Skip to Content Bruce Rauner, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Update

VOL. 35, NO. 4F
October 2017

Messages sent to:   Multiple Subscription Groups
  ISAC Update Group

Welcome to the October 2017 ISAC Update for financial aid administrators and business officers. This version of the electronic ISAC Update is a compilation of e-Messages sent through ISAC's e-Messaging service throughout October.

The articles in this Update have been organized according to the FAA subscription groups to which the messages were distributed.

Questions?

Questions regarding information in this ISAC Update can be directed to School Services at 866.247.2172 or at isac.schoolservices@isac.illinois.gov. On occasion, you may be directed to a specific contact person or area; when this occurs, we will provide the appropriate information in the individual article or message.


MULTIPLE SUBSCRIPTION GROUPS


2018-19 MAP Data Now Available via GAP Access
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on October 23, 2017.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).

As explained in a September 14 e-Message, an unexpected lack of a quorum of commissioners at the September 13 meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission meant that the 2018-19 Monetary Award Program (MAP) start-up formula could not be presented for a vote. The proposed start-up formula, which is the same as the 2017-18 recompute formula, will be presented to the Commission for approval at its November 15, 2017 meeting.

In the meantime, in order to provide colleges with the data they need to assist students, ISAC has implemented 2018-19 start-up activities. Colleges should be aware that, while unlikely, there remains the possibility of a change in the 2018-19 start-up formula as a result of the November Commission meeting. Information from that meeting will be shared with the financial aid community via the usual means of communication (the MAP Program News page, the FAA Message Board, and this e-Messaging service).

Effective today (Monday, October 23, 2017), 2018-19 MAP data based on the anticipated start-up formula may be accessed via the MAP component of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal. All 2018-19 Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) received by ISAC through (including) Friday, October 20, 2017 are available with their accompanying eligibility status information. Daily processing of 2018-19 ISIR and eligibility status information has commenced.

Processing Details

  • The GAP Access portal, including the MAP system, is available each day between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (CT).
  • The MAP system (accessed via GAP Access) works best using Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher.
  • When applying the 2018-19 start-up formula, the maximum annual award amount for the MAP grant is being reduced by 2%, which makes the effective maximum $4,869.00.

More Information Available at isac.org

The MAP section within the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area has been updated with the proposed 2018-19 start-up formula. Details regarding calculating a term award for both semester and quarter schools, and guidance regarding rounding, are also available.

2018-19 MAP 160 Byte File Layout Specifications may be accessed via the Electronic Tools area of the e-Library.

Be sure to regularly visit the MAP Program News page for new updates, and watch for future communications via this e-Messaging system.

Notification to Applicants

Colleges are required to announce MAP awards to eligible students enrolled at their institutions. ISAC will mail letters only to students who are in a default status on an ISAC-guaranteed student loan. A copy of the Default Resolution Options document, outlining how to regain federal and state student aid eligibility, is enclosed with each Default Status notification. Notifications are dated and mailed after ISAC processes ISIRs.

Refer to the MAP Award Announcements page for details regarding college requirements, as well as samples of the required award letter language and ISAC-generated notifications.

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Join the Focus on Saving the Day with Financial Aid at ILASFAA's Fall Workshops: November 3 and November 16
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools - Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, Business Officers, and FFELP Administrators on October 18, 2017.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).

You are invited to join your colleagues at this year's Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (ILASFAA) Fall Workshops where you'll have the opportunity to build and strengthen your knowledge on financial aid topics, network with other super FAAs, and catch up on the latest state and federal updates. You will also have the opportunity to earn a National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) credential on the topic of Verification and attend a NASFAA session on Student Aid Report (SAR) Comment Codes.

This year's dates and locations are Friday, November 3 at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove and Thursday, November 16 at Richland Community College in Decatur.

The fee to attend is $60 for members and $85 for non-members (includes a half year membership fee). A continental breakfast, buffet lunch, and afternoon snacks will be provided and are covered by the registration fee.

