JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Update

VOL. 38, NO. 11F
May 2021

Messages sent to:   Multiple Subscription Groups
ISAC Update

Welcome to the May 2021 ISAC Update for financial aid administrators and business officers. This version of the electronic ISAC Update is a compilation of e-Messages sent through ISAC's e-Messaging service throughout May.

The articles in this Update have been organized according to the FAA subscription groups to which the messages were distributed.

Questions?

Questions regarding information in this ISAC Update can be directed to School Services at 866.247.2172 or at isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov. On occasion, you may be directed to a specific contact person or area; when this occurs, we will provide the appropriate information in the individual article or message.


MULTIPLE SUBSCRIPTION GROUPS


Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools - Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, Business Officers, and FFELP Administrators on May 20, 2021.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) 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:

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)

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

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

GENERAL INFORMATION

Upcoming Webinars

ISAC staff will offer the following webinars throughout the second quarter of 2021:

  • May 26 at 2 p.m. (CT) – A Review of ISAC's Teacher Programs and an Operational Update
  • June 30 at 2 p.m. (CT) – ISAC Program Review Process and Common Findings

Further details, including instructions for participating in the webinars, are provided in an April 22 e-Message.

June 17: Next Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Further details, including a listing of tentative agenda items, 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 2021.

Week of July 12: 2021 College Changes Everything® Online Conference

Mark your calendar for the annual College Changes Everything® conference – Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Success of All Learners – which will be a virtual event with online sessions throughout the week of July 12, 2021. Visit the College Changes Everything conference website, and watch for future e-Messages, for the latest updates.

Student Job Board Provides Leads for Summer Employment/Internships

Financial aid staff members are urged to promote the Student Job Board, which may be accessed via the Toolbox area of the ISAC Student Portal, to their students who may be seeking summer employment or internships. A variety of job types from all areas of the state are listed and are updated on a regular basis.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Available for Eligible Households

The Emergency Broadband Benefit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helps eligible households afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting them to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and more. Further details, including eligibility requirements and instructions for requesting the benefit, are provided at the Emergency Broadcast Benefit page of the FCC website.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day
  • Monday, July 5 – Independence 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.

2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR

May 28: IVG Spring Term Benefits Used Data Due

The spring-term deadline for submission of benefit usage data for the 2020-21 Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program is Friday, May 28, 2021.

Colleges should continue to report benefits used for all current and prior terms (including the summer, fall and spring terms). Although ISAC is not able to reimburse institutions for 2020-21 IVG awards, reporting of benefits used must still take place so that usage can be accurately reflected on students' accounts.

Note that summer-term benefit usage data for the 2020-21 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program is due on the final close-out date of July 1, 2021.

Further details are provided in a March 29 e-Message.

June 15: ING Grant Summer Term Application Deadline

June 15, 2021 is the final date of acceptance for summer term applications for the 2020-21 ING Grant Program. Students may access the application via the Interactive Application (Apply Online) section of the Applications page, which is located within the Students & ParentsDuring CollegeApplying for Financial Aid area and may also be obtained via the "Applications" link that appears at the bottom of all pages on the ISAC website.

June 15: PFC Summer Term Application Deadline

June 15, 2021 is the final date of acceptance for summer term applications for the 2020-21 Grant Program for Dependents of Police, Fire, and Correctional Officers (PFC). Students may access the application via the Applications page, which is located within the Students & ParentsDuring CollegeApplying for Financial Aid area and may also be obtained via the "Applications" link that appears at the bottom of all pages on the ISAC website.

Continue Submiting Certifications and/or Claims for MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Programs

Payment requests (claims) for the 2020-21 Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois programs continue to be accepted. Although specific priority claim deadlines have not been announced for these programs, colleges are encouraged to submit first- and second-term claims as soon as they are able to do so.

Submitting claims via the MTI and Golden Apple systems is a two-step process that involves first generating the request (either individually or in a batch) and then submitting the request. Further details are available in the MTI and Golden Apple user guides.

In addition, colleges are encouraged to continue certifying eligibility for 2020-21 MTI Scholars. Remember that the Golden Apple Foundation, rather than colleges, certifies eligibility for Golden Apple Scholars (colleges can see whether a student has been certified by viewing the "Student List Eligibility: View" screen within the Golden Apple system).

The timely submission of certifications, initial claims, and cancellations/adjustments for previously-submitted data allows ISAC staff to monitor remaining MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple funds and award other students, as applicable.

See the March 29 e-Message for additional details.

July 1: Gift Assistance Programs Final Close-out Date

All submissions of 2020-21 payment requests, including initial claims and supplemental claims, for ISAC-administered gift assistance programs must be received on or before July 1, 2021. Adjustments to cancel or reduce awards will be accepted after this date for MAP and the MTI Scholarship, Golden Apple, ING Grant and IVG programs.

