Monetary Award Program (MAP)
The number of grants made through this program, as well as the individual dollar amount awarded, are subject to sufficient annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor.
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The Monetary Award Program (MAP) provides grants, which do not need to be repaid, to Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need, based on the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). You are not required to submit high school grades or test scores when applying for a MAP grant.
Colleges use the MAP formula to determine eligibility. The formula distributes the appropriated funds so that the neediest students receive grant assistance. Several components are used to determine eligibility, including: information provided on your FAFSA [from which your expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated], the cost of attendance at the college you plan to attend, and the amount of other financial aid you are receiving.
To be eligible, you must:
- be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- be an Illinois resident (If you are a dependent, the parent whose information is used on the FAFSA must be an Illinois resident)
- demonstrate financial need
- be enrolled a minimum of 3 hours per term at an approved Illinois college, in a degree or certificate program
- maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by your college
- not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant. If you are in default, you may re-establish your MAP eligibility.
- not have received a bachelor's degree
- not have used the equivalent of 135 MAP Paid Credit Hours* or more (MAP Paid Credit Hours usage is determined by your enrollment status each term)
- comply with federal Selective Service registration requirements
- not be incarcerated.
*Tracking Eligibility: Eligibility for a MAP grant is tracked by MAP Paid Credit Hours, which are the equivalent number of semester credit hours of MAP benefits paid on your behalf. If you are attending a quarter school, your quarter credit hours will be converted to semester MAP Paid Credit Hours. Please contact your financial aid advisor if you have questions regarding the quarter school conversion.
A conversion chart is available to show how eligibility units accumulated prior to the 2004-05 academic year have been converted to MAP Paid Credit Hours.
It is important for you to know the following:
- Limit for Each Term: Payment for each term is being made according to the equivalent number of credit hours eligible for MAP payment, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 15 MAP Paid Credit Hours. If you are enrolled for the equivalent of 15 or more credit hours, the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours assessed to you will be 15. If you enroll for a different number of credit hours during the various terms of the same academic year, your actual MAP award may be different for each of those terms.
- Limit for Freshman and Sophomore Students: There is a limit on the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that can be paid while you are classified by your school as a freshman or sophomore. This limit is the equivalent of 75 MAP Paid Credit Hours. If this maximum is reached, you must attain junior status at whichever school you are (or will be) attending for your MAP grant eligibility to resume.
- Total Limit: The maximum number of MAP Paid Credit Hours is capped at the equivalent of 135.
- MAP Paid Credit Hours Adjustments: Once payment processing ends for an academic year, adjustments to the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that have been assessed will not be made for individuals who originally had their expenses (e.g., tuition and fees) covered using those benefits (i.e., you cannot choose to "pay back" the dollar amount of benefits used in order to reinstate MAP Paid Credit Hours).
To apply, you must complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1, prior to the academic year that starts on or after July 1. Your eligibility for the MAP grant will be automatically determined if the approved Illinois college at which you plan to use the award is listed on your FAFSA.
Verification of eligibility, and announcement of an estimated award amount (if any), is performed by the college each academic year. Only if you are eligible will an estimated MAP grant appear on a financial aid award letter from your college. If you are a MAP recipient, refer to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) Rights & Responsibilities document for more detailed information regarding the program.
Please be aware that, based on application volume and appropriated funds for any academic year, grant funding is likely to be depleted prior to the filing deadline dates.** When this occurs, ISAC will announce a suspension date. Award announcements for applications received after the suspension date will be placed in suspension status. Students for whom MAP award announcements are in suspension status will not receive MAP grant money. You are encouraged to complete and submit each academic year's FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 (for example, the 2015-16 FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible after January 1, 2015).
ISAC works with the college to disburse funds for this program. The college certifies student eligibility and then submits a payment request on behalf of the student. ISAC processes the payment request and submits the information to the State Comptroller’s Office. Dependent on the funding level of the State of Illinois’ General Revenue Fund (GRF), the amount of time it takes for funds to arrive at the college can vary; at times the delay may be more than six months.
Depending on the college, students may be responsible for payment until program funds are received. Qualified applicants who are awaiting receipt of funds from this program should contact the Financial Aid Office or Business Office to determine the college's policy.
Note that ISAC routinely updates this section as new information becomes available. Be sure to check back periodically for the current processing status.
For the 2015-16 Academic Year
(last updated on January 7, 2015)
The 2015-16 FAFSA, used to apply for the MAP grant and many other forms of federal and state financial assistance, is available online at FAFSA on the Web. If you plan to enroll in college during the 2015-16 academic year, you are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA online as soon as possible. While the FAFSA can be completed using either the Internet or a paper application, you will receive quicker results and decrease the potential for time-consuming errors by using FAFSA on the Web.
