The House and Senate are expected to discuss the Map Grant Program. Nearly a quarter of all state college students and 28 percent of NIU students are part of Illinois's largest financial aid program. But as part of the budget squeeze law makers and the governor decided to fund only half of the 440 million dollar program..
That's enough to get kids through the first half of the school year. The governor wants to raise the cigarette tax to cover the loss in funding, while Republican house leader Tom Cross offers up a different idea.
"One way to fund it is through the Tax Amnesty Program. We did it eight years ago. Other states are using tax amnesty plan to raise revenue. This is a pretty significant, I think, problem for kids going to college. I was someone who utilized student loans and comparable programs. It was the way I got through college. And in tough economic times it could make a difference," said Cross.
The Tax Amnesty Program allows people to pay back taxes without penalties for a six week period starting January first. But according to the Chicago Tribune that would raise only about half of what's needed to pay Map Grants for the spring semester.