For information on additional sessions that will be offered, and to register for the workshops, visit the Training page at the ILASFAA website: ilasfaa.org

Questions about the workshops may be directed to:

Kathy Bangasser, co-chair
kathy.bangasser@highland.edu

Kim Eck, co-chair
kimberly.eck@isac.illinois.gov

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2017-18 MAP Payment Cycle Initiated
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on October 6, 2017.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).

2017-18 MAP First-Term Payment Requests Being Accepted


The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has initiated the 2017-18 Monetary Award Program (MAP) payment cycle by allowing first-term payment requests (i.e., claims) to be submitted. Colleges may now submit first-term claims by accessing the MAP system via the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal, as well as by File Transfer Protocol (FTP). From this point forward, first-term payment requests will be processed on a nightly basis as they are received from colleges, and then submitted to the State Comptroller for payment per standard operating procedures. As a reminder, colleges were asked to hold all payment requests until the 2017- 18 payment cycle was initiated – any claims submitted prior to today (Friday, October 6, 2017) will need to be resubmitted for processing.

What's New

The MAP Payment Detail screen of the 2017-18 MAP system (which is accessed via the GAP Access portal) includes a new NSLDS Default Release override, which allows schools to request MAP payment and certify/confirm that students are eligible despite a National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) default status. This functionality, which applies exclusively to NSLDS default status (not ISAC Default), is available only via the Payment Detail screen of the MAP system – schools are not able to override the NSLDS default status through any other means of payment request.

Reminders

  • To access the payment function of the MAP system via GAP Access, simply select the "Payment" tab that appears at the top of the MAP system screen.
  • As has been necessitated by program appropriation levels in recent years, payment data available in the MAP system is initially being limited to first term only.
  • The 2017-18 MAP priority claim deadline for the first term is December 8, 2017. Once established, the priority claim deadline dates for subsequent terms will be shared via the usual means of communication.
  • When preparing 2017-18 payment requests, colleges are encouraged to keep in mind that ISAC has suspended the announcement of MAP grants for all students whose initial 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) was received by the Central Processing System (CPS) on or after January 16, 2017.
    • Note: The 2017-18 recompute formula allows for an approximately two-week extension of award announcements (i.e., implementing a partial release of awards in suspense status). Final determination regarding the extension of award announcements will take place after the first-term priority claim deadline (December 8) has passed, so that adequate data will be available for analysis and forecasting purposes.
  • Colleges will continue to receive MAP funds directly from the State Comptroller's Office.
  • Please verify that the GAP Access Administrator at your college has established the appropriate MAP system access level for all impacted staff. Instructions for establishing access to the MAP system may be found on the GAP Access page.
  • Colleges submitting payment requests via FTP are reminded that, beginning with the 2017-18 MAP payment processing cycle, a GAP Access user ID and password are required to access ISAC's secure FTP site (located at https://transfer.isac.org/). As a result, encryption (password protection) of files is no longer necessary.
  • Please be sure to review the Payment Results/Exceptions report in the Reports section of MAP the day after submitting payment requests to see which requests, if any, did not process as expected.

Resources Available Online

Details regarding the MAP payment processing cycle are available:

In order to remain up-to-date, continue to refer to MAP Program News, which is also located within the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area.

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IVG Program Interactive Application Now Available
Sent to Financial Aid Administrators and Public Schools - Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs on October 4, 2017.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is pleased to announce that the interactive application for the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program is now available to complete and submit online via the ISAC Student Portal. If your institution's website includes a link to the IVG application, please make sure it is updated to direct students to this new online option.

Important details regarding the IVG Program, including the eligibility requirements and an explanation of required documentation (which may be scanned and uploaded as part of the online application process), are provided when the interactive application is first launched. Applicants should read and understand this information prior to completing and submitting an application. Applications for the IVG Program can be submitted any time during the academic year for which assistance is being requested.

Encourage veterans to create a profile in the ISAC Student Portal prior to completing the interactive application for the IVG Program. Once a profile has been created, veterans can save time completing the interactive application because demographic fields will be auto-populated. Although the Student Portal currently allows only for completing and submitting the IVG Program application, future enhancements are anticipated that will provide those who have a personal profile to: check the status of their application; verify the number of IVG eligibility units they have used; and, view and print their most recent IVG eligibility notification.

