JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

2022-23 FAFSA®, Alternative Application, and Important Dates


The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) would like to make you aware of the following information, which may be of interest to you and/or your college-bound students and their families.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at ISAC's website (isac.org).

You may either scroll through the remainder of this message, or click on the appropriate link(s) to go directly to a specific section:

2022-23 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023)
New FAFSA and Alternative Application Now Available

2021-22 (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022)

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)


2022-23 FAFSA® and Alternative Application Now Available

The 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) cycle, including FAFSA on the Web, opened – and the Central Processing System (CPS) began processing 2022-23 FAFSA data – on October 1, 2021. Details regarding the 2022-23 application cycle may be accessed via the Applying for Financial Aid section of the e-Library for Partners.

The 2022-23 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid is also available (in English and Spanish). As a reminder, students meeting the criteria of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act may file the Alternative Application – which is patterned after the FAFSA – to apply for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant. Because the failure to register for Selective Service no longer disqualifies an applicant from receiving federal student aid, students who have not registered may want to consider completing the FAFSA instead of the Alternative Application to maximize their financial aid opportunities. Further details are provided at ISAC's RISE Act page.

Encourage your college-bound students to check out the Financial Aid Planning area for information regarding resources that are available to help students complete the financial aid process.

October is College Changes Everything Month 2021

During College Changes Everything Month (October), ISAC will offer support for both college application activities and 2022-23 FAFSA completion. If you have not already done so, register your high school for a 2021 College Changes Everything Month event.

Early October: FAFSA Completion Initiative via GAP Access

All Illinois public high school students are required to complete either the FAFSA or the Alternative Application as a prerequisite to receiving a high school diploma. ISAC's FAFSA Completion Initiative is a resource that can help high schools monitor their students' compliance with this mandate.

Student lists for participating high schools, which are generated from spring 2021 college entrance exam records, are anticipated to be available in the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal in early October. These student lists are matched against FAFSA and Alternative Application records, and new 2022-23 match data will be available weekly (on Monday mornings).

Note: Because records are available from ACT and SAT exams taken during the spring, the student record upload function used by high schools to create their 2021-22 student lists is not needed for the 2022-23 processing cycle. The FAFSA Completion Initiative User Guide will soon be updated to reflect this change, as well as information regarding a new "opt-out" box that high schools can use to indicate that the waiver provision has been exercised by a parent, guardian, or the student (if 18 or emancipated) to opt out of filing the FAFSA.

Principals that have not already done so can sign up their respective high school for participation in ISAC's FAFSA Completion Initiative through our automated system at the GAP Access portal. Refer to the user guide for more information.

By June 30: High School Juniors Take College Assessment Exams for State Scholar Consideration

Eligibility for the State Scholar Program is based, in part, on a student's highest qualifying ACT or SAT score. Although effective January 1, 2022, Illinois’ public institutions are prohibited from requiring the submission of student test scores as part of the admissions process, high school junior students who are potential State Scholar candidates will still need to take one of the accepted exams (ACT or SAT) during the specified timeframe to be considered for State Scholar designation. Further details are provided in a September 7 e-Message.

For current high school juniors, only exams taken between August 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 qualify for consideration in the State Scholar announcements that will be made during their senior year (i.e., high school juniors, who will be college freshmen during the 2023-24 academic year, will be named Scholars during the fall of 2022). Further details are provided for students at the State Scholar Program page of our website.


November 5: Sixth Semester Data Due for State Scholar Processing

As announced in a September 10 e-Message, ISAC continues to accept and process sixth semester data (for high school seniors, who will be college freshmen during the 2022-23 academic year and will be named Scholars during the fall of 2021) via the Excel file upload and online processes. Schools are encouraged to submit their sixth semester data as soon as they are able to do so, and no later than Friday, November 5, 2021.

You will be notified via the usual means (the "Program News" section of the State Scholar Program area, the Counselor Message Board, and/or ISAC's e-Messaging service) as new information becomes available – including notification of when the first round of early announcements has taken place. In the meantime, please continue to submit sixth semester data for your high school.

ISAC Administrative Rules Available

ISAC Administrative Rules, which were adopted for the 2021-22 academic year, are available within the e-Library for Partners and may be viewed in two formats: "Listed Alphabetically" and "Listed by Program Type/Topic."

Selective Service Requirement Removed from ISAC's Rules

An August 27 e-Message announces that – effective August 16, 2021 and in conjunction with ED's early implementation of the related portion of the FAFSA Simplification Act – the requirement that each applicant must comply with Selective Service requirements as stated in federal regulations was deleted from ISAC's rules. We are in the process of updating resource information, including program pages on the website, and will revise application documents and other operational material as necessary as we move through the processing year.


Encourage College-bound Students to Use MAP Estimator

Inform your students who are planning to attend college in Illinois that they can get an idea of their eligibility for the MAP grant by using the MAP Estimator online tool. Students can access the MAP Estimator via the Toolbox area of the ISAC Student Portal.

December 2: Next Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, December 2, 2021. Further details, including a listing of tentative agenda items, will be available prior to the meeting via the ISAC's Governing Board: The Commission section of the About ISAC area.

The Commission Meeting Schedule page will soon be updated with information regarding all meetings scheduled in 2022.

Through December: Professional Development Fall Webinar Series

An August 31 e-Message announces that the 2021 ISAC Professional Development fall webinar series is being offered through December. For the most up-to-date schedule, and to register for one of the webinars, visit the Webinars page in the Professional Development Opportunities area.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, October 11 – Columbus Day
  • Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day
  • Thursday, November 25 – Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, November 26 – Day after Thanksgiving
  • Friday, December 24 – Christmas (observed)
  • Friday, December 31 – New Year's (observed)

Staff will again be available the first business day immediately following each holiday.

For Assistance

Access the Counselors area anytime, or send an e-mail message to ISAC's School Services Department. With the exception of days when ISAC staff members are unavailable, we will review and respond to messages during regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT.

You are receiving this message because you registered for ISAC's e-Messaging service through one or more subscription groups for Counselors.

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.