JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

FAFSA Upload Function Open – Populate Database for FAFSA Completion Initiative

10/14/2020

Effective today, the FAFSA Upload function of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal is open. High schools can now upload their current student lists, which are needed to populate the FAFSA Completion Initiative database. As shared in a September 24 e-Message, because spring 2020 college entrance exams were delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to use those exam records to create high schools' student lists, as we have in past years. Student lists are matched against Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) filings to aid high schools in identifying which of their students have completed the FAFSA or, beginning this year, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application). Application completion data is even more important this year than in the past because of the new FAFSA completion requirement.

Student Record Upload

The student list file, provided to ISAC through the FAFSA Upload process, must be formatted in Microsoft Excel 2003 or higher, or in CSV, and follow ISAC's prescribed file layout. The data elements that will need to be uploaded for the high school's current senior class are:

  • last name
  • first name
  • middle initial
  • date of birth

Instructions for the file upload process are provided in the FAFSA Completion Initiative User Guide, which is accessed via the GAP Access User Guides area. Once uploaded, those lists will then be matched to FAFSA and Alternative Application completion data. It is important to note that the FAFSA Upload function is separate from the State Scholar File Upload process.

FAFSA Completion Data Available Following Upload

Now that processing for the FAFSA and Alternative Application has begun, and once the upload process described above has been completed, 2021-22 data for an individual high school will be accessible in the GAP Access portal. Please be aware that FAFSA completion data for an individual high school will not be available until student lists have been uploaded. Only after that has occurred can those lists be matched against FAFSA and Alternative Application records. New 2021-22 match data will be available weekly on Monday mornings, beginning on Monday, October 19.

Participation

If not already a participant, principals can sign up their respective high school for ISAC's FAFSA Completion Initiative through our automated system at the GAP Access portal. Additional participation information, and the terms and conditions, are available on page 5 of the FAFSA Completion Initiative User Guide.

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If you have any questions regarding this e-Message, please contact ISAC's School Services Department by calling toll free at 866.247.2172 or sending an e-mail message to isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov.