JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Update

VOL. 38, NO. 12F
June 2021

Messages sent to:   Multiple Subscription Groups
ISAC Update

Welcome to the June 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 June.

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


FAFSA Simplification Act Impact on ISAC's Programs Under Review
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, and MAP Users on June 30, 2021.

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


ISAC Program FY22 Funding – Budget Bill Approved
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools - Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, and Business Officers on June 29, 2021.

Governor Pritzker recently signed SB 2800, the state's operating budget bill, which provides funding for Illinois programs and services, including ISAC's programs for the 2022 fiscal year (FY22). The budget was approved by the General Assembly during the legislative session that concluded over the Memorial Day weekend, and subsequently forwarded to the governor for signature.

The bill is now considered law and is officially Public Act 102-0017 (before considering printing, please note the document is over 3,000 pages). ISAC's programs and services received funding that is essentially level to FY21 amount, with the welcome exception of a more than $28 million increase in the appropriation for the Monetary Award Program (MAP). The FY22 appropriations for ISAC programs that will benefit Illinois students and their families are:

FY22 ISAC Program Appropriations

Monetary Award Program (MAP) – $479,566,200
Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire or Correctional Officers – $1,273,300
Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program – $6,498,000*
Golden Apple Accelerators Program – $750,000*
Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program – $1,900,000
Illinois Teachers Loan Repayment Program – $439,900
Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program – $264,000
Veterans' Home Medical Providers' Loan Repayment Program – $26,400
Grant Program for Exonerees – $150,000
AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program – $35,000,000**

* See below for information on additional federal funding for Golden Apple programs.
** AIM HIGH Program funds are disbursed in lump sums by ISAC to public universities.

As in recent years, the budget also includes a little more than $4.26 million for the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to reimburse Illinois community colleges for the costs associated with waiving tuition and fee charges for Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) and Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant recipients.

Other highlights of the budget include the allocation of funding to ISAC for:

  • Increased support (approximately $7 million in federal funds) for the Golden Apple Scholars and Golden Apple Accelerators programs for teachers in training. Although part of ISAC's budget, these funds are administered in partnership with the private Golden Apple Foundation.
  • A new scholarship program for people who work in early childhood education and are seeking additional credentials and degrees. This program is being implemented in partnership with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Department of Human Services (DHS), and other agencies. ($55 million in federal funds)
  • A new scholarship program for dependents of workers who lose income due to closures and curtailed operations at coal mines and coal-fired power plants. Details of this program are still being negotiated. ($1.1 million)

With the timely approval of the budget, ISAC FY22 program operations are expected to again experience a "business as usual" processing environment. As such, we will regularly provide updates and operational details regarding each of our programs as we proceed through the year.


Don't Miss Out on the 2021 CCE Conference
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 June 28, 2021.

2021 College Changes Everything® Conference
Why Delay? Register Today!

Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and
Belonging for the Success of All Learners

If you haven't already registered for the conference, register today. If you have registered, thank you, and we ask you to invite a colleague. The success of Illinois students requires partners across all sectors and stakeholders throughout the state coming together and examining how they can work together better in helping students achieve success and our state reach its Goal 2025. The 2021 College Changes Everything® (CCE) conference provides the occasion for you to hear from colleagues as they share their latest experiences, knowledge, and lessons learned to inform your own planning and efforts. The conference also gives you the chance to step back from your daily routine and engage with a diverse group of like-minded peers and provides you opportunities for professional and personal development.

Whova Network Tables – Meet Your Conference Colleagues

The conference is being hosted on the Whova event platform, and we'll be using Webex to deliver the livestream sessions. While nothing can replace meeting in-person, Whova provides several ways for conference participants to interact and engage with other attendees via community board topics and other interactive features such as the Network Table sessions. Every day from 12–12:30 p.m. (CT) on Monday through Thursday of the conference, attendees can join a virtual Network Table with a small group (up to 3) of other attendees on video chat, helping break the ice and begin connections that can carry on during and after the rest of the event. After 5 minutes at one table, participants are "shuffled" to join another table to meet different attendees. Network Tables automatically start at 12 noon (CT), and if you join late, that's okay as you will be included in the next round of shuffles after you join. Please note these sessions are limited to a total of 500 participants per session each day. Be sure to add Network Table sessions to your conference schedule. You can learn more about how to get the most out of Whova by downloading the Whova App and reviewing the Whova Attendee User Guide.

