CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Illinois Institute of Technology has abruptly informed students who get state-funded grants that they must repay the money they received for the previous fall semester, or not be allowed to register for upcoming summer or fall classes.
Last fall, Illinois Tech credited students who qualified for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, anticipating that the governor and state lawmakers would resolve the state's budget stalemate and provide funding for the need-based scholarships.
However, with no end in sight to the budget impasse, Illinois Tech students who qualified for MAP grants have been told they must come up with the money they were credited.
Student Carly Ilg thinks Illinois Tech could be handling things better.
"Low-income students are not some piggy bank that you can just take the plug out and shake it until it's empty," she said.
Ilg and other students are upset that Illinois Tech is demanding payback from students.
"I feel like I'm being bled dry just to put myself through college. When you need a degree to even get an entry-level job, it's really disheartening," she said.
Illinois Tech students can either pay back the MAP grant credit in full, or pay it off through a 12-month loan that is interest-free until September, when a 6.8 percent interest rate kicks in.
Ilg, a graduating senior, said she can't afford that interest rate, and wants to know if she'll get her diploma if she can't come up with the money. If she doesn't, what about the job she has lined up?
"The money that I owe is more than an entire month's salary from when I was working full-time. All these recipients come from low-income families. I'm not expecting my family to help me out with this extra $2,300 that I owe," she said.
Illinois Tech said it will refund the students' money once the state finally approves funding for the MAP grants.
for more features.