Each year, the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities lobbies on behalf of the needs of private colleges and universities and students. On Wednesday, April 25, the federation held their annual Private College Student Lobby Day in Springfield. Today, more students than ever need financial aid; the purpose of Student Lobby Day is for students to encourage legislators to put more money into our state’s need-based student aid program, the Monetary Award Program (MAP). This program provides direct financial assistance for many students at private colleges and universities.
More than 700 Illinois Institute of Technology undergraduate students receive the MAP grant. Business undergraduate Ameena Payne traveled to Springfield with Vice President of External Affairs David Baker and Associate VP of External Affairs Jeanne Arens to represent IIT and lobby for MAP grant student recipients to help make the case to the members of the legislature. Payne was able to meet and discuss these issues with Senator Kwame Raoul, Senator Mattie Hunter, and State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz and Ken Dunkin. Northwestern University and Depaul University were among the other colleges that met in Springfield at the governor’s office to convey that student aid funding must be a priority and that private college students cannot be overlooked. Payne states, “IIT has been an integral part of many of the wonderful opportunities presented to me. So many IIT students are recipients of this grant, and so being here is much bigger than me. I came to the capital be an advocate for all of us students who rely on the MAP grant each year.”