JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Communiqué

Volume 30, Number 4C
June 2021

Messages sent to: Multiple Subscription Groups
  ISAC Communiqué

Welcome to the June 2021 electronic ISAC Communiqué, which is a quarterly compilation of e-Messages sent through ISAC's e-Messaging service throughout April, May and June.

The articles in this electronic Communiqué have been organized according to the Counselor Subscription groups to which the messages were distributed.

Questions?

Questions regarding information in this electronic Communiqué can be directed to School Services at 866.247.2172 or at ISAC.schoolservices@illinois.gov. On occasion, you may be directed to a specific contact person or area; when this occurs, we will provide the appropriate information in the individual article or message.


MULTIPLE SUBSCRIPTION GROUPS


Don’t Miss Out on the 2021 CCE Conference
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, College Admission Counselors, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants, Community Organizations and Public Libraries on June 28, 2021.

2021 College Changes Everything® Conference
Why Delay? Register Today!

Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and
Belonging for the Success of All Learners

If you haven't already registered for the conference, register today. If you have registered, thank you, and we ask you to invite a colleague. The success of Illinois students requires partners across all sectors and stakeholders throughout the state coming together and examining how they can work together better in helping students achieve success and our state reach its Goal 2025. The 2021 College Changes Everything® (CCE) conference provides the occasion for you to hear from colleagues as they share their latest experiences, knowledge, and lessons learned to inform your own planning and efforts. The conference also gives you the chance to step back from your daily routine and engage with a diverse group of like-minded peers and provides you opportunities for professional and personal development.

Whova Network Tables – Meet Your Conference Colleagues

The conference is being hosted on the Whova event platform, and we'll be using Webex to deliver the livestream sessions. While nothing can replace meeting in-person, Whova provides several ways for conference participants to interact and engage with other attendees via community board topics and other interactive features such as the Network Table sessions. Every day from 12–12:30 p.m. (CT) on Monday through Thursday of the conference, attendees can join a virtual Network Table with a small group (up to 3) of other attendees on video chat, helping break the ice and begin connections that can carry on during and after the rest of the event. After 5 minutes at one table, participants are "shuffled" to join another table to meet different attendees. Network Tables automatically start at 12 noon (CT), and if you join late, that's okay as you will be included in the next round of shuffles after you join. Please note these sessions are limited to a total of 500 participants per session each day. Be sure to add Network Table sessions to your conference schedule. You can learn more about how to get the most out of Whova by downloading the Whova App and reviewing the Whova Attendee User Guide.

Register now so you don't miss out on this important college access and success and career readiness conference. More information about the conference is available on the conference website. We look forward to engaging with you online!

2021 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025


CCE


Register Today – 2021 CCE Conference
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, College Admission Counselors, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants, Community Organizations and Public Libraries on June 21, 2021.

2021 College Changes Everything® Conference
Don't Wait – Register Today!

Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and
Belonging for the Success of All Learners

Don't delay – register today for the online 2021 College Changes Everything conference. Join your colleagues from across the state from July 12th through July 16th as they come together to share and learn how we can work together better in helping students achieve success and our state reach its Goal 2025. Each day of the conference offers a variety of sessions about student college access and success and career readiness. Interest sessions topics include: supporting students through food insecurity and housing instability; supporting Illinois' immigrant populations; reducing remediation and accelerating college success; leveraging community-based partnerships to support student success; addressing the state's teacher shortage; and much more. The full conference agenda is available on the conference website.

The conference is being hosted on the Whova event platform, and we'll be using Webex to deliver the livestream sessions. While nothing can replace meeting in-person, Whova provides several ways for conference participants to interact and engage with other attendees via community board topics, Network Tables sessions, and other interactive features. You can learn more about how to get the most out of Whova by downloading the Whova App reviewing their Whova Attendee User Guide.

Register now so you don't miss out on this important college access and success and career readiness conference. We look forward to engaging with you online!

Please share this e-Message with your colleagues so they can register, too. More information about the conference is available on the conference website.

2021 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025


CCE


Register for the 2021 CCE Conference!
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, College Admission Counselors, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants, Community Organizations and Public Libraries on June 10, 2021.

CCE Conference Logo
Registration Now Open!

2021 College Changes Everything® Virtual Conference
July 12 – July 16, 2021

Register now to participate in the online 2021 College Changes Everything® conference – the state's premier college access and success event. The conference is free, but registration is required. This year's conference theme is: Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Success of All Learners. The conference also supports the state's Goal 2025 – to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois with high quality degrees and postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025.

