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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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Program Description
Eligibility
How to Apply
Filing Timeline/Suspension of Award Announcements
Award Amount (including Using MAP with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits)
How Funds Are Disbursed
Processing Updates

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.

Because MAP funding is historically insufficient to meet the demand, several allocation measures have been put into place to provide for as many awards as possible.  One of those is limiting MAP awards to fall and spring terms only; there are no summer term MAP awards.  Additionally, a suspension date is typically implemented early in the spring term each year, after which time no further awards are announced [note that legislation may sometimes call for exceptions to the suspension date for specific academic years – when this occurs, it will be outlined in the Processing Updates section, below, for the appropriate year(s)].

Eligibility

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).

Track the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that you have used by visiting the Toolbox area of the ISAC Student Portal, and then selecting “MAP Paid Credit Hours Display.”

How to Apply

For the 2016-17 academic year, you must complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1, 2016.

If you will be applying for financial aid to attend college during an academic year that starts on or after July 1, 2017, the FAFSA will be available to complete sooner than in prior years, allowing applicants to report earlier tax information. With the new schedule, the 2017-18 FAFSA will become available on October 1, 2016 (under the current schedule, the application would not have been available until January 1, 2017). In addition, students (and parents, as necessary) will report their 2015 income information on the 2017-18 FAFSA (rather than their 2016 income information, which would have been required under the current system). Further details are provided at the FAFSA Changes for 2017–18 page of the Federal Student Aid website

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.

Filing Timeline/Suspension of Award Announcements

Please be aware that, based on application volume and appropriated funds for any academic year, grant funding is likely to be depleted before all eligible applicants can be awarded. When this occurs, ISAC will announce a suspension date. Award announcements for applications received after the suspension date will be placed in suspension status. Note that legislation may sometimes call for exceptions to the suspension date for specific academic years – when this occurs, it will be outlined in the Processing Updates section, below, for the appropriate year(s). Students for whom MAP award announcements are in suspension status will not receive MAP grant money.

For the 2016-17 academic year, the FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible after January 1, 2016.

If you will be applying for financial aid to attend college during an academic year that starts on or after July 1, 2017, you are encouraged to complete and submit each academic year's FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1 (for example, the 2017-18 FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible after October 1, 2016).

Award Amount

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.

MAP grants are funded by the State of Illinois. 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.

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 Monetary Award Program Estimator 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).

**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.

How Funds Are Disbursed

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.

Processing Updates

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 2016-17 Academic Year

(last updated on March 9, 2016):

Please note that, while the below information assumes an appropriation that matches 2014-15 levels (from fiscal year 2015, which is the most recent fiscal year for which there is a final budget), the state budget that funds MAP for 2016-17 has not yet been finalized by the Illinois General Assembly and governor. As a result, it is not known how much funding this program will receive. Be sure to regularly visit this page for the latest updates regarding the status of the budget and program funding.

Suspense: 2016-17 MAP Grants

Suspension: Due to the anticipation of limited funding and a high volume of eligible applicants, ISAC is suspending the announcement of 2016-17 MAP grants to all students who are not dislocated workers and whose initial 2016-17 FAFSA is received by the federal processor on or after March 10, 2016. Dislocated worker status is established once the independent student applicant’s college verifies that a “Yes” response to the dislocated worker question on the FAFSA is based on the employment status of the applicant, rather than the applicant’s spouse (if applicable). The dislocated worker question is #102 on the 2016-17 FAFSA. Applicants who believe their MAP award announcement should be based on their dislocated worker status are encouraged to contact the financial aid office at their college to determine what verification documents, if any, are required. The suspension of 2016-17 MAP award announcements for dislocated workers will be implemented at a future date – dislocated workers who have not yet submitted the 2016-17 FAFSA are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

With the exception of dislocated workers, FAFSAs received at the federal processor on or after March 10 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 2016-17 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 2016-17.

If you are enrolled for the 2016-17 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, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2016-17 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.

Not Impacted by Suspension: If your initial 2016-17 FAFSA was received by the federal processor on or before March 9, 2016 (or if you are a dislocated worker) and you meet general eligibility criteria for a MAP grant, an estimated 2016-17 MAP grant appears on a financial aid award letter from your college.

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 2016-17 Monetary Award Program (MAP) Rights & Responsibilities document.

For the 2015-16 Academic Year

(last updated on July 18, 2016)

Second-term funding: On June 30, 2016, Governor Rauner approved a "bridge" budget that includes an appropriation for MAP. This allows all 2015-16 MAP second-term (second semester or second/third quarter) claims that were submitted to ISAC in a timely manner by colleges to be paid. Students whose 2015-16 financial aid award letter included an estimated MAP grant should contact the financial aid office at their college to discuss the status of their second-term award.

First-term funding: On April 25, 2016, Governor Rauner approved stopgap 2015-16 funding that includes an appropriation for MAP. This allows all 2015-16 MAP first-term claims that were submitted to ISAC in a timely manner by colleges to be paid. Students whose 2015-16 financial aid award letter included an estimated MAP grant should contact the financial aid office at their college to discuss the status of their first-term award.

Suspension: Due to limited funding and a high volume of eligible applicants, ISAC is suspending the announcement of 2015-16 MAP grants to all students who are not dislocated workers and whose initial 2015-16 FAFSA is received by the federal processor on or after February 22, 2015. For individuals who are dislocated workers, ISAC is suspending the announcement of 2015-16 MAP grants to students whose initial 2015-16 FAFSA is received by the federal processor on or after August 16, 2015.

Dislocated worker status is established once the independent student applicant’s college verifies that a “Yes” response to the dislocated worker question on the FAFSA is based on the employment status of the applicant, rather than the applicant’s spouse (if applicable). The dislocated worker question is #102 on the 2015-16 FAFSA (note that the question number may change on future FAFSAs). Applicants who believe their MAP award announcement should be based on their dislocated worker status are encouraged to contact the financial aid office at their college to determine what verification documents, if any, are required.

FAFSAs received at the federal processor on or after the applicable suspense date (i.e., August 16 for dislocated workers, or February 22 for all others) 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 2015-16 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 2015-16. 

If you are enrolled for the 2015-16 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, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2015-16 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.

Not Impacted by Suspension: If your initial 2015-16 FAFSA was received by the federal processor on or before February 21, 2015 (or if you are a dislocated worker and your initial FAFSA was received by the federal processor on or before August 15) and you meet general eligibility criteria for a MAP grant, an estimated 2015-16 MAP grant appears on a financial aid award letter from your college.

For general 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 2015-16 Monetary Award Program (MAP) Rights & Responsibilities document.

Click here to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).