Volume 33, Number 2C
|Messages sent to:||Multiple Subscription Groups|
Welcome to the August 2023 ISAC Communiqué, which is a compilation of e-Messages sent through ISAC's e-Messaging service throughout August.
The articles in this electronic Communiqué have been organized according to the Counselor subscription groups to which the messages were distributed.
Questions regarding information in this electronic Communiqué can be directed to School Services at 866.247.2172 or at ISAC.firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Submit a Proposal by September 8, 2023, for the 2023 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 August 31, 2023.
To accommodate the level of interest, we are excited to offer the 2023 FAFSA Symposium at TWO locations this fall. We look forward to seeing you there!
- October 25, 2023, at Illinois Central College
- November 7, 2023, at Moraine Valley Community College
We thank Illinois Central College and Moraine Valley Community College for their partnership in hosting this year's FAFSA Symposiums! Registration will open in mid-September, please save the dates.
Call for Proposals
As a reminder, we encourage college access partners who support students and families through the financial aid process to submit a session proposal for one or both symposium dates. Session proposals must be received by Friday, September 8, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (CT).
For questions about this e-mail, contact email@example.com.
Join ISAC All Month Long for Free Webinars!
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 August 29, 2023.
We are excited to share the free webinars happening in September. For registration details and more information, see below for each webinar. Please share these offerings with colleagues and partners! Professional Development hours and Continuing Education credits will be available. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAFSA Simplification: What We Know
The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) will experience significant changes, which will impact students and families across the state of Illinois. Join us on Tuesday, September 12, from 10-11 a.m. (CT) to learn about the upcoming changes regarding how to complete the application and reporting parental and tax information for families! To register, visit ISAC's Webinars page.
FAFSA Simplification: Changes for Postsecondary Institutions
With the updates coming for the 2024-25 FAFSA, there are new requirements for institutions regarding Professional Judgement, Cost of Attendance, and Dependency status. Join ISAC on Tuesday, September 19, from 10-10:30 a.m. (CT) to learn more about these changes and the impact on students. To register, visit ISAC's Webinars page.
Overview of the Illinois PaCE Framework
Now that implementing an Illinois Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) Framework (or, PaCE-aligned Framework) is a requirement for all Illinois public middle and high schools, join us on Thursday, September 14, from 11-12 p.m. (CT) to gain an in-depth understanding of the steps involved with creating and implementing a Framework, as well as PaCE support and resources available through ISAC. To register, visit the Illinois PaCE: Webinars page.
The State of Education in Illinois
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the state of secondary and higher education fields. Join us on Tuesday, September 26, from 11-11:45 a.m. (CT) to learn about how the pandemic impacted the K-12 system and where Illinois high school graduates are enrolling for their postsecondary journey. Attendees will also learn about the demographic and enrollment trends of higher education and how students are affording their postsecondary option. To register, visit ISAC's Webinars page.
Join Us to Learn about Preparing for Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans
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 August 25, 2023.
Millions of federal student loan borrowers have had their loans and interest payments automatically paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment pause will end on August 30, 2023. Starting September 1, interest will begin to accrue, with payments being due in October.
To help borrowers across the state of Illinois, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is hosting free webinars on how federal student loan borrowers can navigate repayment. To learn how you can prepare for repayment, visit the Return to Repayment page.
For registration details, visit the Webinars page located within the Professional Development Opportunities area at ISAC's website (isac.org). For questions, contact email@example.com.
Preparing for Federal Student Loan Repayments to Resume
Join us on one of these dates in September to learn about the steps you can take to prepare for repayment, what repayment options are available, and how to stay out of default.
- Thursday, September 7, 9-10 a.m. (CT)
- Wednesday, September 13, 12-1 p.m. (CT)
- Friday, September 22, 10-11 a.m. (CT)
For any questions regarding this e-Message, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
ISAC Transcript Exchange Available
Sent to Principals/Superintendents/Administrators, High School Counselors/Teachers, Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange High School Participants, and Illinois Electronic Transcript Exchange College Participants on August 24, 2023.
As staff and students are heading back to school, the ISAC Transcript Exchange, through our partnership with Parchment, is available! By using ISAC's Transcript Exchange, you support Illinois students navigating the different pathways they can take and through the college-going process.
ISAC's Transcript Exchange is available at no cost to all Illinois public and private high schools! The Transcript Exchange enables student credentials like transcripts, verification documents, transfer records, and more to be sent electronically. Visit the ISAC Transcript Exchange page to learn more!
