JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Update

VOL. 38, NO. 4F
October 2020

Messages sent to:   Multiple Subscription Groups
Financial Aid Administrators
ISAC Update

Welcome to the October 2020 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 October.

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 ISAC Webinars
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 October 21, 2020.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will offer the following webinars for financial aid administrators during the fourth quarter of 2020:

  • October 28 at 2 p.m. – An Overview of ISAC's Teacher Programs
  • November 18 at 2 p.m. – ISAC Update and a Review of the Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers
  • December 23 at 2 p.m. – ISAC Update and An Overview of Illinois Loan Repayment/Forgiveness Programs

To participate in these webinars, 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 webinars, and any specific questions you would like a webinar to address may be submitted via e-mail to Tania.Mendoza@illinois.gov prior to the session.


2021-22 MAP Start-up Implementation
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on October 8, 2020.

2021-22 Monetary Award Program (MAP) data – reflecting the start-up formula that was approved at the September 17, 2020 Commission meeting – is now available to access via the MAP system. All 2021-22 Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) and Alternative Application Student Records received by ISAC through (including) Wednesday, October 7, 2020 are available with their accompanying eligibility status information. Daily processing of 2021-22 ISIR, Alternative Application, and eligibility status information has commenced.

Processing Details

  • Following the 2020-21 MAP recompute formula, the 2021-22 start-up formula uses 2009-10 tuition and fees and has no reduction factor; the maximum award is $5,340.
  • The MAP component of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal works best using Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher.
  • The GAP Access portal, including the MAP system, is available each day between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (CT).

More Information Available Online

Notification to Applicants

  • Colleges are required to announce MAP awards to eligible students enrolled at their institutions.
    • Refer to the MAP Award Announcements page for details regarding college requirements, as well as a sample of the required award notification language (as referenced above, under "More Information Available Online").
  • ISAC will mail letters only to students who are in a default status on an ISAC-guaranteed student loan.
    • A copy of the Default Resolution Options document, outlining how to regain federal and state student aid eligibility, is enclosed with each Default Status notification.
    • Notifications are dated and mailed after ISAC processes ISIRs and Alternative Application Student Records.

Reminders

  • Given the likelihood that 2021-22 MAP award announcements will need to be suspended at some point during the processing cycle, it is recommended that colleges remind students to submit the 2021-22 FAFSA or Alternative Application – which both became available October 1 – as soon as possible.
  • Encourage your students to visit the ISAC Student Portal to access these helpful resources:
    • 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,
    • MAP Paid Credit Hours Display (located in the Program Applications & Status Checks area) – MAP grant recipients may use this option to track the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours they have used to date, and
    • Student Resources Beyond Financial Aid (located in the Resources area) – students can find resources for food (including listings of Illinois food pantries on or near college campuses, as well as across the state), housing, medical care, child and dependent care assistance and consideration because of special circumstances.

2021-22 FAFSA®, Alternative Application, and Important Dates
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 October 7, 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)

2021-22 (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022) – New FAFSA® and Alternative Application Now Available!

COVID-19 RESOURCES AND UPDATES

Although we are working differently during this time, we want to remind students, families, our partners and other constituents 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

October 28: Webinar

Join ISAC at 2 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, for a webinar entitled "An Overview of ISAC's Teacher Programs and the Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers."

To participate, 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.

December 3: 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, December 3, 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 2021.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, October 12, 2020 – Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – Election Day
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2020 – Veterans Day
  • Thursday, November 26, 2020 – Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, November 27, 2020 – Day after Thanksgiving
  • Friday, December 25, 2020 – Christmas Day
  • Friday, January 1, 2021 – New Year's 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.

Click on the following link to access holiday processing schedules for MAP records.

MAP Records [System Availability (via GAP Access) and Payment Request Data]

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

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.

2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR

December 11: MAP First-Term Payment Request Deadline

In order to be considered timely, 2020-21 MAP payment requests (claims) for the first term must be submitted to ISAC no later than Friday, December 11, 2020. Further details are provided at the MAP Payment area, as well as in a September 9 e-Message.