Each day of the conference offers a variety of sessions about student college access and success and career readiness, including three plenary sessions:

  • Monday, July 12th – Conference Kick Off and State Agency Panel: Educating During the Pandemic
  • Tuesday, July 13th – Illinois Higher Education Strategic Plan: Next Steps
  • Wednesday, July 14th – Keynote Panel: Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Success of All Learners

We're excited to host the conference on the Whova event platform. While nothing can replace meeting in-person, Whova provides several ways for conference participants to interact and engage with other attendees via community board topics, Network Tables sessions, and other interactive features. You can learn more about how to get the most out of Whova by reviewing their Whova Attendee User Guide.

Who Should Attend

One of the key strengths of this conference is that it brings together a diverse audience of stakeholders from across the state to create a space of dialogue and sharing information, ideas, and best practices that promote access to postsecondary education, ensure degree or credential attainment, and provide career pathways. Attendees typically include, but are not limited to:

  • high school leaders, counselors, and case managers
  • college access practitioners
  • college and university leaders and administrators
  • leaders from state agencies, non-profits, foundations, and community-based organizations focused on educational opportunity and attainment and career pathways
  • business leaders
  • policymakers and elected officials interested in higher education and workforce development

Don't wait – register now! There is no registration fee.

Please share this e-Message with your colleagues so they can register, too. More information about the conference is available on the conference website.

We look forward to engaging with you online!

2021 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025


CCE


Save the Date & Call for Proposals – Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Symposium
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, College Admission Counselors, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants, Community Organizations and Public Libraries on May 27, 2021.

Brought to You by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)

ISAC FAFSA Symposium

Mark your calendars for ISAC's 3rd annual FAFSA Symposium taking place on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The event is FREE of charge and will take place virtually.

The FAFSA Symposium provides an opportunity for schools to share best practices for supporting students in completing the FAFSA and the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. Topics covered in this year's symposium will address the following themes:

  • Navigating financial aid application completion amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Collaborating and leveraging partnerships to improve financial aid application completion
  • Targeting support for high-need student populations
  • Innovative strategies for increasing financial aid application completion
  • Incorporating the family in the financial aid process: Strategies for parent outreach
  • Resources to support financial aid application completion

This event will provide practitioners the opportunity to strengthen student support around financial aid application completion and highlight FAFSA completion efforts across the state. A symposium agenda and registration information will be available early this fall on the FAFSA Symposium website.

Call for Proposals: Due Friday, June 11, 2021 – Share Experiences and Resources

Practitioners are encouraged to share their experiences and resource by submitting a FAFSA Symposium session proposal. The FAFSA Symposium brings together a broad group of practitioners and offers professionals an opportunity to share best practices for financial aid application completion. ISAC welcomes session proposals that address one of the themes shared above.

Session details are as follows:

  • Each session will be scheduled for 45 minutes
  • Deadline – Priority consideration will be given to completed session proposal forms submitted by Friday, June 11th
  • Non-Commercial Policy – Please note that sessions are to be non-commercial forums. Individuals should refrain from using brand names or endorsing specific products. Sessions are not to be used as a place for direct promotion of products and services.
  • Presenter Compensation – The symposium does not provide any compensation for individuals accepted to serves as symposium presenters.

For questions about the FAFSA Symposium, please e-mail isac.outreachtraining@illinois.gov.


Parchment Connect Virtual Events
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, and Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants on May 25, 2021.

We invite you to participate in this year's Parchment Connect Virtual 2021 online events. There will be one event on June 8th for K12 and admissions, and another event for higher education registrars and provosts on June 10th. Both events are available at no cost to attendees and will provide opportunities to focus on the issues impacting schools and campuses today.

Whether a current participant of the Illinois Transcript Exchange or not, everyone is welcome to attend. By participating in one or both events, you'll have an opportunity to connect with school counselors, K12 records managers, admissions representatives, enrollment professionals, registrars, other academic professionals, and industry thought-leaders. You can register and learn more about the events by visiting Parchment Connect Virtual 2021.