An IVG Program application needs to be submitted only once to establish eligibility. Veterans who had submitted the paper version of the IVG Program application in prior years and were deemed eligible to receive benefits do not need to submit the interactive application. Although the online option is the preferred method of applying, applicants who are unable or prefer not to submit their IVG Program application electronically may instead download and print a PDF version and submit the completed application (along with all required documentation) to ISAC via the United States Postal Service. If your office keeps a supply of printed applications to provide to veterans, make sure you have the current edition (with a date of "6/17" in the footer).

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2018-19 FAFSA® Available and Upcoming Important Dates
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools - Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, Business Officers, and FFELP Administrators on October 2, 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)

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

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

GENERAL INFORMATION

Early October: Illinois Veteran Grant Interactive Application

The interactive application for the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program will be available for students to complete and submit online via the "ISAC Programs" portion of the ISAC Student Portal in early October.

Looking Ahead: IVG Processing via GAP Access

As indicated in prior webinars and other communications with the financial aid community, ISAC anticipates that all operational functions for the 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 necessitated an abbreviated processing cycle for programs that received fiscal year 2017 (FY17) appropriations. As a result, ISAC resources (including staff and systems) have been 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.

Now that 2016-17 processing has drawn to a close, work has resumed on transitioning IVG operational functions to the GAP Access portal.

As updated information regarding the IVG Program – including availability of the interactive application – 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).

October 25: Webinar

ISAC will offer a webinar to provide the latest ISAC operational update and an overview of ISAC's military programs on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 2 p.m. (CT). To participate, visit the Partner Training page in the e-Library to access the webinar link and presentation materials that will be posted on the day of the session. Registration is not required.

Details regarding additional webinars that will take place in November and December are provided in an August 29 e-Message.

November 3 and November 16: ILASFAA 2017 Fall Workshops

Mark your calendars for the Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (ILASFAA) 2017 Fall Workshops, which will be offered on November 3 (Waubonsee Community College) and again on November 16 (Richland Community College). Anyone working with current and prospective college students is invited to attend, including counselors, mentors and veteran service coordinators. Once available, additional details – including a tentative agenda – will be accessible via the Training page of the ILASFAA website.

November 15: Next Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at a Chicago location yet to be determined.

A listing of tentative agenda items, along with a specific time and location, will be available prior to the meeting via the ISAC's Governing Board: The Commission section of the About ISAC area.

Once established, the 2018 meeting schedule will also be posted at the Commission Meeting Schedule page.

Holiday Schedules

In observance of the holidays indicated, ISAC offices will be closed on the following dates:

  • Monday, October 9, 2017 (Columbus Day holiday observed)
  • Friday, November 10, 2017 (Veterans Day holiday observed)
  • Thursday, November 23, 2017 (Thanksgiving Day)
  • Friday, November 24, 2017 (Day after Thanksgiving)
  • Monday, December 25, 2017 (Christmas Day)
  • Monday, January 1, 2018 (New Year's Day)

Processing Schedules

Although ISAC's offices will be closed on the days listed above, the Monetary Award Program (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.

Click on the following link to access holiday processing schedules for MAP records.

MAP Records [System Availability (via GAP Access) and Payment Request Data]

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).

2017-18 ACADEMIC YEAR

Early October: GAP Access Will Be Opened for Submission of 2017-18 MAP Payment Requests (First-Term Claims Due December 8)

All 2017-18 MAP awards were recomputed in August using the formula approved at the July Commission meeting, and it is anticipated that the GAP Access portal will be opened for submission of payment requests in early October. So that we are able to better leverage our resources as we work to administer all our scholarship and grant programs – including MAP – across multiple years, we are requesting that all pending FY18 (2017-18 academic year) MAP payment requests be held and not submitted until we announce that GAP Access is open for processing. Once open, processing will take place on a nightly basis, as is our usual practice. Specific details are provided in a September 22 e-Message.

The 2017-18 MAP priority claim deadline for the first term is December 8, 2017.

As updated information becomes available, it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., MAP Program News, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging system).

