JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Update

VOL. 38, NO. 6F
December 2020

Messages sent to:   Multiple Subscription Groups
ISAC Update

Welcome to the December 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 December.

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


Limited Release of 2020-21 MAP Suspense
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on December 22, 2020.

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

The following information is being shared to assist colleges in the administration of the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

Award Announcements Released through July 31, 2020

Since the opening of 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid filing, ISAC staff has been monitoring and analyzing MAP application volume and projected claim rates. As a result of that analysis, the current 2020-21 MAP suspense date of July 1, 2020 was announced in the summer.

As outlined in a June 11, 2020 e-Message, the fiscal year 2021 (FY21) state operating budget that was signed into law in June includes a MAP appropriation of just over $451 million. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on both revenue and expenditures for the State of Illinois, however, future adjustments to FY21 appropriations are possible. Until such time as any necessary adjustments are announced, we are proceeding with "business as usual" operations.

With the 2020-21 MAP first-term priority claim deadline having passed on December 11, 2020, and current data analysis reflecting decreases in both application volume and projected claim rates (which may also be a result of the ongoing pandemic), ISAC is releasing from suspense status the 2020-21 MAP award announcements for students with initial Central Processing System (CPS) FAFSA receipt dates, or initial ISAC Alternative Application receipt dates, of July 1, 2020 through and including July 31, 2020. These released records may be viewed in the MAP system starting on Wednesday, December 23, 2020. Announcements of 2020-21 MAP grants remain in suspense status for all eligible students with initial FAFSA or Alternative Application receipt dates on or after August 1, 2020.

The 2020-21 MAP Applicant Award Announcement Status Chart has been updated to reflect the limited release of award announcements in suspense status.

Identifying Student Records – MAP Filter/Report

Colleges will want to identify student records included in the limited release of suspense, as well as those that will remain in suspense status, for a variety of reasons (i.e., file review and repackaging, etc.). The MAP Student List Eligibility: View screen contains filters that allow you to identify both those groups of student records.

To identify student records released from suspense, create a list using a date range. For example, you can create a report that identifies students by application receipt date (i.e., the initial FAFSA or Alternative Application receipt date) using the 2020-21 release from suspension dates (July 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020) to identify the records in that range.

The filter will also allow the user to create a report of those records that remain in suspense status.

Further details regarding identifying student records are provided at the Suspension of MAP Award Announcements page (located within the MAP section of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area), as well as in the "Student Eligibility" chapter of the MAP User Guide.


A Holiday Wish 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 December 11, 2020.

Season's Greetings

Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) staff wish our college partners a safe and peaceful holiday season.

As we approach the end of a year that has been challenging for all of us, and look forward to the start of another, we remain committed to serving you, your students, and all Illinois families by providing access to the information and financial assistance that can help students pursue their educational goals.

Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2021.

ISAC's Holiday Schedule

In observance of the holidays, ISAC staff will be unavailable as indicated below:

Christmas

  • After 2 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, December 24, 2020
  • Friday, December 25, 2020

New Year's

  • After 2 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, December 31, 2020
  • Friday, January 1, 2021

Staff will again be available on the first business day immediately following each holiday.

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 announced as unavailable (such as the above dates), staff will review and respond to messages during regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT.

Processing Schedules

Click on the following link to access holiday processing schedules for Monetary Award Program (MAP) records.

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


Financial Aid 101 Workshops in December
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 December 4, 2020.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) Program Services & Compliance Division is pleased to announce ISAC's upcoming Financial Aid 101 webinar series for new financial aid administrators. The content for the workshops has been transitioned into a series of virtual training sessions that will be offered via Webex in December.

A list of the dates and times for the December Financial Aid 101 sessions is provided below. To allow time for discussion during the sessions, registration will be limited. We will repeat sessions in the future, as needed.

To register for a specific session, click on its corresponding "Register Now" button and then complete the online registration form.

Financial Aid 101 Sessions

SessionDescriptionDateTime*Register
Introduction to Financial Aid and a Review of the FAFSA® Process This session is designed to introduce financial aid professionals to types and sources of financial aid, the guiding principles and processes, and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Monday,
December 14, 2020
2-3 p.m. Register Now
ISAC's Scholarship and Grant Programs and the Application Process This session will give participants an in-depth overview of ISAC's programs and the application process for each one. Tuesday,
December 15, 2020
10-11 a.m. Register Now
Need Analysis This session will introduce participants to the general concepts of need analysis and the formulas used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Tuesday,
December 15, 2020
2-3 p.m. Register Now
An Overview of the Monetary Award Program (MAP) This session will provide an overview of MAP, which is administered by ISAC. Attendees will learn about the eligibility criteria, payment processing and reports on GAP Access. Wednesday,
December 16, 2020
10-11 a.m. Register Now
GAP Access Programs, Processes and Functionalities and FTP Processing ISAC's Gift Assistance Programs Access (or GAP Access) is the portal through which online interactions are conducted for the purpose of data inquiries and submissions, eligibility announcements and payment requests for ISAC-administered programs. This session will provide an overview of the processes and functionalities of GAP Access and provide an overview of the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) process. Wednesday,
December 16, 2020
2-3 p.m. Register Now
Overview of ISAC Resources This session will give participants an in-depth overview of the resources offered through ISAC. It will explore the host of tools available on ISAC's website (isac.org). Thursday,
December 17, 2020
10-11 a.m. Register Now