Register now so you don't miss out on this important college access and success and career readiness conference. More information about the conference is available on the conference website. We look forward to engaging with you online!

2021 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025


CCE


2021-22 MAP Recompute Formula Approved
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on June 22, 2021.

Summary of June 17 Commission Meeting

The following highlights some of the agenda items included at the June 17, 2021 meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), and any action taken. Details regarding several of the topics discussed at the meeting are provided in the June 17 Agenda Book, which can be accessed from the ISAC's Governing Board: The Commission section of the About ISAC area at isac.org.

FY22 (2021-22 Academic Year) MAP Recompute Formula Approved – Agenda Item 5

Each year, ISAC is responsible for adopting an allocation formula for the Monetary Award Program (MAP). At its September 17, 2020 meeting, the Commission approved a start-up formula to enable financial aid administrators to calculate eligibility for applicants planning to attend college in the 2021-22 academic year. Once the MAP appropriation is determined, the Commission approves a recompute formula based on the new information.

The fiscal year 2022 (FY22) state operating budget, which was approved in late May and signed into law by the governor late last week, includes a MAP appropriation of $479.6 million, which is $28.2 million more than had been appropriated for 2020-21 MAP awards. The intent of the additional funds is to enable MAP purchasing power to keep up with tuition and fee increases, with the remainder providing awards to an increased number of eligible applicants for whom award announcements would otherwise be suspended. Although the COVID-19 pandemic dampened FY21 and FY22 MAP application volume overall, the influx resulting from Public Act 101-108 – which, starting with the Class of 2021, requires that high school seniors either file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), file ISAC's Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, or sign a waiver – has bolstered FY22 volume.

As a result, ISAC staff recommended, and the Commission approved, a recompute formula that increases the maximum 2021-22 MAP award from $5,340 to $5,496 and also increases the living allowance from $4,875 to $5,020. Projections indicate these improvements will cost about $16 million, leaving approximately $12 million to provide awards for more eligible applicants. The higher living allowance combined with the additional awarding is anticipated to result in nearly 6,000 more MAP recipients.

The Commission also approved releasing some suspended awards if first-term claims are low, or reducing second- and third-term claim amounts in the unlikely event that – following receipt of first-term claims – it is determined necessary to do so in order to stay within the appropriation.

The approved recompute formula is outlined in Table 3 of Agenda Item 5, and the 2021-22 MAP Formula section of ISAC's website has been updated to reflect "recompute."

Continue to monitor our established methods of communication (i.e., MAP Program News, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging service) for operational updates throughout the year, including the timeframe in which the FY22 recompute formula will be reflected in the MAP system.

Other Items

The following items were also presented to the Commission:

  • State Legislative Update – Agenda Item 4
  • FY22 Budget Review and Approvals – Agenda Item 6
  • College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program Investments and Program Update – Agenda Item 7

Next Meeting

The next Commission meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 16, 2021.


Register Today – 2021 CCE Conference
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 June 21, 2021.

2021 College Changes Everything® Conference
Don't Wait – Register Today!

Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and
Belonging for the Success of All Learners

Don't delay – register today for the online 2021 College Changes Everything conference. Join your colleagues from across the state from July 12th through July 16th as they come together to share and learn how we can work together better in helping students achieve success and our state reach its Goal 2025. Each day of the conference offers a variety of sessions about student college access and success and career readiness. Interest sessions topics include: supporting students through food insecurity and housing instability; supporting Illinois' immigrant populations; reducing remediation and accelerating college success; leveraging community-based partnerships to support student success; addressing the state's teacher shortage; and much more. The full conference agenda is available on the conference website.

The conference is being hosted on the Whova event platform, and we'll be using Webex to deliver the livestream sessions. While nothing can replace meeting in-person, Whova provides several ways for conference participants to interact and engage with other attendees via community board topics, Network Tables sessions, and other interactive features. You can learn more about how to get the most out of Whova by downloading the Whova App reviewing their Whova Attendee User Guide.

Register now so you don't miss out on this important college access and success and career readiness conference. We look forward to engaging with you online!