Colleges are also encouraged to continue the process of reconciling 2020-21 MAP, MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple data, which assists ISAC staff in determining whether sufficient funds will be available to pay late claims. Remember, due to the payment offset process, only data reconciliation activities should take place at this time. After ISAC determines that all payment processing is final, colleges with an outstanding amount owed to ISAC will receive an e-mail notice indicating the total amount to be returned. Until then, no funds should be returned to ISAC.

Specific details regarding close-out of 2020-21 ISAC-administered gift assistance programs will be provided via a separate e-Message as we move closer to July 1. In the meantime, continue to visit the Program News sections for individual gift assistance programs for status updates and operational details.

2021-22 ACADEMIC YEAR

Now Available: ING Grant Application and Eligibility Data

A May 18 e-Message announces that the interactive application for the 2021-22 ING Grant Program is now available for students to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal, and that 2021-22 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.

By End of May: PFC Applications Available

We anticipate that the application for the 2021-22 PFC programs will be available for students to access via the Applications page of the Students & Parents area by the end of May.

June 1: Gift Assistance Budget Data Due

A May 4 e-Message notifies colleges participating in MAP and the IVG and ING Grant programs that required budget data for the 2021-22 processing cycle must be submitted by June 1, 2021. Specific instructions are provided at the Gift Assistance Budget Instructions page, and via the Budget Reporting Process User Guide.

Early June: MAP Advising Data Collection

The collection of 2021-22 information regarding MAP advising/support programs and completion rate data will take place beginning in early June. Watch for specific details to be shared via ISAC's standard communication methods (i.e., the FAA Message Board, the MAP Program News area, and ISAC's e-Messaging service).

FAFSA® Still Available

The 2021-22 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, 2021 and June 30, 2022. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for several forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance, including the Illinois MAP grant.

Details regarding the 2021-22 application cycle may be accessed by counselors and other professionals via the Applying for Financial Aid section of the e-Library for Partners.

Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid Available

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 and available in English and Spanish – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's RISE Act page.

Continue Certifying Eligibility for MTI Scholarships Throughout the Year

Colleges are encouraged to continue certifying eligibility for 2021-22 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 a May 18 e-Message.

MTI Scholarship Applications Still Being Accepted

The 2021-22 MTI Scholarship Program application continues to be accepted, even though the March 1, 2021 priority consideration date has passed. Complete applications received after that date will be considered for the MTI Program only if funding remains after all applicants whose applications were timely and complete have been awarded. All minority students who meet the program's eligibility requirements should be encouraged to complete and submit the application as soon as possible.


Update: 2021-22 ISAC Gift Assistance Programs
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, and Public Schools – Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs on May 18, 2021.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance (ISAC) website (isac.org).

The following provides important updates regarding ISAC-administered gift assistance programs.

MTI Scholarship Certification

Effective today (Tuesday, May 18, 2021), colleges may certify eligibility for the 2021-22 Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program using the MTI system.

Reminders

  • Colleges are encouraged to continue certifying eligibility for MTI Scholars on a daily basis throughout the year, to ensure that your students will be included in any rounds of awarding that take place.
    • Separate notification will not be sent when new records are made available in the MTI system.
    • The schedule for awarding 2021-22 MTI Scholars will be dependent upon the status of the fiscal year 2022 state budget.
  • All certification records available in the MTI system must be completed, regardless of whether the college certifies a student as eligible or ineligible and regardless of whether the student is currently enrolled.
    • The only way applicants will receive notification from ISAC regarding their eligibility status is if their colleges have submitted the certification data via the MTI system.
  • Specific details regarding the MTI system, including instructions for certifying eligibility and how to access reports, are provided via the MTI Electronic Processing page.
  • The MTI system is available each day from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (CT).

ING Grant Application and Eligibility Data

Interactive Application Available at Student Portal

ING Grant Eligibility Data Available

2021-22 ING Grant eligibility data is now available via the ING Grant system.

  • The ING Grant eligibility data includes information for each applicant who has applied for the ING Grant with your institution listed as the college of record, and for whom the Department of Military Affairs in Illinois (DMAIL) has confirmed eligibility as of the "Certified Eligible" date.
  • Specific details regarding the ING Grant system, including important reminders and guidelines, are provided at the ING Grant Electronic Processing page.
  • The ING Grant system is available each day from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (CT).