* All times Central


Submit 2020-21 Fall-Term Claims and Benefit Usage Data
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools – Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, and Business Officers on December 3, 2020.

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

Colleges are reminded to submit 2020-21 fall-term payment requests (i.e., claims) and benefit usage data for the following programs as soon as possible, and no later than the applicable deadline dates listed below.

MAP Claims

In order to be considered timely, 2020-21 MAP fall-term claims must be submitted – either via the MAP system or by File Transfer Protocol (FTP)on or before Friday, December 11, 2020.

Processing Reminders

Online Resources

More information, including detailed instructions, is available at the following locations:

ING Grant and IVG Benefit Usage Data

In order to be considered timely:

  • 2020-21 ING Grant fall-term benefit usage data must be submitted on or before Friday, December 11, 2020; and,

  • 2020-21 IVG fall-term benefit usage data must be submitted on or before Thursday, December 31, 2020.
    • Although 2020-21 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.

Processing Reminders

  • 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.
  • 160-byte file layout specifications for the 2020-21 ING Grant and IVG programs, describing the file layout to be used to send data for each program via FTP, are available within the Electronic Tools section of the e-Library for Partners.
  • Colleges are encouraged to regularly check their Benefits Results report for each program. Further details are provided in the ING Grant and IVG user guides.

Online Resources

More information, including detailed instructions, is available at the following locations:

MTI and Golden Apple Claims

Although specific 2020-21 priority claim deadlines have not been established for the MTI Scholarship or Golden Apple programs, colleges are encouraged to submit fall-term claims 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.

Processing Reminders:

  • Initial payment request records are available online via the MTI and Golden Apple systems.
  • Because the Golden Apple Foundation completes certification for Golden Apple recipients, any adjustment to a student's academic level during the award year that would impact an award amount must be reported to the Foundation so that the student's certification record can be updated. Once the certification record is updated, the college will be able to submit a payment request for the updated award amount. The contact person at the Foundation is Cheryl Flores (flores@goldenapple.org).
  • MTI and Golden Apple results for payment requests received are available via each program's online system at GAP Access. After vouchers are generated, they are sent via e-mail to financial aid directors.

Online Resources

More information, including detailed instructions, is available at the following locations:

GAP Access Reminders

  • Please verify that, for each impacted staff member, the GAP Access Administrator at your college has established the appropriate system access level for all applicable gift assistance programs. Instructions for establishing access to the appropriate system(s) may be found on the GAP Access page.
  • A valid GAP Access user ID and password are required in order to submit files via ISAC's Secure File Transfer System (located at https://transfer.isac.org/). As a result, encryption (password protection) of files is not necessary.
  • Functionality to submit claims and benefit usage data, via systems within the GAP Access portal, is available each day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (CT).
    • Requests and data submitted by 7 p.m. (CT) will be included in that night's processing, with results available the next business day.
    • Results for requests and data submitted after 7 p.m. (CT) will be included in the following night's processing.
  • The disbursement of funds is processed by the State of Illinois Comptroller's Office. Refer to the State Comptroller's Website page, located within the Processes section of the Financial Aid Administrators area, for information on how to track payment.
  • Because Payment Offset and Reconciliation procedures apply to the MAP, MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple programs, refund checks should not be sent for cancellations/adjustments made throughout the award year. Funds should only be returned to ISAC after a final reconciliation has been completed at the end of the regular school year.

Watch for Future Updates

Future program updates – including details regarding availability and deadline dates for the submission of spring-term claims and data – will be announced via ISAC's usual means of communication (e.g., the FAA Message Board, this e-Messaging system, and/or the MAP, ING Grant, IVG, MTI and Golden Apple "Program News" pages).

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ISAC UPDATE


November 2020 Electronic ISAC Update
Sent on December 1, 2020.

The November 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 November 2020 ISAC Update include:

  • Virtual Commission Meeting Thursday, December 3 – No Executive Briefing
    (sent November 30, 2020)
  • Teacher Program Enrollment Verification Update
    (sent November 19, 2020)
  • October 2020 Electronic ISAC Update
    (sent November 2, 2020)

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