WIU Faculty Member Appointed to State Working Group
October 8, 2013
MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University Economics Professor Steven Rock has been appointed to a statewide working group that will consider ways to increase the retention and graduation rates for college students receiving assistance through Illinois' Monetary Award Program (MAP).
The working group, authorized by House Resolution 296, is a follow-up to a 2012 MAP Task Force that looked at ways to make the program more efficient with the limited funding that is available. According to the 2012 Task Force, of which Rock was also a member, MAP students would benefit from additional institutional support, such as increased advising. The goal of the new working group is to examine best practices for academic advising for MAP recipients and recommend minimum standards. Staffing needs and costs will also be considered. Findings are to be reported by February 2014.
MAP, which was created in 1967, is designed to help low- and middle-income Illinois residents attend the colleges of their choice within the state. Last year, the program provided assistance to more than 140,000 students. MAP is one of the largest and most successful need-based, student financial aid program in the United States, but there are far more students who are eligible than funding available.
"Higher education is an investment in human capital that has a substantial rate of return to both the individual and the state, financially and socially," Rock noted. "Current MAP funding is only sufficient to help about half of those who are eligible. It appears that many students in the program do not complete their degrees due to various circumstances. We are hopeful that the working group will find ways to remove some of the barriers to success. This should help to reach the stated goal of having 60 percent of working adults in Illinois having higher education credentials by the year 2025."
The Task Force will hold public meetings around the state and seek input from stakeholders. For the complete resolution establishing the statewide working group, visit http://tinyurl.com/oavrkw8.