December 8: 2017-18 ING Grant Benefits Used Data for Fall Term Due

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 Illinois National Guard (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 September 19 e-Message, 2017-18 ING Grant benefit usage records are available via GAP Access, allowing colleges to report enrollment hours and benefit dollar amounts for initial, supplemental (adjustments), in-district and out-of-district requests for the fall term.

The fall term deadline for submitting 2017-18 ING Grant benefit usage data is December 8, 2017.

Continuing throughout the Year: Complete and Submit Certifications for 2017-18 MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Programs

The Teacher Education Scholarship Programs (TESP) component of My Zone that allows colleges to complete students' initial certifications online for the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois programs remains available for the 2017-18 academic year. Further details are provided in e-Messages dated May 11 (MTI) and September 20 (Golden Apple). 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 and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois 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 and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program payment processing will be announced shortly thereafter.

As updated information becomes available – including details regarding the specific date on which the 2017-18 TESP online payment function will be available in My Zone – it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., the "Program News" area for the MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois programs, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging system).

2017-18 MTI Scholarship Paper Applications Still Being Accepted

The interactive application for the 2017-18 MTI Scholarship Program is not currently available. However, we continue to accept paper (PDF) applications even though the March 1, 2017 priority consideration date has passed. 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.

Later This Year: Rosters Distributed for 2017-18 Payment Requests for Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire and Correctional Officers

Announcements of eligibility are being made to students as applications for the 2017-18 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire and Correctional Officers (PFC) are received and processed. Certification of Enrollment for Payment rosters will be generated, allowing colleges to certify eligibility and request payment, later this year.

As updated information becomes available – including details regarding when the 2017-18 Certification of Enrollment for Payment rosters will be available – it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., PFC Program News, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging system).

2018-19 ACADEMIC YEAR

Mid-October: Anticipated Implementation of 2018-19 MAP Start-up

As explained in a September 14 e-Message, an unexpected lack of a quorum of commissioners at the September 13 meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission meant that the 2018-19 MAP start-up formula could not be presented for a vote. Discussions continue regarding operational next steps, and 2018-19 MAP data is anticipated to be available for colleges to access via the GAP Access portal in mid-October.

As updated information becomes available, it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., MAP Program News, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging system).

Financial Aid Planning Resources Available for 2018-19 FAFSA® Cycle

The 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) cycle, including FAFSA on the Web, opened on October 1, 2017. CPS began processing 2018-19 FAFSA data today (Monday, October 2). Details regarding the 2018-19 application cycle may be accessed via the Applying for Financial Aid section of the e-Library.

Encourage your students to check out the Financial Aid Planning area for information regarding resources that are available to help students complete the financial aid process. Several events – including FAFSA completion workshops – will take place across the State of Illinois over the next several weeks. Students may attend the event that best fits their schedule.

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ISAC UPDATE GROUP


Electronic ISAC Update for September 2017 Now Available
Sent on October 3, 2017.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).

The September 2017 edition of the ISAC Update is now available for your review, and may be accessed via the Partner e-Messages & Newsletters section of the e-Library at isac.org. This version of the electronic ISAC Update is a compilation of e-Messages sent to financial aid administrators and business officers via ISAC's e-Messaging service over the past month.

Topics covered in the September 2017 ISAC Update include:

  • Monetary Award Program Updates
    (sent September 22, 2017)
  • 2017-18 Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program Online Certification Now Available at My Zone
    (sent September 20, 2017)
  • Regularly Check My Zone for Latest School DAAR Reports
    (sent September 20, 2017)
  • Reporting 2017-18 ING Grant Benefits Used via GAP Access
    (sent September 19, 2017)
  • Vote on 2018-19 MAP Start-up Formula Delayed – Lack of Commission Quorum
    (sent September 14, 2017)
  • Commission Meeting to be Held Wednesday, September 13 – No Executive Briefing Planned
    (sent September 7, 2017)
  • Announcing September Dates for ISAC's Financial Aid Workshops
    (sent September 5, 2017)
  • Electronic ISAC Update for August 2017 Now Available
    (sent September 1, 2017)

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