Back to School Success Webinar
Join the Parchment Customer Success Team on Thursday, September 7 at 12 p.m. (CT) for their webinar on Back to School Success. They will discuss helping you and your students start the new year successfully! The webinar will include a walkthrough of:
- Parchment's NEW Graduation Verification Feature
- Best practices and resources for you and your students
- Product highlights and features you may not be using (but should!)
Our goal is to ensure that you feel more equipped to use and understand the many benefits available using the ISAC Transcript Exchange powered by Parchment as you begin a new school year.
For more information and to register, visit the Parchment website.
For questions about the ISAC Transcript Exchange, contact 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 August 23, 2023.
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.
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:
2024-25 (July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025)
2023-24 (July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024)
General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)
By End of December 2023: 2024-25 FAFSA® Available
As part of implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act, the 2024-25 federal process for requesting financial assistance is anticipated to reflect the changes outlined below. Because these changes will take time to properly implement, the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is expected to be available in December 2023 (rather than in October). ISAC anticipates availability of the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid for the 2024-25 academic year to coincide with the launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA.
With the 2024-25 FAFSA:
- up to 20 different colleges can be listed on the online FAFSA and have information sent to them (in prior years, only ten colleges could be listed);
- due to a change in the methodology used to determine aid, a Student Aid Index (SAI) – rather than an expected family contribution (EFC) – is used to measure the student's (and, if applicable, the family's) ability to pay for college;
- the new need analysis formula no longer factors the number of family members attending college into the calculation;
- separate criteria to determine eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant Program, linking eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level, make program funds available to more students; and,
- revisions to several of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid are required, including a new interface to directly receive federal tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The e-Library's 2024-25 FAFSA Completion area is updated on a regular basis as details are released regarding the 2024-25 federal process for requesting financial aid. Recordings of prior webinars regarding FAFSA Simplification, presented by the ISAC Professional Development staff, may be viewed via the Professional Development – On-Demand Webinars page. Watch for announcements regarding additional webinars that will be offered throughout the fall.
College-bound students and their families, who may be seeking information, can be directed to the Financial Aid: Completing the FAFSA area of ISAC's website – which will also be regularly updated as new information becomes available – and the Federal Student Aid studentaid.gov website.
FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance.
September 8: Session Proposals Due for FAFSA Symposium
ISAC invites college-access professionals to submit a session proposal to present at the 2023 FAFSA Symposium, which will be offered in central Illinois and the Chicagoland area in October and November (specific dates will be announced once finalized). Further details, including access to the Session Proposal Form (which will be available through Friday, September 8, 2023), are provided at the FAFSA Symposium page and an August 16 e-Message.
October is College Changes Everything® Month 2023
During College Changes Everything® Month (October), ISAC will offer support for both college application activities and 2024-25 FAFSA completion. Watch for further details at the College Changes Everything website, and be sure to register your high school for a 2023 College Changes Everything Month event.
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. High school juniors who are potential candidates will need to take one of the accepted exams during the specified timeframe to be considered for State Scholar designation, even though Illinois' public institutions are now prohibited from requiring the submission of student test scores as part of the admissions process.
For this coming fall's high school juniors, only exams taken between August 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024 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 2025-26 academic year, will be named Scholars during the fall of 2024). Further details are provided for students at the State Scholar Program page of our website.
State Scholar Processing Update
Submit Sixth Semester Data
A July 10 e-Message announces that sixth semester data, which will be used to determine State Scholar designation for Illinois students who will be college freshmen during the 2024-25 academic year, is being accepted via the State Scholar component of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal.
The early announcement option is again being offered this processing cycle.
GAP Access Reminders
- High schools choosing to participate in the State Scholar Program process must be registered to utilize GAP Access.
- Each time a user logs in to the GAP Access portal, the two-factor authentication process requires the use of a one-time verification code – which is obtained through an application – in conjunction with a user ID and password.
- Please report any changes in your school's administration (i.e., new principal) to ISAC.
- 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 school principal to register for their own GAP Access account.
Watch for additional updates – including availability of the online option to provide/review individual records, and scheduling of the first round of early announcements – via the standard communication methods (i.e., the Counselor Message Board, the State Scholar Program News section, and ISAC's e-Messaging service). Processing updates will also be communicated via a yellow highlighted box that appears on the "State Scholar Program: Search By School: Results" screen.