If you're not familiar with the ISAC Transcript Exchange, the service provides the opportunity for high school students to request that transcripts be sent electronically to the college(s) of their choice and to other organizations requesting transcripts (e.g., scholarships providers). Through the ISAC Transcript Exchange, Illinois high schools are able to use the Parchment service at no cost. Current students are able to request that transcripts be sent electronically to destinations free of charge. Alumni are also able to use Parchment for transcript requests and will pay a partially-subsidized transcript fee. To protect the privacy and confidentiality of transcript data, documents are sent through a secure transcript service in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

If your school is not currently taking advantage of the ISAC Transcript Exchange and you would like to learn more about the service, please contact Lenore Smith from ISAC at Lenore.Smith@illinois.gov.


Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, College Admission Counselors, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants, Community Organizations and Public Libraries on May 20 2021.

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)

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

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)

2022-23 ACADEMIC YEAR

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

Eligibility for the State Scholar Program is based, in part, on a student's highest qualifying ACT or SAT score. For current high school juniors, only exams taken between August 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 qualify for consideration in the 2022-23 State Scholar announcements that will be made during their senior year (i.e., fall of 2021).

Because the June 30, 2021 deadline is fast approaching, remind your college-bound juniors who have not already done so to take their college entrance exams as soon as they can. Although ISAC staff will do all we can to assist students, there is no guarantee the administrative decision to expand testing dates that was made for 2021-22 State Scholars will be extended for the designation of 2022-23 Scholars.

COVID-19 Impact on Designation of State Scholars

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement or cancellation of many spring 2020 college entrance exams (i.e., ACT and SAT). While we remain hopeful that – dependent upon improving pandemic conditions – college entrance exams will take place as scheduled throughout 2021, ISAC staff continues to monitor the situation. The State Scholar Program section of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area will be updated as needed with related information.

2021-22 ACADEMIC YEAR

State Scholar Updates

2021-22 State Scholars Announced
(Appeals due June 11)

As announced in an April 12 e-Message, qualified students were designated as 2021-22 State Scholars in April (i.e., high school seniors, who will be college freshmen during the 2021-22 academic year, were named Scholars during the spring of 2021).

Accepting Scores for Entrance Exams Taken August 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020

In order to best accommodate students impacted by the irregular standardized test (ACT and SAT) schedules caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ISAC will include for 2021-22 State Scholar consideration results of tests taken from August 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020. Further details, including instructions for high schools with students they believe may qualify as 2021-22 State Scholars (based on scores ISAC has not yet received for tests taken between August 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020), are provided in a May 3 e-Message.

FAFSA® Still Available

The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is still available online, and – if not already done – should be completed and submitted as soon as possible by students who will be attending college between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for several forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance, including the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant.

Details regarding the 2021-22 application cycle may be accessed by counselors and other professionals via the Applying for Financial Aid section of the e-Library for Partners.

Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid Available

Undocumented students and transgender students meeting the criteria of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act may file the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid – which is patterned after the FAFSA and available in English and Spanish – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's RISE Act page.

Every Monday: New FAFSA Completion Initiative Match Data Available

Beginning with the 2020-21 academic year (i.e., high school graduating class of 2021), 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.

The FAFSA Completion Initiative matches student lists of participating high schools against FAFSA and Alternative Application records. New 2021-22 match data is available weekly, on Monday mornings.

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 ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal.

GENERAL INFORMATION

June 17: Next Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, June 17, 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.

Visit the Commission Meeting Schedule page for information regarding all meetings scheduled in 2021.

Week of July 12: 2021 College Changes Everything® Online Conference

Mark your calendar for the annual College Changes Everything® conference – Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Success of All Learners – which will be a virtual event with online sessions throughout the week of July 12, 2021. Visit the College Changes Everything conference website, and watch for future e-Messages, for the latest updates.

Recordings of Professional Development Webinar Series Available Online

A May 17 e-Message announces that recordings from the fall and spring Professional Development webinars are now available to view online via the On-Demand Webinars page. All recordings are free to view, but registration is required.

Illinois Postsecondary Profiles Tool Available

Through a collaboration with several other state agencies, ISAC has recently made the Illinois Postsecondary Profiles (IPP) tool available via our website. This online resource offers postsecondary institution-specific data to help students and their families explore Illinois college options based on area of study, future occupation, school size and location, and other factors. Further details – including information about the Institutional Profiles, Occupational Profiles and Regional Profiles areas of the site – are provided in an April 6 e-Message.

Student Job Board Provides Leads for Summer Employment/Internships

Counselors are urged to promote the Student Job Board, which may be accessed via the Toolbox area of the ISAC Student Portal, to their students who may be seeking summer employment or internships. A variety of job types from all areas of the state are listed and are updated on a regular basis.