Please share this e-Message with your colleagues so they can register, too. More information about the conference is available on the conference website.

2021 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025


CCE


Reminder: ISAC's Monthly Webinar
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 June 21, 2021.

This is a reminder that the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will offer the following webinar on Wednesday, June 30 at 2 p.m.ISAC Program Review Process and Common Findings. The webinar will begin with a brief operational update and a review of changes to ISAC's 2021-22 administrative rules that go into effect on July 1, 2021. Following the update, ISAC's Compliance staff will provide an overview of the steps in the program review process and answer questions from participants. If there are specific topics or questions you would like addressed during the webinar, you may send them in advance (no later than Monday, June 28) to Kimberly.Eck@illinois.gov.

To participate in this webinar, visit the Partner Training page in the e-Library at isac.org 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.


Virtual Commission Meeting Thursday, June 17 – Executive Briefing Monday, June 21
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on June 14, 2021.

The next regular meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will be conducted via videoconference and will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 17.

Some of the items on the tentative agenda for the meeting are:

  • 2021-22 Monetary Award Program (MAP) recompute formula
  • State legislative update
  • Fiscal year 2022 agency budgets
  • College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program investment and program updates

The Agenda Book, providing the complete listing of agenda items, is posted on the 2021 Agenda Books page. Instructions for connection to the meeting via WebEx, including the WebEx link, are available on the Commission Meeting Schedule page. Both pages are located within the ISAC's Governing Board: The Commission section of the About ISAC area of isac.org. The online Agenda Book will be updated within 1-2 days following the meeting to reflect action taken.

Virtual Executive Briefing – Monday, June 21

A virtual executive briefing, also via WebEx, is scheduled for Monday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for institutional financial aid staff. Executive Director Eric Zarnikow and ISAC staff will provide information about activity that took place at the Commission meeting and other ISAC updates.

On the day of the briefing, you can gain access through the below link/information, or by visiting the Partner Training page of the e-Library, where access will also be available.

For the audio portion, click on the Audio tab at the top of the page and select one of the available options:

  • For toll-free participation, select the "Call Me" option, enter your phone number, and you will be called. (This is the recommended option.)
  • For "Use computer audio" you will need to have a microphone to be able to interact with the briefing. Without a microphone, you will be in listen-only mode.
  • The "Call in" option is not a toll-free number, however, if you are not able to participate through the provided link and the "Call Me" option, but would like to participate only by phone, you can use this toll number: +1-415-655-0002 (USA Toll) and access code 806 754 783.

Register for the 2021 CCE Conference!
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 June 10, 2021.

CCE Conference Logo
Registration Now Open!

2021 College Changes Everything® Virtual Conference
July 12 – July 16, 2021

Register now to participate in the online 2021 College Changes Everything® conference – the state's premier college access and success event. The conference is free, but registration is required. This year's conference theme is: Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Success of All Learners. The conference also supports the state's Goal 2025 – to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois with high quality degrees and postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025.

Each day of the conference offers a variety of sessions about student college access and success and career readiness, including three plenary sessions:

  • Monday, July 12th – Conference Kick Off and State Agency Panel: Educating During the Pandemic
  • Tuesday, July 13th – Illinois Higher Education Strategic Plan: Next Steps
  • Wednesday, July 14th – Keynote Panel: Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for the Success of All Learners

We're excited to host the conference on the Whova event platform. While nothing can replace meeting in-person, Whova provides several ways for conference participants to interact and engage with other attendees via community board topics, Network Tables sessions, and other interactive features. You can learn more about how to get the most out of Whova by reviewing their Whova Attendee User Guide.

Who Should Attend

One of the key strengths of this conference is that it brings together a diverse audience of stakeholders from across the state to create a space of dialogue and sharing information, ideas, and best practices that promote access to postsecondary education, ensure degree or credential attainment, and provide career pathways. Attendees typically include, but are not limited to:

  • high school leaders, counselors, and case managers
  • college access practitioners
  • college and university leaders and administrators
  • leaders from state agencies, non-profits, foundations, and community-based organizations focused on educational opportunity and attainment and career pathways
  • business leaders
  • policymakers and elected officials interested in higher education and workforce development

Don't wait – register now! There is no registration fee.

