JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC


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)

2021-22 July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022)


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.


September 17: Next Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place as a WebEx virtual event, starting at at 1 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, September 17, 2020. Further details, including a listing of tentative agenda items and participation instructions, 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 2020.

September 17: Constitution Day

Find resources to help develop programs for the annual observance of Constitution Day, including access to the Constitution Day Resources page for students, via the Constitution and Citizenship Day document that is located in the Job Aids & Reference Materials area of the e-Library for Partners. Required of institutions receiving federal funding, educational programs about the U.S. Constitution are to be held on or around September 17 every year.

Through October: Upcoming Webinars

ISAC will offer the following webinars during the upcoming months:

  • September 23 at 2 p.m. – An Overview of the 2021-22 FAFSA and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid
  • September 30 at 2 p.m. – An Overview of the 2021-22 FAFSA and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (repeat of September 23 webinar)
  • October 28 at 2 p.m. – An Overview of ISAC's Teacher Programs and the Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers

To participate in a webinar, visit the Partner Training page in the e-Library for Partners for the webinar link and to access the presentation materials, both of which will be posted on the day of the session. Registration is not required.

Be sure to regularly visit the Partners' Training Calendar to keep up-to-date regarding upcoming training opportunities.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, September 7, 2020 – Labor Day
  • Monday, October 12, 2020 – Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – Election Day
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2020 – Veterans 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 Monetary Award Program (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.


September 30: MAP Outstanding Balances Due

Notifications detailing 2019-20 MAP "Due to ISAC" amounts were sent to financial aid directors via e-mail on August 18, 2020. Please review the information and return the appropriate amount to ISAC as soon as possible – and no later than Wednesday, September 30, 2020 – using the Gift Assistance Programs Refund Check Form (which is available within the Refunds and Unpaid Claims portion of the Financial Aid Administrators – Processes area). Be sure to provide all information requested on the form, including the term(s) for which funds are being returned.

Later This Year: Enrollment Verification Data for ISAC-Administered Teacher Education Programs Transitioning to GAP Access

The process of reporting enrollment verification data, for students who previously received funds from the below ISAC-administered teacher education programs, will be transitioning from My Zone to the GAP Access portal later this year.

Watch for more details in a future e-Message.


ISAC Administrative Rules Available

ISAC Administrative Rules, which were adopted for the 2020-21 academic year, are available within the e-Library for Partners and may be viewed in two formats: "Listed Alphabetically" and "Listed by Program Type/Topic."

2020-21 FAFSA® and Alternative Application Remain Available

Although ISAC suspended the announcement of 2020-21 MAP grants [for all students whose initial 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is received by the federal processor, or whose initial Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid is received by ISAC, on or after July 1, 2020], these 2020-21 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, 2020 and June 30, 2021. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2020-21 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.

Grant Program for Exonerees Application Available

Applications for the 2020-21 Grant Program for Exonerees are now being accepted. Applications for this program are processed in date-received (i.e., "first come, first served") order.

Program funds are limited and are available to students who received a pardon from the Governor of the State of Illinois that was issued on the grounds of innocence of the crime for which they had been imprisoned, or who received a certificate of innocence from a circuit court. Students who meet this criteria and all other eligibility requirements for the program may complete and submit the application as soon as possible.

Later This Fall: Golden Apple and MTI Payment Processing

As announced in an August 20 e-Message, colleges may view a listing of their institution's potential 2020-21 Golden Apple Scholars, as reported by the Golden Apple Foundation, via the "Student List Eligibility: View" screen within the Golden Apple system. In addition, awarding for the 2020-21 MTI Scholarship Program has taken place for timely (new and renewal) applicants who have been certified as eligible.

Future updates – including details regarding 2020-21 payment processing (anticipated to be implemented later this fall) for each program, and additional MTI Scholarship awarding (if applicable) – will be shared via the usual means of communication (i.e., the FAA Message Board, the "Program News" sections for the Golden Apple and MTI programs, and/or ISAC's e-Messaging system).

Continue Certifying MTI Eligibility

Continue using the MTI system to certify eligibility throughout the year, in order to ensure that your students will be included in any rounds of awarding that take place. Details regarding the certification process 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.

October 1: ING Grant Applications for Full-Year/Fall Term Due

The interactive application for the 2020-21 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program remains available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks portion of the ISAC Student Portal. Students should use the 2020-21 application to apply for the fall 2020, spring 2021 and summer 2021 terms. The application priority consideration date for full-year and fall-only awards is October 1, 2020. Applications received after October 1 will be considered only for second semester (second/third quarter) and/or the summer term.

October 1: Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire or Correctional Officers Applications for Full-Year/Fall Term Due

The application for the 2020-21 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire or Correctional Officers remains available to download and print. Students should use the 2020-21 application to apply for the fall 2020, spring 2021 and summer 2021 terms. The application priority consideration date for full-year and fall-only awards is October 1, 2020. Applications received after October 1 will be considered only for second semester (second/third quarter) and/or the summer term.

Report Benefit Usage Data for ISAC-Administered Military Programs

An August 26 e-Message announced that ISAC is accepting benefit usage data for the 2020-21 Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) summer and fall terms, and for the 2020-21 ING Grant fall term.

Deadline dates are as follows:

  • IVG data
    • for the summer term is due September 30, 2020; and,
    • for the fall term is due December 31, 2020.
  • ING Grant data for the fall term is due December 11, 2020.

Benefit usage data for the ING Grant and IVG programs is submitted to ISAC by colleges via the benefit usage functionality within each program's system, allowing colleges to report enrollment hours and dollar amounts for initial, in-district and out-of-district benefit usage by students, as well as adjustments to previously-submitted data. Although ISAC is not able to reimburse institutions for 2020-21 ING Grant or IVG awards, reporting of benefits used must still take place so that usage can be accurately reflected on students' accounts.


Encourage Returning Students to Start Planning Now for 2021-22 Academic Year

FAFSA Available on October 1 – Make Sure FSA ID is Ready

This is the time for returning college students (and, for dependent students, their parents) who have not already done so to create an FSA ID, to be used in October when completing the FAFSA. As you know, FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for MAP, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. Encourage students to submit the 2021-22 FAFSA, which will require 2019 income information, as soon after October 1, 2020 as possible.

Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid

Undocumented students and transgender students meeting the criteria of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (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 2021-22 application (anticipated to be available on October 1, 2020), are provided at the RISE Act page.

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.