Skip to Content Bruce Rauner, Governor, State of Illinois

Student and Parent FAQs: Impact of State Budget Delay on ISAC Gift Assistance Programs

Like many programs and services, ISAC’s gift assistance programs have been impacted by the budget issues in the State. Pursuant to a variety of court orders and separate funding measures, some fiscal year 2016 programs and services were funded either in part or in full, and some funding came after the official end of the fiscal year. Some programs were left unfunded. Fiscal year 2017 began on July 1, 2016, without a final budget. We understand that students and parents may have questions and concerns, so the following FAQ is designed to address general questions regarding the impact on ISAC programs.

For more detailed questions regarding your specific financial aid package and to find out how your college or university is handling gift assistance during the budget delay, we encourage you to contact your school’s financial aid office.

ISAC continues to work with the General Assembly and the Governor’s office to advocate for program funding and to provide data and information to assist elected officials in making funding determinations.

What is the budget delay and why might this affect my financial aid award?

Each year, the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor must approve a State budget, which outlines how taxpayer dollars and other revenues are to be spent. This budget is typically in place before July 1st, when the new State fiscal year begins. Unfortunately, the General Assembly and the Governor were not able to agree on a complete budget for the 2016 fiscal year (corresponding to the 2015-16 school year), nor have they agreed on a complete budget for fiscal year 2017 (corresponding to the 2016-17 academic year), which began on July 1, 2016.

For the better part of the 2015-16 academic year, many state agencies like ISAC, and other organizations that receive state dollars (including public colleges and universities), did not know how much they would be able to spend on the programs they administer. For many programs and services, state agencies do not have the authority to spend funds unless and until the budget is final.

For the grant, scholarship, and loan repayment programs that ISAC administers, the budget delay meant that while the agency could continue to review applications for gift assistance, it had to wait for an appropriation or a final budget to know how much money would be available to be paid, and to make payment.

Late in the 2015-16 academic year, two pieces of “stopgap funding” provided some funding for colleges and universities, as well as for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) and other ISAC gift assistance programs. From July through September 2016, payments to colleges and universities were processed to pay 2015-16 MAP grants for students who were eligible to receive them. In addition, the funding measure approved in late June 2016 also provided some support, although at half the prior year’s level, for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program and the Grant Program for Dependents of Police, Fire, and Correctional Officers killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.

As of September 14, 2016, MAP and ISAC’s other gift assistance programs are not yet funded for the 2016-17 academic year. Notably, the Governor and legislators in both chambers indicated that they are still interested in providing “an appropriate level of support” for MAP in fiscal year 2017. The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene after November 15th; it is anticipated that they will work at that time on developing a comprehensive budget for the fiscal year.

FAQs: 2015-16 Academic Year

When MAP funding didn’t come through from the state, my college told me I owed them the money for the amount of the MAP award. Now that the state has provided funding for all 2015-16 MAP awards, do I still have to pay the college?

Your college has or will be paid for the amount of your 2015-16 MAP grant, so generally speaking, the amount of the grant would not have to come from you. However, individual circumstances may vary. Colleges may differ on how they are handling the delayed payment for MAP, so it is best to contact your college’s Financial Aid, Bursar or Student Financial Services office to see how they will be addressing it.

I already paid my college for costs that my MAP grant was supposed to cover. Now that the state has provided funding for all 2015-16 MAP awards, will my school reimburse me for the amount of my MAP grant?

If you in fact paid the costs your MAP grant was meant to cover, generally speaking, you would be entitled to reimbursement of the amount of your 2015-16 MAP grant that you covered. However, individual circumstances may vary. Colleges may differ on how they are handling reimbursement for MAP, so it is best to contact your college’s Financial Aid, Bursar or Student Financial Services office to see how they will be addressing it.

I applied for the Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program (MTI) for the 2015-16 academic year but never found out if I got an award. Will I still get the scholarship now that the academic year is over?

Due to the budget delay, ISAC was unable to announce MTI awards for 2015-16 and sufficient funds were not ultimately provided to fund all non-MAP programs. At this point, it does not appear that the 2015-16 MTI scholarships will be retroactively funded.

I applied for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program for the 2015-16 academic year. I received funding for the fall 2015 term but did not receive any funding for the spring 2016 term. Will I still get the scholarship now that the academic year is over?