Please share this e-Message with your colleagues so they can register, too. More information about the conference is available on the conference website.

We look forward to engaging with you online!

2021 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025


CCE


2020-21 MAP Late Claims
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on June 9, 2021.

The following information is being provided to assist colleges in the close-out process for the 2020-21 Monetary Award Program.

Late Claims Received by June 8 Being Released for Payment

All 2020-21 MAP late payment requests (claims) received on or before June 8, 2021 are being released for payment. Late claims – including both initial payment requests and increases to previously-submitted claims, for all terms – received at ISAC after the applicable priority claim deadline will be released for payment today, Wednesday, June 9. Results will be available in the MAP system tomorrow morning (Thursday, June 10). Information regarding how to access payment results is provided in the “Payment” chapter of the MAP User Guide.

Continue Submitting Claims and Reconciling Data

  • Continue to report adjustments for all terms – including initial claims, increases and decreases to previously-submitted claims, and cancellations.
    • You will be notified when initial claims and increases to previously-submitted claims are no longer being accepted.
    • Cancellations and decreases to previously-submitted claims will continue to be accepted until later in the summer. We will notify you when that date has been determined.
  • Colleges are encouraged to complete the process of reconciling 2020-21 MAP data.
    • As part of the payment offset process, timely processing of cancellations and decreases will affect your institution’s 2020-21 MAP “Due to ISAC” amount.
      • Only data reconciliation activities should take place at this time.
      • After ISAC determines that all payment processing is final, colleges with outstanding funds “Due to ISAC” will receive an e-mail notice indicating the total amount to be returned. Until then, no funds should be returned to ISAC.

Next Steps

It is likely that, after further assessment of claim rates and remaining appropriations, additional 2020-21 MAP late claims will be paid. Updated information will be shared with you via the MAP Program News page and the FAA Message Board.


MAP Advising Data Collection Opens – Due August 6
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on June 7, 2021.

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

Each year, institutions must submit to ISAC information about their Monetary Award Program (MAP) recipients. The 2021 collection period for MAP Advising data has opened and colleges may now submit the required information through the Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal. There have been no changes from past years to the submission process, through which the following will be reported:

  • available advising and support programs (for the 2020-21 academic year) and
  • course completion data (for the 2019-20 academic year).

The 2021 MAP Advising data is due by Friday, August 6, 2021.

Tips for Submitting MAP Advising Data

  • All MAP Advising reporting – advising and support programs and course completion rates – is done via a survey-style format through the GAP Access portal.
  • Pay special attention to on-screen instructions that identify the academic year about which the data must be provided.
  • Advising and support program description fields are pre-populated with previously submitted information, so only updates and any new programs need to be submitted.
  • The only recipient-specific data that needs to be submitted is the number of completed/attempted hours. We obtain graduation and retention rates from the National Student Clearinghouse.
  • Community colleges do not need to report course completion rates because we secure the data from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). The course completion rate tables appear in GAP Access for all school types, but need not be completed by community colleges.
  • Guidance to assist in reporting data is available in the MAP Advising Data Collection User Guide, accessible through the GAP Access page of the website.

MAP Advising Support Programs Search Tool

Information reported about colleges' available advising and support programs, including links for the college website pages where the individual advising/support programs appear, is available through the MAP Advising Support Programs Search Tool. The searchable/filterable database tool, accessible through the MAP Advising Data Collection area of ISAC's website, is updated annually and contains results from previous collections of advising and support programs being provided to MAP recipients. You may find this information useful in enhancing your advising and support programs. The data, along with completion, retention and graduation rate data, is used when communicating MAP's positive outcomes to the Illinois legislature.

Questions regarding the data elements and survey submission may be directed to the ISAC Research, Planning and Policy Analysis division at isac.rppasurveys@illinois.gov.

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ISAC UPDATE


May 2021 Electronic ISAC Update
Sent on June 1, 2021.

The May 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 May 2021 ISAC Update include:

  • Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC
    (sent May 20, 2021)
  • Update: 2021-22 ISAC Gift Assistance Programs
    (sent May 18, 2021)
  • 2021-22 Budget Data Due June 1
    (sent May 4, 2021)
  • April 2021 Electronic ISAC Update
    (sent May 3, 2021)

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