JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

FAFSA Simplification Act Impact on ISAC's Programs Under Review


The first phase of the U. S. Department of Education's (ED's) FAFSA Simplification Act (passed on December 27, 2020) includes two changes to processes used to award student aid that will be implemented early, impacting the 2021-22 academic year. As copied from correspondence from ED, these changes are now in effect, as of June 17, 2021:

  • removal of negative consequences associated with an affirmative response on the drug conviction questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form; and
  • removal of the requirement that male students register with the Selective Service System to receive federal student aid.

With the determination of eligibility for ISAC's Monetary Award Program (MAP) relying on information from the FAFSA, questions have arisen about the impact these changes will have on MAP and other ISAC programs.

As is our practice, guidance for the administration of affected ISAC programs will be consistent with federal directives, which are outlined in a recent series of communications from ED; a list of relevant links is below. While we work to determine and formalize the necessary program operational updates, including amendments to our administrative rules, we encourage colleges to follow ED's guidance for reprocessing/repackaging 2021-22 awards for students whose eligibility may have changed as a result of removing the restrictions. Additionally, transgender students who previously completed ISAC's 2021-22 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (due to Selective Service issues) may now want to file a FAFSA to be considered for federal aid.

A reminder – the recently approved state budget provides additional funding for MAP, which means that ISAC will shortly be implementing the 2021-22 recompute formula. In light of that, colleges may want to consider temporarily delaying any repackaging activity in order to limit the number of times aid packages may need to be redone.

We will continue to keep you informed as operational details are finalized. Continue to monitor our established methods of communication – i.e., the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging service – for updates.

U.S. Department of Education Guidance:

June 11, 2021 Dear Colleague Letter, GEN 21-04
June 11, 2021 Electronic Announcement, General 21-39

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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 isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov.