JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC

06/22/2020

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:

COVID-19 Resources and Updates

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)

2019-20 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020)

2020-21 July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021)


COVID-19 RESOURCES AND UPDATES

Although we are working differently during this time, we want students, families, our partners and other constituents to know that ISAC continues to be here to answer your questions and to support all Illinoisans with college planning and financial aid. Find important resources and the latest updates at the College-Going and Financial Aid Resources and Services During the Coronavirus Outbreak page of our website.


GENERAL INFORMATION

June 24: Webinar

The following webinar will be offered later this month:

  • Wednesday, June 24 (2 p.m. CT): ISAC Operational Update and Review of MIA/POW in GAP Access

To participate in the webinar, visit the Partner Training page in the e-Library for Partners to access the webinar link and presentation materials, both of which will be posted on the day of the session. Registration is not required for the webinar, and any questions you would like addressed may be submitted via e-mail to Kim Eck (kimberly.eck@illinois.gov) prior to the session.

August 7: MAP Advising Data Due

The 2020 collection period for Monetary Award Program (MAP) Advising data – including advising and support program information and course completion rates – is now open, and data is due on or before Friday, August 7, 2020. As a reminder, both components of the required data are submitted through the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal. Complete information is provided in a June 3 e-Message.

ISAC Student Portal Provides MAP Resources

Encourage your students to visit the ISAC Student Portal to access these helpful resources related to MAP grants:

  • MAP Estimator (located in the Toolbox area) – students planning to attend an Illinois college may use this tool to get an idea of their eligibility for the MAP grant, and
  • MAP Paid Credit Hours Display (located in the ISAC Programs area) – MAP grant recipients may use this option to track the number of MAP paid credit hours they have used to date.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Friday, July 3 – Independence Day
  • Monday, September 7, 2020 – Labor 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, the MAP system will be available during regularly scheduled hours and will reflect records processed by the Central Processing System (CPS) through the last business day immediately preceding each respective holiday. 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 MAP 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.


2019-20 ACADEMIC YEAR

Adjusting MAP Paid Credit Hours Due to COVID-19 Impact

Adjustments to MAP paid credit hours can now be made through the MAP system for students whose spring 2020 enrollment status was impacted by COVID-19. Details, including access to online resources, are provided in a June 17 e-Message.

Ongoing: Continue to Reconcile Data

In order to facilitate a smooth close-out to the 2019-20 processing cycle:

Ongoing: Continue to Submit Benefit Usage Data

In order to ensure that students' accounts reflect accurate data, colleges should continue to report 2019-20 ING Grant and IVG benefits used for all current and prior terms, including summer. Use the GAP Access portal to report enrollment hours and benefit dollar amounts for initial, in-district and out-of-district requests.

Please submit your benefits used data as soon as you are able to do so (and in accordance with the below-referenced close-out dates).

Close-out for ISAC Gift Assistance Programs

Continue to visit the Program News sections for individual gift assistance programs, and watch for future e-Messages, for status updates and operational details.


2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR

State Budget Approved

The Illinois General Assembly passed a fiscal year 2021 (FY21) state budget in late May, and Governor Prizker signed the bill into law earlier this month. In general, the FY21 budget provides ISAC-administered programs with FY20 level funding. Due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on state finances, it is important to note that future adjustments may be necessary for FY21 appropriations.

With the timely approval of the budget, ISAC FY21 program operations are expected to again experience a "business as usual" processing environment. As such, we will continue to provide partners with updates and operational details regarding each of our programs as we proceed through the year. Be sure to regularly visit the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area, where a "Program News" section for each program provides the most up-to-date information.

Students and borrowers seeking program information may be directed to the "Processing Updates" section of each program within the Grants, Scholarships, and Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs portions of the Students & Parents area.

MAP Recompute Formula Approved

At its June 18, 2020 meeting, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission approved continuing to use the FY21 MAP start-up formula, which had been approved last September, as the FY21 recompute formula. Additional details will be provided via an upcoming e-Message, and will soon be posted in the MAP section of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area.

Executive Briefing Conference Call – Tuesday, June 23

An Executive Briefing conference call is scheduled for Tuesday, June 23 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (CT) for institutional financial aid staff. Executive Director Eric Zarnikow and ISAC staff will provide information about activity that took place at the June 18 Commission meeting and other ISAC updates.

To participate in the call, dial in to 888.494.4032 (toll free) and enter access code 6242955288#.

Now Available: ING Grant Application and Eligibility Data

A May 18 e-Message announces that the interactive application for the 2020-21 ING Grant Program is now available for students to access via the Applications page of the Students & Parents area, and that 2020-21 ING Grant eligibility data is available in the ING Grant system.

Specific details regarding the ING Grant system, including important reminders and guidelines, are provided at the ING Grant Electronic Processing page.

Now Available: Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers Application

The application for the 2020-21 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire, and Correctional Officers is available for students to access via the Applications page of the Students & Parents area.

Continue Certifying Eligibility for MTI Scholarships Throughout the Year

Colleges are encouraged to continue certifying eligibility for 2020-21 MTI Scholars on a daily basis.

As a reminder, the Golden Apple Foundation certifies eligibility for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program. The college's role for the Golden Apple Scholars program starts with payment processing.

Further details are provided in an April 20 e-Message.

MTI Applications Still Being Accepted

Although the 2020-21 priority consideration application deadline for the MTI Scholarship Program was March 1, 2020, applications will continue to be accepted for as long as funding remains after all timely qualified applicants have been awarded.

FAFSA® Still Available

The 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is still 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, 2020 and June 30, 2021. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for several forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance, including MAP.

Details regarding the 2020-21 application cycle may be accessed via the Applying for Financial Aid section of the e-Library for Partners.

Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid

Undocumented and transgender students meeting the criteria of the RISE Act may file the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid – which is patterned after the FAFSA – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details, including access to the application, are provided at the RISE Act page and in a January 6 e-Message.

Remember that the online Alternative Application 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. Further details are provided in an April 16 e-Message.

ISAC creates Alternative Application Student Records for students who complete the 2020-21 Alternative Application. Access the School File Layout Specifications document – which includes Alternative Application Student Record field names, field lengths, and start and end positions for each data element – via the Electronic Tools page of the e-Library for Partners. Also available in the e-Library (in the Partner Training area) is the 2020-21 Operational Guide for Alternative Application Processing.

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.