Submission of Alternative Applications Without Parent Data – Dependency Status Override
The next phase of the corrections process for the 2020-21 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid – the ability to for a dependent student to complete and submit an application without parental information – is now available. The Alternative Application is used by RISE Act-eligible undocumented and transgender students to apply for the Monetary Award Program (MAP).
Applications Without Parent Information
An option was added to the online Alternative Application that allows dependent students experiencing special circumstances to indicate that they are "unable to provide information about my parents", and then continue with their application. If students select that option, a message advises them to contact the financial aid office at their school to discuss their circumstances.
Application data for students who do not provide parental information will be passed to schools through the Alternative Application Student Record. The records will be identified with a dependency status of "X" and a special circumstances flag of "1" (new to the Student Record Layout). The Alternative Application Student Record School File Layout Specifications contain these fields.
An expected family contribution (EFC) is not calculated for dependent students who do not provide parental information on their initial application.
Colleges should follow their usual policies and procedures for determining if a dependency override from dependent to independent status is appropriate for a student. Once a decision has been made, a request for a dependency override may be submitted to ISAC via the email@example.com e-mail address. Two ISAC-created templates to assist colleges are available through the Application Procedures for MAP page of the Gift Assistance Programs area of the website. One is a sample form that students can use to submit their dependency override request to the financial aid office for consideration. Colleges may use the form as is, or customize it to better fit their institutional policies. The other is the template that colleges should complete and submit to ISAC to request that a dependency override be made to a student's application.
Once the dependency override is processed by ISAC, an EFC will be calculated, a new transaction will be generated, and MAP eligibility will be determined based on the student's independent status. We anticipate being able to process override requests in the near future. In the meantime, any requests submitted will be held until processing begins.
Completing or Correcting Applications
In the event the student mistakenly selected that they were not able to provide parental information, the school should advise the student to make corrections to their application by entering through the "Returning Applicants Login" and providing the required parental data.
Please note that once students start an application, the system does not consider them a "First-Time Applicant", regardless of how much of the application was completed. If they need to access the application again – whether to complete an incomplete application or make corrections to a complete application – they must access their application through the "Returning Applicants Login".
As a reminder, for students needing assistance with the application, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid User Guide is accessible from both the application home screen and the Student Profile Login page. It is also available, along with Alternative Application FAQ's, in the right-hand menu of the RISE Act web page.
Potential COVID-19 Issues
In situations where, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students are unable to provide the documentation the institution requires to make a dependency override decision, it is recommended that colleges instruct students to log in to their Alternative Application as a Returning Applicant and indicate that they are unable to provide parent data. This will allow students to complete and submit the application, and it will be assigned an initial application receipt date. At the point in time when the college is able to collect documentation from a student, and a dependency override decision can be made, the request can then be submitted to ISAC and an EFC will be calculated.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.