The July 10 e-Message also provides preliminary information regarding changes to the Certificates of Achievement process, which will take effect beginning with next year's State Scholars processing cycle (i.e., for Illinois students who will be college freshmen during the 2025-26 academic year).
2023-24 FAFSA and Alternative Application Remain Available
The 2023-24 FAFSA remains 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, 2023 and June 30, 2024. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for several forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance, including the Illinois MAP grant.
In addition, the 2023-24 Alternative Application is also available (in English and Spanish). Qualifying undocumented students may file the Alternative Application – which is patterned after the FAFSA – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act page.
Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative
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.
The Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative matches student lists of participating high schools against FAFSA and Alternative Application records. New 2023-24 match data is available on a daily basis.
Further details – including specific information for public high schools and private high schools, details regarding an "opt-out" box allowing high schools to indicate that the financial aid application mandate waiver provision has been exercised, access to the current user guide, and information on how to participate in the Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative – are provided in a November 14 e-Message.
August 24: "Return to Repayment" Webinar
The U.S. Department of Education has announced that interest on student loans will resume starting on September 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October.
Join us from 4-5 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, August 24, 2023 for a free webinar regarding how student loan borrowers can prepare for repayment to resume. Further details – including how to register – are provided in a July 31 e-Message.
Further details and Frequently Asked Questions can be found on ISAC's Return To Repayment page.
September 21: Next Commission Meeting
The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 21, 2023. 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 2023.
2023 College Changes Everything® (CCE) Conference Presentations Available Online
An August 3 e-Message announces that presentations and other materials from the 2023 College Changes Everything® (CCE) conference are available on the conference website. Additional presentations will be posted as they are received, so be sure to check back later if you do not find the presentation for a particular session.
2023 Virtual PaCE Symposium Presentations and Recordings Available Online
Presentations and the recordings from the virtual 2023 Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) Symposium, which took place in May, may be accessed via the Illinois PaCE Symposium page.
ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:
- Monday, September 4 – Labor Day
- Monday, October 9 – Columbus Day
- Friday, November 10 – Veterans Day (observed)
- Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving Day
- Friday, November 24 – Day after Thanksgiving
- Monday, December 25 – Christmas
- Monday, January 1 – New Year's Day
Staff will again be available the first business day immediately following each holiday.
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).
Call for Proposals Now Open for the 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 August 16, 2023.
We are excited to announce our fifth annual FAFSA Symposium!
The FAFSA Symposium is a one-day symposium for attendees to learn about best practices for supporting students in completing a financial aid application. We look forward to welcoming attendees to Central Illinois and the Chicagoland area in October and November!
For more information about the symposium, visit the FAFSA Symposium page. Watch for future announcements with specific dates and additional details.
Call for Proposals
We invite school counselors, college and career staff, financial aid administrators, community-based organizations, and other college-access professionals who support students and families through the financial aid process to submit a session proposal to present at one or both locations for the FAFSA Symposium!
Our session proposal form is now open and will close Friday, September 8, 2023. Session guidelines can be found on the FAFSA Symposium page, as well as on the session proposal form.
For questions, contact email@example.com.
2023 CCE Conference Presentations Online
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 August 3, 2023.
Presentations and other materials from the 2023 College Changes Everything® (CCE) conference are available on the conference website. We appreciate all the equity designers who were able to attend in support of the conference theme – DEIA: The Work We Need to Do. Even if you weren't able to attend, we hope the conference session presentations will inform and inspire you to address Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) issues Illinois students face and to consider how do we increase educational equity for our students.
We have gathered most of the presentations and other session materials and have posted them on the conference website. As other presentations are received, we will post them to the website, so check back if a session's presentation hasn't been posted.
2023 CCE Conference Planning Committee
2023 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
- ACT Now
- Women Employed
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025
July 2023 ISAC Communiqué
Sent on August 1, 2023
The July 2023 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 July 2023 ISAC Communiqué include:
- Join Us to Learn about Preparing for Repayment of Your Student Loans
(sent July 31, 2023)
- Join Us to Learn about Upcoming Changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)!
(sent July 26, 2023)
- State Scholar Processing Has Begun
(sent July 10, 2023)
- 2023 CCE Conference: Time Is Running Out to Register!
(sent July 5, 2023)
- June 2023 ISAC Communiqué
(sent July 3, 2023)
Encourage Your Colleagues to Sign Up for e-Messaging
ISAC's e-Messaging service is our primary means of communicating information to Counselor partners.