JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

2024-25 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 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)
New FAFSA® and Alternative Application Now Available

2023-24 (July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024)

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)


FAFSA and Alternative Application Now Available

The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) cycle, including the launch of the online FAFSA, has opened. The FAFSA Processing System (FPS) – formerly the Central Processing System (CPS) – anticipates transmitting 2024-25 FAFSA results to colleges later in January 2024, with data from paper/PDF FAFSAs processed starting in February 2024.

With the 2024-25 FAFSA:

  • up to 20 different colleges can be listed on the online FAFSA and have information sent to them;
  • 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,
  • students (applicants) and all contributors (which may include a Student Spouse, Parent, and/or Parent Spouse or Partner) must provide consent and approval for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to send federal tax information directly to the FAFSA via a new interface.

Details regarding the 2024-25 application cycle may be accessed via the Applying for Financial Aid section of the e-Library for Partners.

The 2024-25 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (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 Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act page.

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

MAP Processing Cycle

The 2024-25 MAP processing cycle will commence after the FPS begins providing FAFSA results to colleges and state agencies (anticipated for later in January 2024).

As was previously announced, at its September 21, 2023 meeting, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission approved a start-up formula for 2024-25 academic year MAP grants, with a maximum award of $8,400. Additional details regarding the formula are provided in a September 22 e-Message.

February 1: Priority Deadline Date for Returning MAP Recipients

Returning MAP recipients (i.e., students who received MAP funds during the prior academic year and continue to meet all eligibility requirements) who submit their FAFSAs or Alternative Applications by that academic year's priority deadline date will receive priority access to appropriated MAP funds.

Eligible applicants must have received MAP funds during the 2023-24 academic year and submit their 2024-25 FAFSA or Alternative Application on or before February 1, 2024 (which is the 2024-25 priority deadline date) in order to receive priority access to 2024-25 MAP funds.


MAP Second-Term Claims Being Accepted

Colleges may submit 2023-24 MAP claims for the second term, keeping in mind that claims may be submitted no more than 10 days prior to the start of classes for the term for which they are being requested. In addition, even though the priority claim deadline date of December 8, 2023 has passed, ISAC is continuing to accept first-term claims and will hold them as late, to be considered for payment later in the year. Further details are provided in a December 21 e-Message.

Submit NES Fall-Term Claims

The 2023-24 Nursing Education Scholarships (NES) payment processing cycle has commenced, and colleges may submit claims for the fall term via the NESP system. Payment is run on a nightly basis each weekday, with results available the following day. Further details – including access to the updated NES User Guide and an overview of what's new with 2023-24 payment processing – are provided in December 14 and December 27 e-Messages.

FAFSA and Alternative Application Remain Available

Although ISAC has suspended the announcement of 2023-24 MAP grants (for all students whose initial 2023-24 FAFSA is received by the federal processor, or whose initial Alternative Application is received by ISAC, on or after September 23, 2023), these 2023-24 applications remain available online. If not already done, an application 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 other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2023-24 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.


April 18: Next Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, April 18, 2024. 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 2024.

Coming this Spring: First Gen Symposium

Watch for future announcements regarding the first annual First Gen Symposium, which is anticipated to take place in the spring of 2024.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, January 15, 2024 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Monday, February 12, 2024 – Lincoln's Birthday
  • Monday, February 19, 2024 – Presidents' Day

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

Processing Schedules

Although ISAC staff will be unavailable on the days listed above, all systems for ISAC-administered programs within the GAP Access portal will be available during regularly scheduled hours. For MAP and other programs administered through components of the GAP Access portal, results for payment requests submitted from 5 p.m. (CT) the business day prior to the holiday through 5 p.m. (CT) the business day following the holiday will be available via the appropriate program's system on the morning of the second business day after the holiday.

For Assistance

Access the Financial Aid Administrators 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 FAAs.

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.