JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Communiqué

Volume 32, Number 5C
November 2022

Messages sent to: Multiple Subscription Groups
  ISAC Communiqué

Welcome to the November 2022 ISAC Communiqué, which is a compilation of e-Messages sent through ISAC's e-Messaging service throughout November.

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@isac.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


2023-24 State Scholars Announced
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators and High School Counselors/Teachers on November 22, 2022.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).

ISAC is pleased to announce that more than 16,000 qualified Illinois high school students have been designated as 2023-24 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:

Generating Reports
Public Announcement of Scholars
(Certificates of Achievement and Press Release)
Student Notifications
Illinois State Scholar Badges
Corrections
Appeals Due by January 31, 2023

Generating Reports

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.

Public Announcement of Scholars
(Certificates of Achievement and Press Release)

  • Certificates of Achievement are being mailed to high schools that did not opt to download and print their own certificates as part of the early announcement process.
    • As a reminder, and as explained in a September 19 e-Message, high schools that downloaded their own certificates will not receive the ISAC-printed Certificates of Achievements.
    • Counselors may distribute the certificates according to the preference of each school.
      • For those schools presenting the Certificates of Achievement to State Scholars during a future high school honors ceremony, counselors are reminded to keep the certificates in a location where they can be easily accessed when needed.
  • A sample press release, which can further assist schools in announcing State Scholars, may be accessed via the State Scholar Finalists page that is located within the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area.
  • In deference to the differences in policies among high schools regarding publishing student information online, ISAC does not post the names of Illinois State Scholar Finalists on its website.

Student Notifications

As part of the early announcement process, ISAC has been mailing individual congratulatory letters directly to State Scholars as they have been named, with the last batch of letters having been mailed in mid-November. You may view a sample of the congratulatory letter in the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area of the website.

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)."

Corrections

  • 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.

Appeals Due by January 31, 2023

Counselors should carefully review the sixth-semester roster data they submitted to ISAC, in order to ensure there are no errors in the announcement of 2023-24 State Scholars. To assist in the review, details regarding the State Scholar Selection Process are provided within the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area.

  • 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.

2023-24 Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators and High School Counselors/Teacher on November 14, 2022.

Effective today, November 14, 2022, counselors at participating high schools may access their students' 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) completion data via the Financial Aid Application Completion component of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal.

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 Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative is a resource that can help high schools monitor their students' compliance with this mandate.

Public High School Student Lists Now Available

Student lists obtained from Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) records and matched against FAFSA and Alternative Application data, are now appearing in the Financial Aid Application Completion system for all participating Illinois public high schools. New 2023-24 match data will be available in GAP Access on a daily basis.

Because records were obtained from ISBE, public high schools do not need to upload their list of 2022-23 seniors. Only if student records need to be edited will a public high school need to utilize the "Add/Delete" functionality.

Student Record Upload Function Available for Private High Schools

To ensure that FAFSA Completion data of private high school students is available, private high schools will need to complete a Student Record Upload for the entire 2023 class at least once between now and July 31, 2023. That function is now open and able to receive uploads of student data. Remember that the Student Record Upload function is separate from the State Scholar File Upload process.

Student Record Updates

All high schools are encouraged to monitor student data in GAP Access and make any necessary updates to ensure the most accurate and current enrollment is available. The Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative User Guide contains instructions for updating student data.

"Opt-Out" Box

An "opt-out" box in the Financial Aid Application Completion system allows high schools to indicate that the FAFSA mandate waiver provision has been exercised by a parent, guardian, or the student (if at least 18 years old or emancipated). While high schools still need to collect and retain the actual waiver documentation, this feature serves as another way to track the application completion requirement.

Updated User Guide Available

The Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative User Guide has been updated for the 2023-24 cycle, and includes information about the student list, the Student Record Upload option and the "opt-out" box.

Participation

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

Reminder

In keeping with the goal of securing all confidential data, the principal of each high school is designated as that school's GAP Access Primary Administrator. While we understand principals are not usually involved in the day-to-day processes, we do require the current school principal to register and activate their own GAP Access account. If a high school has a new principal, they must have their own account.

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ISAC COMMUNIQUÉ


October 2022 ISAC Communiqé
Sent on November 1, 2022.

The October 2022 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 month.

Topics covered in the October 2022 ISAC Communiqué include:

  • Last Call: Parchment Preview Webinar (November 3rd)
    (sent October 31, 2022)
  • Final Week of the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver
    (sent October 24, 2022)
  • Learn How Electronic Transcripts Save Time & Money
    (sent October 21, 2022)
  • Reminder: ISAC's Financial Aid Certification
    (sent October 19, 2022)
  • Reminder: Final Two Weeks of the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver
    (sent October 18, 2022)
  • ISAC's Financial Aid Certification
    (sent October 14, 2022)
  • State Scholar Early Announcements Begin
    (sent October 12, 2022)
  • Reminder: Final Weeks of the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver Webinars
    (sent October 11, 2022)
  • Join ISAC for Free Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Webinars
    (sent October 4, 2022)
  • 2023-24 FAFSA, Alternative Application, and Important Dates
    (sent October 3, 2022)
  • September 2022 ISAC Communiqué
    (sent October 3, 2022)

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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