The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid is Now Available
To implement the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act, signed into law by Governor Pritzker last June, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) is now available through the ISAC website.
The Alternative Application is for state aid only, providing a pathway to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for qualifying undocumented students and for transgender students who are not eligible for federal financial aid because they did not register for selective service.
Most students in Illinois will continue to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), rather than the Alternative Application, to simultaneously apply for federal, state and institutional aid, including MAP grants.
In order to receive a MAP grant, all students, whether completing the FAFSA or the Alternative Application, must still meet the eligibility criteria of the MAP program itself.
The current Alternative Application is for 2020-21 MAP grants. (Beginning next fall, the Alternative Application will be available concurrently with the FAFSA, on October 1 for the 2021-22 academic year.)
Undocumented and transgender students who have not completed a 2020-21 FAFSA and who want to determine their eligibility to complete the Alternative Application can review the information at www.isac.org/AlternativeApp. While the Alternative Application itself includes pre-screening questions to determine if a student is eligible to complete it, ISAC encourages students to also consult their school counselor or financial aid office in deciding whether they should complete the FAFSA or the Alternative Application.
In addition to information and FAQs on ISAC's website and a User Guide for the application itself, ISAC provides free assistance to students and families, in English or Spanish, to complete the FAFSA or the Alternative Application; students can contact their local ISACorps representative or contact ISAC's Call Center at 800.899.ISAC (4722).
ISAC continues to offer free training sessions about the Alternative Application for financial aid officers, school counselors, advocates and others who work directly with students. Watch for the announcement of upcoming webinars in a future e-Message.
Share ISAC's one-minute video about the RISE Act and the Alternative Application to help increase awareness of this option among students and families of undocumented and transgender students. Find it on our website and through YouTube. The video is available in English and Spanish.
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