stated, “Bradley was one of the most, if not the most, influential and motivating schools in this fight.” After weeks of dedicated activism, the General Assembly rewarded the students’ work by voting to restore MAP appropriations.
“It is still unclear how the legislation plans to pay for next semester’s MAP grants,” said D.J. PIEHOWSKI ’10, above left, in October, “but this bill being approved can at least put students’ minds to rest, eliminating the thought of being forced to drop out of school after winter break.”
MAP funding was in jeopardy for the spring semester because of the state budget crisis. The program costs the state $400 million annually, an amount that was initially cut in half by the six-month budget passed in July 2009. Currently, 1,451 Bradley students, totaling more than 28 percent of the student body, receive MAP grants. The mean household annual income for MAP grant recipients is $23,550.
After Dr. Alan Galsky, vice president for student affairs, informed the Student Senate that MAP funding was being cut, Bradley representatives drew up a unified student proclamation in support of reinstating MAP and mailed it to student body officers throughout the state. They received strong support in the form of signed petitions from more than 35 colleges and universities.
Bradleys’ first student-driven campaign effort, a MAP grant summit, took place on October 8 at the Hartmann Center on campus. The schools that were sent the petition were invited. As a result, representatives from schools across the state came to hear the speakers and to urge the same point: MAP grants have been a vital part of education funding for many Illinois college students over the past 42 years, and without them, more than 137,000 students’ educations statewide are at risk.
Gov. Quinn, right, had recently heard Malinowski speak at a MAP rally in Chicago. He was so impressed with the idea of organizing school leaders in one location, as well as with Malinowski’s message, that he decided to speak at Bradley’s rally. Other speakers included President Joanne Glasser; State Sen. David Koehler; Malinowski; and MAP recipients JADE PETERS ’10, JENNIFER DURHAM ’10, and NICOLE CARTER ’10. Durham summarized one of the main arguments when she pointed out, “For most students, there are not any other options if the state fails to fund the MAP program.”
A week later on October 15, approximately 100 Bradley students traveled to Springfield to take part in a rally at the Illinois Education Association building.
Malinowski emceed the event at Gov. Quinn’s request. As the rally ended, Quinn announced that the House had passed appropriations for reinstating MAP funding. “To help Bradley play such a crucial role was an honor,” Malinowski said.
Afterward, Bradley students met with Koehler and State Rep. Jehan Gordon. During the ride home, Brad McMillan, executive director of the Institute for Principled Leadership, announced that the Senate had approved the MAP funding. “Bradley students showed tremendous leadership in advocating for the restoration of the spring semester MAP funding. Student power can make a huge difference in our state’s capital,” said McMillan.