Skip to Content Bruce Rauner, Governor, State of Illinois

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Important Dates

08/29/2017

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) would like to make you aware of the following information, which may be of interest to you and/or your students.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at ISAC's website (isac.org).

You may either scroll through the remainder of this message, or click on the appropriate link(s) to go directly to a specific section:

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)

2016-17 (July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017)

2017-18 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018)

2018-19 (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019)

GENERAL INFORMATION

State Budget Update

Following the approval of state operating budgets for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 in early July, ISAC staff continues to review and analyze the impact to each of our programs and to determine the next steps in delivering student awards. We have and will continue to communicate with colleges regarding necessary processing activities. Be sure to regularly visit the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area, where a "Program News" section for each program provides the most up-to-date information.

IVG Processing to Transition to GAP Access

As indicated in prior webinars and other communications with the financial aid community, ISAC anticipates that all operational functions for the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program will transition to the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs Access (GAP Access) portal at some point during the 2017-18 academic year. However, the unusual manner in which the state budget was approved in early July necessitates an abbreviated processing cycle for programs that received fiscal year 2017 (FY17) appropriations. As a result, ISAC resources (including staff and systems) are currently focused on closing out 2016-17 processing, in an effort to facilitate the quickest-possible delivery of available funds to institutions on behalf of their students.

Once all 2016-17 processing has been completed, work will resume to transition IVG operational functions to the GAP Access portal and to launch an IVG interactive application at the ISAC Student Portal. As updated information regarding these initiatives becomes available, it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., IVG Program News, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging service).

Reminder: Current Paper Applications Available in e-Library, and Review Your Website for ISAC Links

The current versions of all paper applications for ISAC gift assistance programs and loan repayment/forgiveness programs are posted at the e-Library's Applications, Forms & Brochures page. If your institution provides printed copies of these applications as a service to your students, be sure to occasionally verify that you are distributing the most recent version by comparing the date that appears in the footer of your printed supply with the corresponding date in the footer of the document posted at ISAC's website. For example, the current version of the IVG Program application has a date of "6/17" in the footer.

You may also consider occasionally reviewing any ISAC links on your college website to verify they are taking students to the correct URLs. As a reminder, the ISAC website is located at isac.org.

August 30: Webinar

ISAC will offer a webinar to provide another ISAC operational update, review of a Monetary Award Program (MAP) award calculation, and an overview of changes to the 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 2 p.m. (CT). To participate, visit the Partner Training page in the e-Library for the webinar link and to access the presentation materials, both of which will be posted on the day of the session. Registration is not required.

Details regarding additional webinars that will take in the coming months are provided in an August 29 e-Message.

September 13: Next Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. A listing of tentative agenda items will be available prior to the meeting via the ISAC's Governing Board: The Commission section of the About ISAC area. Visit the Commission Meeting Schedule page for information regarding the dates and locations of meetings scheduled in 2017.

September 17: Constitution Day

Find resources to help develop programs for the annual observance of Constitution Day, including access to the Constitution Day Resources page for students, via the Constitution and Citizenship Day document that is located in the e-Library's Job Aids & Reference Materials area. Required of institutions receiving federal funding, educational programs about the U.S. Constitution are to be held on or around September 17 every year.

Holiday Schedules

  • September 4: Labor Day – ISAC offices will be closed on Monday, September 4 and will reopen on Tuesday, September 5.
  • October 9: Columbus Day – ISAC offices will be closed on Monday, October 9 and will reopen on Tuesday, October 10.
  • November 10: Veterans Day – ISAC offices will be closed on Friday, November 10 and will reopen on Monday, November 13.

Although ISAC's offices will be closed on the days listed above, the MAP component of the GAP Access portal will be available during regularly scheduled hours and will reflect records processed by the Central Processing System (CPS) through the last business day immediately preceding each respective holiday.

For Assistance

Access the Financial Aid Administrators area anytime, or send an e-mail message to ISAC's School Services Department. With the exception of days when the ISAC offices are closed, ISAC staff will review and respond to messages during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT).

2016-17 ACADEMIC YEAR

Early September: 2016-17 MTI Payment Request Data Available at My Zone

In an effort to facilitate the quickest-possible delivery of funds to institutions on behalf of their students, 2016-17 Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program payment request roster data will be available at the My Zone portal in early September and will require immediate action from the school. Watch for future updates with specific details.

2015-16 MTI Scholarship Program payment request data is due to ISAC on August 29, 2017.

Looking Ahead: 2016-17 Enrollment Verification Data for ISAC-Administered Teacher Education Programs

Due to the unusual manner in which the state budget was approved in early July, and in an effort to facilitate the quickest-possible delivery of available funds to institutions on behalf of their students, ISAC resources are currently focused on closing out 2016-17 processing for those programs that received FY17 appropriations. Once that process has been completed, 2016-17 enrollment verification data will be made available at My Zone for students who received funds from the following ISAC-administered programs in prior years: the MTI Scholarship Program, the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program, and the Optometric Education Scholarship Program (OESP) (as a reminder, OESP awards are available only for students attending the Illinois College of Optometry).

As specific details become available regarding when online rosters may be completed by the college and returned to ISAC, it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., the MTI Scholarship, Illinois SETTW and OESP "Program News" sections, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging service).

2017-18 ACADEMIC YEAR

Online Processing for ISAC-Administered Military Programs

ING Grant

Eligibility data for the 2017-18 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program may be accessed online via the GAP Access portal, and will be available whenever there is a new or updated eligible record for the college. Details regarding ING Grant Electronic Processing are provided in the Financial Aid Administrators Processes area. As has been the case in recent years, the FY18 higher education budget does not provide for compensating institutions for waiving the tuition and fees of Guardsmen (meaning that ISAC will not be able to reimburse institutions for 2017-18 ING Grant awards). However, data regarding ING Grant benefits used still must be submitted so eligibility units can be accurately assessed to students' accounts.

