JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC Update

VOL. 38, NO. 9F
March 2021

Messages sent to:   Multiple Subscription Groups
ISAC Update

Welcome to the March 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 March.

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


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.


2020-21 Claims and Benefit Usage Reminder
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools – Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, and Business Officers on March 29, 2021.

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

The ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal – which includes the electronic processing systems for the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship, Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois, Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant and Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) programs – remains available for submission of the records discussed below.

Reminder: Submit 2020-21 Claims/Benefit Usage Data

Continue to submit the following 2020-21 data as soon as possible (your timely response is appreciated):

  • spring-term certifications and payment requests (claims) for the MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple programs;
  • spring-term benefit usage data for the ING Grant and IVG programs; and,
  • summer-term benefit usage data for the ING Grant Program (this functionality will be available for colleges starting on Friday, April 2, 2021).

MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple

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.

  • Continue certifying eligibility for 2020-21 MTI Scholars.
  • The Golden Apple Foundation will soon begin certifying 3rd quarter eligibility for Golden Apple Scholars. Once the certification record has been updated, the college will be able to submit payment for the scholars. The contact person at the Foundation is Cheryl Flores (flores@goldenapple.org).
  • As a reminder, the payment request process is not complete until the step of submitting the payment requests to ISAC has been completed. Always print/save the copy of the Payment Results Summary and Invoice Detail Report which is generated by ISAC for every payment request that has been processed. It will include a Payment Results Report and a Payment Exceptions Report.
  • Because Payment Offset and Reconciliation procedures apply to the 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.
  • More information regarding online certification (for the MTI Scholarship Program) and payment functionality (for both programs), including detailed instructions, is available at the following locations on ISAC's website:

ING Grant and IVG

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.

  • Deadline dates are as follows:
    • ING Grant benefit usage data must be submitted
      • on or before Friday, April 9, 2021 for the spring term; and,
      • on or before Thursday, July 1, 2021 for the summer term (functionality to submit summer-term benefit usage data will open on April 2).
    • IVG spring-term benefit usage data must be submitted on or before Friday, May 28, 2021.
      • As a reminder, the summer term leads the academic year for the IVG Program.
  • More information, including detailed instructions, is available at the following locations:

Watch for Future Updates

Future program updates will be shared with colleges via ISAC's standard methods of communication, including: the MTI Scholarship, Golden Apple, ING Grant and IVG "Program News" areas; the FAA Message Board; and, this e-Messaging service.

2021-22 Alternative Application Correction Process Available in GAP Access for FAAs
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, and MAP Users on March 23, 2021.

ISAC has implemented a process in the MAP system of the GAP Access portal to provide colleges with the ability to make corrections and submit professional judgment adjustments for students who have filed a 2021-22 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application). This process is not available for 2020-21 Alternative Application records.

"Professional Judgment" and "Application Correction" tabs were added to the Student Detail: Eligibility screen in the MAP system, where colleges may access a student's application record and make corrections or adjustments to previously-submitted data. By selecting either of these tabs, most of the information on the application can be updated, with the exception of these data elements: ISAC ID Number, student e-mail address, parent e-mail address, and school choices/codes.

During the update process, messaging will appear if data is removed from a required data field, and the user will not be able to proceed to the next page until required information is entered. Once all changes are entered, the "Submit" button must be selected to complete the update process. If updated data is not submitted at the time of entry, all changes will be lost; they cannot be saved to be submitted at a later time. Updates are processed nightly and results are available the following business day.

Students are still able to make corrections to their Alternative Application as well, however, ISAC will only process one correction/update in a business day, so both the college and the student cannot make corrections or updates on the same day. Each time a correction or update is made to an Alternative Application record, a new transaction will be generated and all colleges listed on the student's application will be able to view the new transaction. Students will be notified by ISAC via e-mail whenever an update is made to their application. For transactions that are generated as the result of a professional judgment adjustment, an indicator will be provided on the Student Detail screen.

Colleges will follow their usual policies and procedures for determining if a professional judgment determination is appropriate for a student. Information regarding the justification for a dependency override or EFC adjustment and supporting documentation must be retained in the student's file, and is not to be submitted to ISAC.

Online Resources

ISAC Sessions During 2021 ILASFAA Virtual 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 March 18, 2021.

The 52nd Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (ILASFAA) annual conference – Waves of Change, Horizons of Opportunity – will be an all-virtual event, with sessions offered from March 23 through April 8, 2021.

Please plan to join us for one of the following sessions during which Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) staff members will be presenting and/or participating.


  • What's on the Horizon: An ISAC State Update
    Tuesday, March 30
    1 – 2:15 p.m.

    ISAC executive staff members will provide an update on higher education initiatives in Illinois, as well as a legislative and operational update.

    ISAC Presenters: Eric Zarnikow (Executive Director), Carol Cook (Managing Director, Program Services & Compliance), and Katharine Gricevich (Director of Government Relations)

  • Providing Student Opportunities Through the RISE Act
    Tuesday, March 30
    2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

    This session will begin with an overview of the Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act and the application process for ISAC programs for students who qualify, and will conclude with a more in-depth review of the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid process from both the student and financial aid administrator perspectives.

