Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid
(last updated January 2, 2024)
The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act allows eligible undocumented students to apply for all forms of state financial aid. The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) provides a way for these qualified students to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, the state's largest need-based grant program for low-income college students. For eligible students, the Alternative Application is also part of the application process for the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program (visit the MTI Scholarship page of this website for more information).
The RISE Act provides a way to apply for ISAC gift assistance programs – including MAP, the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program, the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Programs and others – to those who meet the RISE Act criteria and each program’s eligibility requirements. The RISE Act does not exempt applicants from meeting existing program eligibility criteria.
- Undocumented Students
Undocumented students may be eligible to apply for ISAC’s programs if they meet all of these criteria, which are based on Illinois statute regarding in-state tuition eligibility:
- the individual resided with his or her parent or guardian while attending an Illinois public or private high school;
- the individual graduated from a public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Illinois;
- the individual attended school in Illinois for at least 3 years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma;
- the individual provides an affidavit stating that the individual will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity the individual is eligible to do so; and
- the individual has not established a residence outside of Illinois.
To accommodate RISE Act-eligible students, an online application for MAP grants is available. Instead of completing the FAFSA to begin the MAP application process, these students may be eligible to complete the Alternative Application. The data from the application will be used to calculate a Student Aid Index (SAI) – which, beginning with the 2024-25 application cycle, replaces the expected family contribution (EFC) used in prior years – which is used in determining a student’s MAP eligibility. The application, patterned after the FAFSA, is accessible for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years through the link below.
The Alternative Application is not compatible with mobile devices.
The following describes in general terms the steps of application completion and the process used to determine MAP eligibility.
- The Alternative Application is accessible online through the area to the right.
- Pre-screening questions at the beginning of the application help students determine which application (Alternative Application vs. FAFSA) should be completed.
- If an applicant’s answers to the pre-screening questions show the Alternative Application should not be completed, a message will advise them to consult their high school counselor, a financial aid professional, or an ISACorps member for assistance in completing the FAFSA.
- Similar to the FAFSA, students will only complete the application questions that are relevant to them.
- A Student Aid Index (SAI) will be calculated from the information submitted on the Alternative Application, which will be used in determining a student's eligibility for MAP.
- MAP award amounts will be calculated for eligible students and provided to colleges by ISAC.
- As with all MAP awards, eligibility notification will be provided to the student by the college, not ISAC.
Students who want to learn about and apply for ISAC programs other than MAP can access program information and the applications through this site, in the Students, During College area. The Alternative Application is for MAP consideration only, and is also used in conjunction with the MTI Scholarship application to determine MTI Scholarship eligibility.