Reminder: Continue to Submit 2020-21 Benefit Usage Data

In order to ensure that students' accounts reflect accurate data, colleges should report 2020-21 ING Grant and Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) benefits used for all current and prior terms, including summer, as soon as possible. As indicated in a March 29 e-Message:

  • spring-term benefit usage data for the 2020-21 IVG Program is due on or before Friday, May 28, 2021; and,
  • summer-term benefit usage data for the 2020-21 ING Grant Program is due no later than the July 1, 2021 final close-out date.

Use the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs Access (GAP Access) portal to report enrollment hours and benefit dollar amounts for initial, in-district and out-of-district requests.

Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire, and Correctional Officers Application

The application for the 2021-22 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire, and Correctional Officers (PFC) is anticipated to be available for students to access via the Applications page of the Students & Parents area on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Future Updates

Watch for future updates regarding 2021-22 gift assistance programs via our usual methods of communication (including the "Program News" pages within the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area, the FAA Message Board, and this e-Messaging service).


2021-22 Budget Data Due June 1
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools - Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, and MAP Users on May 4, 2021.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).

The annual reporting of postsecondary institutions' budget information to ISAC is underway. This message provides details regarding the manner in which colleges participating in the Monetary Award Program (MAP) and the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) and Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant programs will submit required budget data for the 2021-22 processing cycle.

The requested budget information follows the same format that was used to report 2020-21 academic year data, and there have been no changes to the system or procedures.

2021-22 Budget Data Due June 1, 2021

Colleges will submit their 2021-22 budget data online via the "School: Budget" area of the GAP Access portal, which follows the same format that was used to report 2020-21 academic year data.

If a school's annual budget is not final by June 1, the budget data is to be submitted with estimated figures, followed by an e-mail from the financial aid director to ISAC's School Services Department that provides the approximate date by which the final budget will be submitted (must be on or before August 1, 2021).

General Institutional Information

Valid responses must be provided for Questions 1 and 2 of the "General Institutional Information" section. If you do not have a valid Program Participation Agreement (PPA), blank is a valid response. If Question 1 is checked, and/or a date is reported for Question 2, responses to all three questions are required before the budget can be certified. For Question 3, one of the buttons ("Yes" or "No") must be selected before the budget can be certified.

  1. Please check this box to confirm that this institution has a valid PPA with the U.S. Department of Education (ED). [Checkbox will appear here]
  2. This ED PPA expires: [mm/dd/yyyy field will appear here]
  3. Has your institution undergone a name or ownership change in the last 12 months? [Yes/No radio buttons will appear here]

Operational Details

  • Step-by-step instructions for accessing and navigating the GAP Access "School: Budget" screens are provided on the Gift Assistance Budget Instructions page (and may also be viewed in a separate browser window via a link in the top right corner of the "School: Budget" screens).
  • After logging in to GAP Access, only those staff members who have been granted appropriate privileges will be able to access the "Budget" option from within the "School" area of the system.
  • After the budget information for all approved codes and all approved programs has been entered, saved and confirmed and the institution's required tuition refund policy document has been uploaded and saved, the financial aid director will need to submit the data by selecting the "Certify" button.
  • Budget data must be reported for each approved program (MAP, IVG and/or ING Grant), and each approved school code within a program, before it is certified.
  • If you have questions concerning the online process of submitting budget data to ISAC, please contact a School Services Representative at 866.247.2172 or isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov.

Do You Want to Change How Your MAP Awards are Calculated?

Schools have a choice in how MAP term awards are calculated. Awards may be split evenly between terms or be split by whole dollar amounts. For example, if a semester school has elected to use the "cents" option, an annual award of $4521.00 is split evenly between terms as an award of $2260.50. If the school chooses to use the "no cents" option, the annual award of $4521.00 would be $2260.00 for the first term and $2261.00 for the second term. A definition of the "cents" or "no cents" option for quarter schools can be found at the above link.

The majority of schools calculate term awards by the "cents" option, but if you're interested in switching to the "no cents" option (or vice versa), simply send an e-mail message to isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov prior to June 1, 2021.

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ISAC UPDATE


April 2021 Electronic ISAC Update
Sent on May 3, 2021.

The April 2021 edition of the ISAC Update is now available for your review, and may be accessed via the Partner e-Messages & Newsletters section of the e-Library for Partners at isac.org. This version of the electronic ISAC Update is a compilation of e-Messages sent to financial aid administrators and business officers via ISAC's e-Messaging service over the past month.

Topics covered in the April 2021 ISAC Update include:

  • Reminder: Submit All 2020-21 MAP Claims No Later than May 7
    (sent April 28, 2021)
  • Upcoming ISAC Webinars
    (sent April 22, 2021)
  • Virtual Commission Meeting Thursday, April 15 – Executive Briefing Tuesday, April 20
    (sent April 13, 2021)
  • March 2021 Electronic ISAC Update
    (sent April 1, 2021)

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