Outreach Resources

Information About the ISACorps and outreach programs are available on our website.

Find Your ISACorps Member

In the Outreach Resources section, you will find additional information on how we can assist you with your school's efforts to provide college-bound students with information about financial aid. Please note that all outreach events in 2021 will be done virtually until otherwise noted.

e-Messaging Reminder

ISAC's e-Messaging service is our primary means of communication with our high school partners. Please share this information with any colleagues who may not yet be registered to receive ISAC's e-Messages.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Available for Eligible Households

The Emergency Broadband Benefit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helps eligible households afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting them to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and more. Further details, including eligibility requirements and instructions for requesting the benefit, are provided at the Emergency Broadcast Benefit page of the FCC website.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day
  • Monday, July 5 – Independence Day

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.


Professional Development Webinar Recordings
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, College Admission Counselors, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants, Community Organizations and Public Libraries on May 17, 2021.

Brought to You by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)

The Professional Development (PD) team at ISAC thanks everyone who joined us this year for our webinar series. If you were unable to join is throughout the year, or if you want to revisit any of our webinar sessions, all recordings from the fall and spring webinars are now available to view on the Professional Development On-Demand Webinars page. Topics include ISAC services and resources, working with special student populations, state and federal financial aid programs, and more.

To access the recordings, visit the On-Demand Webinars page, and select "View Recording". All recordings are free to view, but registration is required.

To learn more about out professional development opportunities, visit the PD website at www.isac.org/PD/.


Results of Entrance Exams Taken through December 31, 2020 Included for 2021-22 State Scholar Consideration
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators and High School Counselors/Teachers on May 3, 2021.

Due to the extenuating circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, schedules for the standardized tests (ACT and SAT) used to announce 2021-22 State Scholars – as well as ISAC's access to data from those tests – were highly irregular. In order to best accommodate impacted students, ISAC will include for 2021-22 State Scholar consideration results of tests taken from August 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020 for students who were classified at the senior level when the exam was taken.

As a reminder, the designation of 2021-22 State Scholars that were announced on April 12, 2021 included all tests taken during the eligible exam dates (i.e., August 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020), plus the July 18, 2020 ACT exam and the SAT exams administered on September 23, 2020, October 14, 2020, and October 27, 2020.

How to Submit Necessary Data

High schools with students they believe may qualify as 2021-22 State Scholars – based on scores ISAC has not yet received for tests taken between August 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020 – must complete and submit the Illinois State Scholar Program (SSP) Sixth Semester Academic Information Request form and, for each student, submit a copy of the Score Report from the test with the highest score.

Appeal for an Entire Class

If a high school has not yet submitted sixth semester data and has students who may qualify as 2021-22 State Scholars based on scores for exams taken outside the eligible exam dates, they may request that an appeal be processed for the entire class by sending an e-mail to the School Services Department. The e-mail must include:

  • reason for the appeal;
  • sixth semester total class size;
  • unweighted rank, or unweighted GPA and GPA scale;
  • name and e-mail address of the State Scholar Program contact at the school; and
  • required sixth semester data for the top 50% of the class, attached to the e-mail as an Excel spreadsheet (in the required format, using the State Scholar file template).

Upon receipt of the high school's e-mail (including the Excel spreadsheet with the sixth semester data), ISAC staff will review the information and respond with results.

Questions?

Questions regarding the 2021-22 State Scholar process may be directed to ISAC's School Services Department by calling toll free at 866.247.2172 or sending an e-mail message to isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov.


ISAC Transcript Exchange Final Transcript Processing Best Practices
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants and Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants on April 14, 2021.

With final transcript season's arrival, the Parchment team for ISAC Transcript Exchange is offering a webinar focused on helping you get through the end-of-year transcript processing. In addition to answering your questions, the webinar will cover:

  • Uploading Final Transcripts
  • The Parchment.com Student Ordering Experience
  • Matching & Processing Orders
  • The Benefits of Using Your Custom Order Link
  • Tips for Schools Still Offering Distance Learning

The webinar is being offered on:

  • Wednesday, April 21st at 11 a.m. Central Time (12 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • Wednesday, May 5th at 11 a.m. Central Time (12 p.m. Eastern Time)

Here's the link to register for the Parchment Final Transcript webinar that fits best in your schedule.

