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Columnist
Students to rally for MAP grants at state Capitol next week
By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 10/9/2009 12:03 AM

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Students from across the state will be traveling to Springfield next Thursday to lobby for Illinois legislators to restore $200 million in MAP grants during the current veto session.

The MAP program awards financial aid grants to Illinois students based on need, with an average grant, in the past, running about $2,500 to $3,000 a year.

Students can apply for money and use it at public colleges and universities in the state, along with the vast majority of private ones.

According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, nearly 140,000 students - roughly a fourth of all Illinois College students - rely on the grants.

The commission, which runs the grant program, learned in mid-July that it would receive just half of the money it had expected to - about $220 million instead of $440 million.

As a result, fewer students are receiving aid, and even those who are will lose their funding come spring. Interested? Check with your college to see if they've got a bus going down.

AIDS quilt, free testing at ECC: Elgin Community College is displaying part of the AIDS Memorial Quilt next Tuesday and Wednesday as part of its observance of AIDS Awareness Days.

Sections of the quilt will be hung in the Instruction Center Lounge on the Main Campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin and at the Fountain Square Campus, in downtown Elgin, room 439. The quilt, according to a college news release, is considered to be the world's largest ongoing community arts project.

From noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the college will also have staff from the Renz Addiction Counseling Center of Elgin on hand to conduct free and confidential HIV testing in the Instructional Center. For information, call (847) 214-7370.

Elgin Academy author returns: "The Little Book" author and former Elgin Academy Headmaster recently visited his former school to speak about his work, which took 30 years to write and has now received accolades from Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.

The book centers around the story of Wheeler Burdon, a famous rock star who finds himself traveling across continents and time, meeting historical figures along the way.

U-46 gets donations: U-46 this week received a sizable corporate donation that will be put toward school supplies for homeless and needy students.

According to district officials, the number of low income students in the 41,000-student district has reached record numbers, currently at about 21,000 students.

• Kerry Lester covers Elgin Area District U-46, private schools in Elgin and Elgin Community College.