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      Illinois tuition grant program out of money

      Illinois students who need grants to pay for their college education should not expect help from the state.

      "For students that missed out on the MAP money then it may mean that they will take out loan money instead," Melanie Lechtenbert, director of financial aid at John Wood Community College said.

      Taking out private loans may be the only option left for some students after the Illinois Monetary Award Program ran out of money.

      "I mean it's an unfortunate fact of where were having to draw back and reduce the amount of our budgets," State Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) said.

      "This year we kind of anticipated that, that cut off would increase especially with more FAFSA campaigns encouraging people to file early," Lechtenbert said.

      MAP is a grant that pays for tuition and institutional fees for students that qualify. Each year the program has seen decreased funds from the state and with a first come first serve process, advisors push students to apply immediately.

      "Last semester when I applied, I applied to late and I wasn't able to receive it," Stacey Wade, a John Wood Community College student said. "But I feel more confident about getting it this time."

      Wade is to familiar with missing out on the MAP grant money, that's why this year she applied early. But the for those students that didn't, chances are you won't receive the funds, but there are other options besides loans.

      "We would encourage them to look at outside scholarships there are several in the local community that they could look at," Lechtenbert said. "Go ahead and file the FAFSA form they may qualify for the pell grant which is free grant aid for them to go to school as well."

      The MAP grant issue will be addressed at Illinois General Assembly, but representative Jil Tracy thinks next years fund for the program will be even tighter. She encourages students to look else where for financial aid.

      Financial aid advisers encourage students to continue to apply for FAFSA in case the MAP application deadline is extended.