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Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program

Program News

(last updated December 21, 2017)

2017-18 Program Funding
2017-18 Payment
2017-18 Award Determination
2017-18 Qualification
2017-18 Certification
2017-18 Nominations
Golden Apple Scholars Program Additional References


Program Funding

The 2018 fiscal year (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018) appropriation for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program is $6,498,000.


As announced in a November 9 e-Message TESP payment request rosters for Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois can be completed online and submitted electronically to ISAC via TESP Payment Online at My Zone. Results for payment requests received will be available via TESP Payment Authorization at My Zone after vouchers have been generated and the corresponding Voucher Numbers are entered into the My Zone system by ISAC staff. Colleges are encouraged to check My Zone every Tuesday morning for new payment results.

The payment processing cycle for the 2017-18 academic year is as follows:

  • TESP Payment Online consists of two components: TESP Payment Request Roster and TESP Payment Authorization. TESP Payment Request roster data is currently available at My Zone for the MTI and the Golden Apple Scholarship Programs.
  • Once payment authorization has taken place and vouchers have been mailed to colleges, there may be a delay in vouchers being paid by the State Comptroller's Office. Refer to the State Comptroller's Website page, located within the Processes section of the FAAs area, for information on how to track payment
  • The initial TESP payment roster data was available in My Zone beginning November 8.  
  • Each week, results for payment requests submitted on or before Monday will be available at My Zone the following Tuesday.
  • The history of all payment requests for all the academic year is available to colleges online, minimizing the need to print and retain hard copies of the rosters.
  • The TESP Payment Online system is available each Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. (CT).

Refer to the TESP Payment Request Roster and the TESP Payment Authorization pages at TESP My Zone for details about the TESP Payment Roster process, instructions for completing and submitting payment request rosters to ISAC and how to view, save and print payment results. General information regarding the payment process can also be found in the Gift Assistance area for each program.

Award Determination

An additional round of awarding for all qualified 2017-18 Golden Apple Scholar applicants (who were not previously awarded), took place on November 15, 2017. Eligible award information (including funded and unfunded status) is available to colleges online at My Zone as of November 16, 2017.

Now that Golden Apple Scholar awards have been made on multiple dates, the sort functionality, the filter functionality or the pre-defined report that sorts by "Status Date" may be used to help identify students that have recently been found eligible for an award. As a reminder, the "Status Date" matches the date on the student's award letter.

Information about award determination can be found on the Golden Apple Scholar Award Determination and Payment page within the Gift Assistance section. Refer to the Teacher Education Scholarship Program page in My Zone to learn about accessing student eligibility data using TESP Notification to generate a report or view information online using the search, filter or sort functions.


After an Initial Certification is entered via My Zone, a qualification process determines an applicant’s award eligibility. The qualification process runs on a nightly basis throughout the award year. The results of entering a Golden Apple certification record is returned in real-time, as soon as the record is entered. Communication to the student regarding their eligibility status is done by the Golden Apple Foundation.  Be sure to access the TESP Student Certifications: List at My Zone regularly to learn the qualification status of applicants from your college.

  • If the college certified a student as eligible for an Golden Apple award the “Complete” column will be checked and a status code of "Q" will display in the Status column on the Student Certifications: List in My Zone. Corrections cannot be made online at My Zone after an eligible record has been qualified. Requests to correct qualified records must be submitted to ISAC.
  • If the college certified a student as ineligible for an Golden Apple award, the Complete column will be checked and a status code of "U" will display in the Status column on the Student Certifications: List in My Zone. If a student subsequently meets the eligibility criteria or an incorrect eligibility reason was initially entered, (i.e., not attending at least half-time etc.) the Certification can be corrected online and resubmitted via My Zone.

Refer to the Student Certification Entry Instructions to learn about submitting a certification, obtain a complete list of the status codes returned after a certification record is processed and making corrections before and after a record has been qualified.


Golden Apple Scholarship Initial Certification records for the 2017-18 academic year can be completed online and submitted electronically to ISAC via My Zone beginning September 20, 2017. My Zone is available to enter certification information each Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. (CT). Results are available in real-time. The 2017-18 certification process is the same as previous years. The TESP Initial Certification Quick Reference Guide lists the fields and values that must be entered to certify eligibility.

An Initial Certification record is created in My Zone when the Golden Apple Foundation provides complete application information. All Initial Certifications available in My Zone must be completed regardless of whether the school certifies a student as eligible or ineligible. Only applicants with a complete and eligible certification record will be considered for an award. Be sure to continue completing and submitting initial certifications throughout the year, in order to ensure that students will be included in all rounds of awarding that take place.

A general overview of the certification process for Golden Apple Scholars is available within this section. Details regarding the online Certification process, instructions to enter and submit certifications to ISAC and how to request a report can be found in the TESP Certification area of My Zone.


Teachers, principals, counselors, or mentors can nominate a student to the Golden Apple Scholars program, beginning August 2017 by completing this form. Once the form is submitted, the nominated student will receive an email with login information and a link to apply online. Golden Apple educators will review online applications, choose the finalists to be interviewed and select the new group of Scholars.

Golden Apple Scholars Program Additional References

To access general information about the Golden Apple Program click on one of the links in the right-hand menu. To access the page within the GAS section that addresses the topics listed below, click on the topic.

Award Determination

TESP – My Zone