Report Benefit Usage Data for ISAC-Administered Military Programs

As originally announced in an August 26 e-Message, ISAC continues to accept fall term benefit usage data for the 2020-21 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant and Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) programs.

Fall term deadline dates are as follows:

  • ING Grant: December 11, 2020
  • IVG: December 31, 2020
    • Note that, although IVG benefit usage data for the summer term was due on September 30, 2020, colleges that have not yet done so are encouraged to submit summer-term data as soon as possible.

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. Colleges 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.

Continue Submitting MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Payment Requests

As announced in a September 9 e-Message, colleges may access 2020-21 initial payment records via the MTI system and the Golden Apple system. MTI and Golden Apple results for payment requests received will be available via each program's online system (at GAP Access). After vouchers are generated, they are sent via e-mail to financial aid directors.

Although specific payment deadlines have not been established for these programs, colleges are always encouraged to submit payment requests as soon as they are able to do so. Timely submission of payment requests and cancellations/adjustments allows ISAC staff to monitor remaining funds and award other students, as applicable.

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.

By the End of October: Rosters Distributed for Payment Requests for Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire and Correctional Officers

Announcements of eligibility are being made to students as applications for the 2020-21 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire and Correctional Officers (PFC) are received and processed. Certification of Enrollment for Payment rosters will be generated, allowing colleges to certify eligibility and request payment, by the end of October 2020.

As updated information becomes available – including details regarding when the 2020-21 Certification of Enrollment for Payment rosters will be available – it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., PFC Program News, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging system).

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.

2021-22 ACADEMIC YEAR

2021-22 FAFSA and Alternative Application Now Available

The 2021-22 FAFSA cycle, including FAFSA on the Web, opened on October 1, 2020. CPS began processing 2021-22 FAFSA data on October 2. Details regarding the 2021-22 application cycle may be accessed via the Applying for Financial Aid section of the e-Library for Partners.

The 2021-22 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid is also available (in English and Spanish). As a reminder, undocumented students and transgender students meeting the criteria of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act may file the Alternative Application – which is patterned after the FAFSA – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's RISE Act page.

Encourage your students to check out the Financial Aid Planning area for information regarding resources that are available to help students complete the financial aid process.

Mid-October: Implementation of 2021-22 MAP Start-up

As announced in a September 18 e-Message, the 2021-22 MAP start-up formula was approved at the September 17, 2020 Commission meeting. It is anticipated that the 2021-22 MAP system will be available in mid-October.

As updated information becomes available, it will be shared with you via our established methods of communication (i.e., MAP Program News, the FAA Message Board and this e-Messaging system).

December 1: Priority Deadline Date for Returning MAP Recipients

Eligible applicants must have received MAP funds during the 2020-21 academic year and submit their 2021-22 FAFSA or Alternative Application on or before December 1, 2020 (which is the 2021-22 priority deadline date) in order to receive priority access to 2021-22 MAP funds.

Return to Top


FINANCIAL AID ADMINISTATORS


GAP Access and Student Portals Unavailable This Weekend
Sent on October 8, 2020.

Due to required maintenance, the Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access and ISAC Student Portals will be taken down beginning at 7 a.m., Saturday, October 10th. The outage is expected to last until approximately noon, Sunday, October 11th.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience while we implement system improvements.

Return to Top


ISAC UPDATE


September 2020 Electronic ISAC Update
Sent on October 1, 2020.

The September 2020 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 September 2020 ISAC Update include:

  • 2021-22 FAFSA® and Alternative Application
    (sent September 25, 2020)
  • 2021-22 MAP Start-up Formula Approved
    (sent September 18, 2020)
  • Virtual Commission Meeting Thursday, September 17 – Executive Briefing Friday, September 18
    (sent September 14, 2020)
  • 2020-21 MAP, MTI and Golden Apple Updates
    (sent September 9, 2020)
  • GAP Access and Student Portals Unavailable This Weekend
    (sent September 3, 2020)
  • Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC
    (sent September 2, 2020)
  • August 2020 Electronic ISAC Update
    (sent September 1, 2020)

Return to Top