As announced in a July 3 e-Message, functionality for reporting 2017-18 ING Grant benefits used data is also available via the ING Grant system (accessed via the GAP Access portal).

IVG

Summer term benefits used data for the 2017-18 IVG Program, which is due on or before September 15, 2017, is currently being accepted via the IVG Online Payment function at My Zone and via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Even though the FY18 higher education budget for the State of Illinois does not provide for compensating institutions for waiving the tuition and fees of veterans (meaning that ISAC will not be able to reimburse colleges for 2017-18 IVG awards), benefits used data still must be submitted so eligibility units can be accurately assessed to students' accounts. Further details are provided in an August 21 e-Message.

2017-18 ISAC Administrative Rules Available

ISAC Administrative Rules, which have been adopted for the 2017-18 academic year, are available within the e-Library and may be viewed in two formats: "Listed Alphabetically" and "Listed by Program Type/Topic."

2017-18 MTI Scholarship Applications Still Being Accepted

Although the priority application consideration date for the 2017-18 MTI Scholarship Program was March 1, 2017, applications are still being accepted. Complete applications will continue to be accepted for as long as funding remains after all timely qualified applicants have been awarded. Encourage all minority students who meet the program's eligibility requirements to apply as soon as possible.

Student Loan Interest Rates (for period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018)

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has announced the following student loan interest rates, which are in effect for the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

  • For undergraduate students, the interest rate on subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2016 is fixed at 4.45%.
  • For graduate students, unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2017 have a fixed rate of 6.00% (graduate students are not eligible for subsidized loans).
  • The interest rate on Federal PLUS loans (for parents and for graduate/professional students) disbursed on or after July 1, 2017 is fixed at 7.00%.

Further information may be accessed via the Interest Rates page of the Financial Aid Administrators area, as well as in a May 30 ED electronic announcement.

September 15: Summer Term Benefits Used Data Due for 2017-18 IVG Program

Summer term benefits used data for the 2017-18 IVG Program is due on September 15, 2017.

Even though the FY18 higher education budget for the State of Illinois does not provide for compensating institutions for waiving the tuition and fees of veterans (meaning that ISAC will not be able to reimburse colleges for 2017-18 IVG awards), benefits used data still must be submitted so eligibility units can be accurately assessed to students' accounts. Colleges provide ISAC with the benefits used data needed to assess IVG eligibility units, which is a required activity, via the IVG Online Payment function at My Zone.

For more information regarding the process of reporting benefits used, refer to the August 21 e-Message and the IVG Claims section of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area.

September 29: 2017-18 Illinois SETTW Verification Rosters and Certification Forms Due

Illinois SETTW Verification Rosters and Verification Roster Certification Forms, used with the 2017-18 Illinois SETTW Program, are due back to ISAC on or before September 29, 2017. Refer to the ISAC Gift Assistance Program's SETTW Tuition Waiver Process area for sample rosters and forms.

October 1: 2017-18 ING Grant Applications for Full-Year/Fall Term Due

The interactive application for the 2017-18 ING Grant Program remains available to complete and submit online via the "ISAC Programs" portion of the ISAC Student Portal. Students should use the 2017-18 application to apply for the fall 2017, spring 2018 and summer 2018 terms. The application priority consideration date for full-year and fall-only awards is October 1, 2017. Applications received after October 1 will be considered only for second semester (second/third quarter) and/or the summer term.

October 1: 2017-18 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire or Correctional Officers Applications for Full-Year/Fall Term Due

The application for the 2017-18 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire or Correctional Officers remains available to download and print. Students should use the 2017-18 application to apply for the fall 2017, spring 2018 and summer 2018 terms. The application priority consideration date for full-year and fall-only awards is October 1, 2017. Applications received after October 1 will be considered only for second semester (second/third quarter) and/or the summer term.

Continuing throughout the Year: Complete and Submit Certifications for 2017-18 MTI Scholarship Program

The Teacher Education Scholarship Programs (TESP) component of My Zone that allows colleges to complete students' initial certifications online for the MTI Scholarship Program remains available for the 2017-18 academic year. Further details are provided in a May 11 e-Message. Be sure to continue completing and submitting initial certifications throughout the year, in order to ensure that your students will be included each time awarding takes place.

Later This Fall: 2017-18 MTI Scholarship Payment Request Rosters Available at My Zone

The 2017-18 TESP online payment function is anticipated to be available via the My Zone portal later this fall. 2017-18 MTI Scholarship Program payment processing will be announced shortly thereafter.

Watch for a future e-Message that will provide details regarding the specific date on which the 2017-18 TESP online payment function will be available in My Zone.

2018-19 ACADEMIC YEAR

Encourage Returning Students to Start Planning Now for 2018-19 Academic Year

FAFSA Available on October 1 – Make Sure FSA ID is Ready

This is the time for returning college students (and, for dependent students, their parents) who have not already done so to create an FSA ID, to be used in October when completing the FAFSA. As you know, FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for MAP, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. Encourage students to submit the 2018-19 FAFSA, which will require 2016 income information, as soon after October 1, 2017 as possible.

Changes to the IRS DRT Process for the 2018-19 FAFSA

An August 7 electronic announcement from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) provides detailed guidance regarding how privacy and security concerns related to the Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) raised by the IRS in March have been addressed, as well as how the new resolution will impact the important work done by postsecondary institutions.

You are receiving this message because you registered for ISAC's e-Messaging service through one or more subscription groups for FAAs.

If you have any questions regarding this e-Message, please contact ISAC's School Services Department by calling toll free at 866.247.2172 or sending an e-mail message to isac.schoolservices@isac.illinois.gov.