Before you submit your application online, current procedures require that you (and your parent, if you are a dependent student) be assigned a PIN from the U.S. Department of Education. If you obtained a PIN from ED to apply for financial aid in a prior academic year, that same PIN can be used now to complete the 2015-16 FAFSA.
For the 2014-15 Academic Year
(last updated on January 21, 2015)
Current Suspension Date: Initial applications received by the federal processor on or after March 6, 2014 are in suspense status.
Partial Release of Suspension: Due to limited funding and a high volume of eligible applicants, earlier this year ISAC had suspended the announcement of 2014-15 MAP grants to all students whose initial 2014-15 FAFSA is received by the federal processor on or after February 28, 2014. ISAC has been monitoring the volume of applications received from MAP-eligible students and the MAP funding levels, and has released the suspense status for eligible applicants whose initial FAFSA was received by the federal processor from February 28, 2014 up to (and including) March 5, 2014. Impacted applicants will receive notification of their MAP grant amounts from their college.
FAFSAs received at the federal processor on or after March 6, 2014 will be placed in a hold status and will not be released for MAP award processing unless additional funding becomes available. Students otherwise eligible for MAP, but whose award announcements are in suspense status, will not receive MAP grant money.
Should additional 2014-15 funding become available and only if you are eligible will an estimated MAP grant appear on a financial aid award letter from the Illinois MAP-approved college listed on your FAFSA. The award letter from your college will be your only notification as to whether you will be receiving a MAP grant for 2014-15.
If you are enrolled for the 2014-15 academic year and have not yet submitted a FAFSA, you are still encouraged to do so as soon as possible at FAFSA on the Web. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for other forms of federal and state financial assistance. The suspension of 2014-15 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.
Not Impacted by Original Suspension Date: If your initial 2014-15 FAFSA was received by the federal processor on or before February 27, 2014 and you meet general eligibility criteria for a MAP grant, an estimated 2014-15 MAP grant appears on a financial aid award letter from your college. Remember that, in order to be considered for a full-year award, your initial FAFSA must be received at the federal processor on or before the filing deadline dates.
For information regarding the payment of awards for this program, refer to the How Funds Are Disbursed section that appears earlier on this page.
All MAP grant recipients are encouraged to carefully review the 2014-15 Monetary Award Program (MAP) Rights & Responsibilities document.
The Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants can be applied only toward tuition and mandatory fees. MAP grants cannot be used for items such as books, travel or housing. All MAP awards will be paid directly to your college. Your college certifies that you are enrolled and that you meet all other eligibility requirements. You may be required to provide proof of Illinois residency.
The actual amount of your award each term depends on the calculation of financial need, the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at your college of choice, the number of hours for which you are enrolled, and other factors related to the amount of funding provided for the program each year. The MAP grants are primarily funded by the state of Illinois, but may also receive funding from the Federal Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) and/or the Federal Special Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (SLEAP) programs.
Each academic year, the amount of your maximum annual award will be the least of (1) the eligible amount as determined by an analysis of financial circumstances, (2) the maximum amount which ISAC allows for tuition and fees at the college, or (3) $4,968***. The total amount of MAP assistance awarded to you in a given academic year, when added to the other financial aid available to you for that year, cannot exceed the cost of attendance at your college.
Use the EFC Calculator to estimate the amount of your MAP award. Depending on actual hours enrolled, it is possible that you will receive a different MAP amount during each term of an academic year (for example, if you enroll for 15 hours during the fall term, but 12 hours during the spring term, your spring term award will be less).
Using MAP with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits
If you are eligible for the MAP grant and you are also eligible for any other ISAC-administered program(s) that are designated for tuition and fees [including Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers, Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers, Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW), Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) and/or Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant benefits], all other benefits that are available for the term(s) must be used first. You cannot decline tuition and fee benefits from other ISAC-administered programs in favor of using MAP benefits.
After all other applicable benefits have been used for the term(s), then a partial MAP award may be applied to any outstanding eligible tuition and fees.
Once payment processing ends for an academic year, adjustments to the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that have been assessed will not be made for individuals who originally had their expenses (e.g., tuition and fees) covered using those benefits (i.e., you cannot choose to "pay back" the dollar amount of benefits used in order to reinstate MAP Paid Credit Hours).
** In order to be considered for a full-year MAP grant in academic years for which no suspension date has been announced, the federal processor must receive the initial FAFSA of a first-time applicant (defined as students who did not apply for a MAP grant by filing a FAFSA during the previous academic year) on or before September 30, and the initial FAFSA of a continuing applicant (defined as students who did apply for a MAP grant by filing a FAFSA during the previous academic year) must be received on or before August 15. Initial applications received after these dates will be considered only for second semester (or second and third quarter) awards.
***Note: The maximum award amount is dependent on legislative action and available funding in any given year. MAP funding is adjusted annually. Your announced grant could increase or decrease throughout the academic year.