A funding bill that was approved in June included funding intended for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program, and it is covering costs incurred during the 2015-16 academic year. During the month of August 2016, payments to colleges and universities were processed to cover 2015-16 Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program grants for the second and third terms for students who were eligible to receive them.

What about ISAC’s Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers? I received one of those grants in the past and applied again for 2015-16—will it be paid to my college or university on my behalf?

A funding bill that was approved in June included funding intended for the Dependents Grant programs for costs incurred during the 2015-16 academic year. The final amount of that funding provided sufficient funds for the Fall 2015 term to be paid in full. Availability of funds to pay for subsequent terms of the 2015-16 academic year has not been determined, but at this point it appears unlikely that additional funding will be approved for the remainder of that academic year.

We recommend that you contact your college’s financial aid office to determine how your college plans to address any outstanding balance that may exist for your 2015-16 tuition and mandatory fees. 

I am currently repaying my loans and believe I might be eligible for one of ISAC’s loan repayment/forgiveness programs. Were these programs in place during the 2015-16 academic year?

ISAC did not receive adequate funding for these programs and will not be able to make payments to lenders through these programs for the 2015-16 academic year.

FAQs: 2016-17 Academic Year

As of September 14, 2016, MAP and ISAC’s other gift assistance programs are not yet funded for the 2016-17 academic year. Notably, the Governor and legislators in both chambers indicated that they are still interested in providing “an appropriate level of support” for MAP fiscal year 2017. The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene after November 15th; it is anticipated that they will work at that time on developing a comprehensive budget for the fiscal year.

I received a MAP award in my financial aid award letter for the upcoming 2016-17 academic year. Will I get the money?

We are hopeful but we cannot guarantee it. MAP has been included in every comprehensive Illinois budget since 1967, and funding was ultimately provided for 2015-16 MAP awards, albeit at the very end of the fiscal year. We are hopeful that the State will pass a comprehensive budget for fiscal year 2017 (corresponding to the 2016-17 academic year) that will include funding for MAP. While the Governor and legislators have expressed their support for MAP funding for the upcoming academic year, there is currently no MAP appropriation for the 2016-17 academic year. A budget is not expected until sometime after November 15th, 2016, when the General Assembly is expected to reconvene.

The financial aid award letter that you received should have noted that MAP grant amounts are estimates and that they are awarded subject to appropriation—that is, the final dollar amount available for the program depends on the State budget approved by the General Assembly and the Governor. This means that the level of funding for MAP in the final budget could result in smaller grants, and it is possible that your MAP award could be reduced or even eliminated.

As they did in fall 2015, some colleges and universities have already indicated that they will be crediting student accounts for MAP for the fall 2016 term as they await payment from the State. However, we encourage students to contact their college financial aid office to better understand how your college will handle MAP if there is no appropriation for the program by the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.

Will there be MTI scholarships available for the 2016-17 academic year?

While there currently is no funding for MTI for 2016-17, we remain hopeful that there will be a final budget agreement later in the fall or winter that will provide funding for this program for the 2016-17 academic year.

Will there be Grants for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers available for the 2016-17 academic year?

While there currently is no funding for these grant programs for 2016-17, we remain hopeful that there will be a final budget agreement later in the fall or winter that will provide funding for these grants for the 2016-17 academic year.

Will there be funding for Golden Apple Scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year?

While there is currently not adequate state funding to pay Golden Apple Scholarships for 2016-17, we remain hopeful that there will be a final budget agreement later in the fall or winter that will provide adequate funding for this program for the 2016-17 academic year.

Will there be funding for ISAC’s loan repayment/forgiveness programs for the 2016-17 academic year?

While there currently is no funding for these programs for 2016-17, we remain hopeful that there will be a final budget agreement later in the fall that will provide funding for the 2016-17 academic year. Even during years when these programs have been funded, there has not been sufficient funding to cover all applicants. Applications for some of these programs, such as the Illinois Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, have been posted, and we encourage eligible students to complete the application as soon as possible in order to have an opportunity to receive loan repayment funding through that program, should funding be made available.

ISAC is not accepting applications for the other state loan forgiveness programs at this time. See information listed for each program at http://www.isac.org/students/after-college/forgiveness-programs/

Additional questions? Contact the ISAC Call Center at 800.899.ISAC (4722) or isac.studentservices@isac.illinois.gov, or your school’s financial aid office.