As a reminder, ISAC Transcript Exchange provides the opportunity for Illinois high schools to use the Parchment service at no cost to send transcripts electronically to the colleges of their current students' choice and to other organizations requesting transcripts (e.g., scholarship providers). To protect the privacy and confidentiality of transcript data, documents are sent through a secure transcript service in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If your school or district is not currently taking advantage of the ISAC Transcript Exchange and you would like to learn more about the service, please contact Lenore Smith from ISAC at Lenore.Smith@illinois.gov.


2021-22 State Scholar Announcements
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators and High School Counselors/Teachers on April 12, 2021.

After a months-long delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, ISAC is pleased to announce that more than 16,600 qualified Illinois high school students have been designated as 2021-22 State Scholars. Information about the announcement process is below. You may either scroll through the remainder of this message, or click on the appropriate link(s) to go directly to a specific section:

Processing Announcements
Corrections
Illinois State Scholar Badges
Appeals Due by June 11, 2021
Looking Ahead

Processing Announcements

  • The announcement of 2021-22 State Scholars took place earlier today (April 12, 2021).
  • Individual congratulatory letters have been mailed directly to Scholars. You may view a sample of the congratulatory letter in the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area of the website.
  • ISAC will print and mail Certificates of Achievement to high schools that did not opt to download and print the certificates via the State Scholar Program (SSP) system. Instructions for downloading and printing Certificates of Achievement are provided in the SSP File Upload User Guide.
    • High schools will be able to print duplicate copies of certificates when they are needed, rather than requesting them from ISAC.
  • Instructions for generating reports of the school's State Scholar Finalists and Non-Finalists in the SSP system are provided in the SSP Online Processing User Guide.

Corrections

  • Now that 2021-22 State Scholars have been announced, corrections to already-submitted data must be submitted as follows:
    • Changes (for example, correcting the spelling of a name, or reporting that a student was designated as a State Scholar in error) must be submitted in writing to ISAC's School Services Department via a fax to 847.831.8549, via an e-mail to isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov, or via regular mail to our Deerfield address.

Illinois State Scholar Badges

Included in the congratulatory letter is information regarding a digital Illinois State Scholar badge issued by ISAC. The badge can be displayed on a State Scholar's online profiles and social media accounts, and shared with high school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others. Scholars may access their badges by visiting the ISAC Student Portal and then following the on-screen prompts. Complete instructions are available via the ISAC website at isac.org/SSPbadge.

Validating a Badge

Those with whom a Scholar shares their badge may wish to validate its authenticity. In order for them to do so, the Scholar will need to provide either a link (URL) to the badge or the badge ID.

  • If the link (URL) has been provided: click on the link, which will launch the Badge Verification screen. The badge ID will automatically be populated, so they only need to click on "Check Badge ID."
  • To verify a badge without the link (URL): the person will need to access the State Scholar Program Badge area (located within the Toolbox section of the ISAC Student Portal), click on "Badge Verification," enter the Scholar's badge ID, and then click on "Check Badge ID."

A validated badge will display "Badge ID is valid for: (FIRST NAME) (LAST NAME)."

Appeals Due by June 11, 2021

  • If a high school counselor feels that a student should have been designated as a State Scholar and was not, ISAC must receive a letter of appeal from the student and/or high school on or before the appeal deadline.

Looking Ahead

  • A listing of all 2021-22 State Scholars soon will be available at ISAC's website (anticipated for mid-April).
  • A sample press release, which can further assist schools in announcing State Scholars, also soon will be provided at the ISAC website.

Illinois Postsecondary Profiles Tool Added to ISAC Website
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators and High School Counselors/Teachers on April 6, 2021.

Through a collaboration with several other state agencies, ISAC recently added the Illinois Postsecondary Profiles (IPP) tool to our website. ISAC partnered with the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Interactive Report Card division of Northern Illinois University (NIU) on the initiative.

The IPP provides students and their families with postsecondary institution-specific data to help them explore Illinois college options through a variety of ways. Among them are area of study, future occupation, school size and location, and others.

Of particular interest to families involved in the college selection process are the Institutional Profiles, Occupational Profiles and Regional Profiles areas of the site.

Institutional Profiles – This area contains information about Illinois colleges, including college type, student enrollment, cost, retention and completion rates, available credentials and more.

Occupational Profiles – Here students can explore areas of study and the occupations connected with them, and discover the colleges in Illinois that offer those areas of study. The Career Pathway function lists careers by category, such as Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Arts & Communications, Finance & Business Services, Human & Public Services, Health Sciences and Technology, Information Technology and Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology & Trades. Or a search feature can help quickly find occupations or an area of study based on interests or a keyword.

Regional Profiles – An interactive map of Illinois – divided into Illinois community college regions – displays statistics for completion, enrollment, population, age, ethnicity and gender makeup of colleges in each region.

Links to the IPP are on the Counselors front page and in the Resources area of the ISAC Student Portal.


ISAC Transcript Exchange Final Transcript Processing Best Practices
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, and Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants on April 5, 2021.

Final transcript season is here, and the Parchment team for ISAC Transcript Exchange is offering a webinar focused on helping you get through the end-of-year transcript processing. In addition to answering your questions, the webinar will cover:

  • Uploading Final Transcripts
  • The Parchment.com Student Ordering Experience
  • Matching & Processing Orders
  • The Benefits of Using Your Custom Order Link
  • Tips for Schools Still Offering Distance Learning

The webinar is being offered on:

  • Wednesday, April 21st at 11 a.m. Central Time (12 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • Wednesday, May 5th at 11 a.m. Central Time (12 p.m. Eastern Time)

Here's the link to register for the Parchment Final Transcript webinar that fits best in your schedule.

As a reminder, ISAC Transcript Exchange provides the opportunity for Illinois high schools to use the Parchment service at no cost to send transcripts electronically to the colleges of their current students' choice and to other organizations requesting transcripts (e.g., scholarship providers). To protect the privacy and confidentiality of transcript data, documents are sent through a secure transcript service in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If your school or district is not currently taking advantage of the ISAC Transcript Exchange and you would like to learn more about the service, please contact Lenore Smith from ISAC at Lenore.Smith@illinois.gov.

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ISAC COMMUNIQUÉ


March 2021 ISAC Communiqué
Sent on April 1, 2021.

The latest edition of the ISAC Communiqué is now available for your review, and may be accessed via the Partner e-Messages & Newsletters section of the e-Library for Partners at isac.org. This electronic version of ISAC's newsletter is a compilation of information provided to Counselor partners via ISAC's e-Messaging service over the past quarter.

Topics covered in this electronic Communiqué include:

  • FAFSA Simplification Webinar
    (sent on March 31, 2021)
  • 2021 Financial Aid Certification Series
    (sent on March 30, 2021)
  • Update: 2021-22 State Scholar Announcements
    (sent on March 16, 2021)
  • Don't Let Your Students Miss Out on Money for College!
    (sent on March 10, 2021)
  • Submit Your Session Proposal Today
    (sent on March 9, 2021 )
  • Additional Date Added for FAFSA Completion Initiative Webinar
    (sent on March 9, 2021)
  • Don't Forget – Submit Your Proposal
    (sent on February 25, 2021)
  • ISAC Transcript Exchange Bite-Sized Learning Opportunities
    (sent on February 17, 2021)
  • ISAC Electronic Transcript Exchange: Saving You and Your Students Time and Money
    (sent on February 9, 2021)
  • 2021 CCE Conference: Save the Date & Call for Proposals
    (sent on February 5, 2021)
  • FAFSA Completion Initiative Webinars
    (sent on February 5, 2021 )
  • Reminder: PaCE Virtual Offerings (Spring 2021)
    (sent on February 3, 2021 )
  • Illinois 60 by 25 Network – Registration Now Open: Free, Virtual Annual Conference
    (sent on January 28, 2021 )
  • FAFSA Completion Initiative Page Updated for 2021-22
    (sent on January 22, 2021 )
  • Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC
    (sent on January 20, 2021 )
  • 2021 Financial Aid Certification Series
    (sent on January 14, 2021 )
  • PaCE Virtual Offerings (Spring 2021)
    (sent on January 11, 2021 )

Electronic newsletters are available at the beginning of each quarter (January, April, July, and October), and are the compilation of information announced via an e-Message to any of the Counselor subscription groups during the previous quarter.

Encourage Your Colleagues to Sign Up for e-Messaging

ISAC's e-Messaging service is our primary means of communicating information to Counselor partners.

Encourage your colleagues who have not done so to subscribe through the Counselors e-Messaging sign-up page at isac.org today, so that they won't miss future announcements or updates from ISAC.

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