    ISAC Presenter: Kim Eck (Manager, Partner Services)

Virtual Panel Discussions

  • Expanding Illinois Horizons Through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Tuesday, March 30
    2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

    A panel of Illinois leaders in higher education will highlight state initiatives that are focused on improving diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the higher education community.

    State Agency Panel Members: Eric Zarnikow (ISAC Executive Director), Ginger Ostro (IBHE Executive Director), and Dr. Brian Durham (ICCB Executive Director)

  • Diversity Round Table Discussion
    Tuesday, March 30
    3:45 – 4:30 p.m.

    Following the afternoon's breakout sessions, conference participants who are interested in continuing the discussion on state efforts to support and improve diversity, equity and inclusion for Illinois students are welcome to join this group discussion.

    ISAC Co-Facilitator: Kim Eck (Manager, Partner Services)

Pre-Recorded Session
All pre-recorded sessions will be made available the first day of the conference.

  • An Overview of ISAC Programs

    This session provides an overview of the gift assistance and loan repayment programs administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

    ISAC Presenter: Tania Mendoza (Client Representative, Training Services)

All times listed are Central.

Refer to the conference agenda to verify the time of each session. For more details regarding the 2021 ILASFAA conference, visit the conference area of the ILASFAA website.

Second Limited Release of 2020-21 MAP Suspense – Submit Claims for All Terms by May 7
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on March 15, 2021.

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 August 22, 2020


The fiscal year 2021 (FY21) state operating budget that was signed into law in June of 2020 includes a MAP appropriation of just over $451 million, reflecting level funding from the prior year.

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 payment request (claim) rates. In June of 2020, that analysis resulted in an initial 2020-21 MAP suspense date of July 1, 2020.

In December of 2020, based on continuing analysis that reflected decreases in both application volume and projected claim rates (likely a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), ISAC released 2020-21 MAP grants from suspense status 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.

Second Limited Release of Records in Suspense Status

With the 2020-21 MAP priority claim deadline for the second term having passed on March 5, 2021, and first-term late claims submitted by March 5 being paid, current analysis supports releasing additional MAP grants from suspense status. This second limited release could benefit eligible students whose FAFSA or Alternative Application receipt dates were August 1, 2020 through (and including) August 22, 2020. These released records may be viewed in the MAP system starting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. 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 23, 2020.

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

MAP System Temporarily Unavailable on March 16

In order to implement and test the latest limited release of records in suspense status, the MAP system will be temporarily unavailable on Tuesday morning (March 16). We anticipate testing being completed and the system again being available to colleges by mid-morning on Tuesday, after which time it will remain available per its standard schedule [i.e., each day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (CT)].

Submitting Claims

Once the newly-released records become available to view in the MAP system on March 16, colleges will be able to submit claims for these records (for all terms) via the MAP system and by File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

All Claims Due May 7

Effective March 16, all 2020-21 MAP claims are being accepted for payment and are due on or before Friday, May 7, 2021. This includes:

  • late and newly-released claims for the first term;
  • late and newly-released claims for the second term; and
  • claims for the third quarter (or the second semester if the institution's second semester begins after February 15).

In addition, previously-submitted first- and second-term late claims (i.e., claims submitted after March 5) that were being held will now be released for payment. Colleges do not need to resubmit late claims that had been held.

Visit the MAP Payment page, located within the MAP section of the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area, for more information regarding the claims process.

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 second release from suspension dates (August 1, 2020 through August 22, 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.

Watch for Future Updates

The latest 2020-21 MAP updates will be provided via the FAA Message Board, the MAP Program News area and ISAC's e-Messaging service.

Submit Your Session Proposal Today
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 March 9, 2021.

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

Time is running out to submit an interest session proposal for the 2021 College Changes Everything® (CCE) conference before the priority consideration deadline of March 12, 2021. One of the things that makes this conference so valuable to its attendees is the interest sessions developed and led by dedicated educators and professionals like you. We invite you to submit a proposal to showcase the work you do that contributes to student success. As a reminder, this year's virtual conference will be taking place during the week of July 12, 2021.

We have a broad group of stakeholders who attend this annual conference, and we encourage proposals that cover a wide range of themes related to college access and completion such as, but not limited to: college and career readiness; student retention, persistence, and completion; education, business, and the economy; and college costs and affordability. Sessions should provide in-depth information, practical ideas, and specific strategies for the audience, and demonstrate and promote positive steps taken to address college access, completion issues, and career readiness and sharing of specific lessons learned. Please complete the online session proposal form (more information about interest session submission is available on the conference web page).

Please share the information in this e-Message with colleagues in your organization and other partners.

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


Proposed Rules Amendments Published for Comment
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on March 9, 2021.

The 2021-22 omnibus rulemaking cycle is currently underway at ISAC, with rules amendments being proposed for 10 different Parts. While many of the amendments are of an administrative nature for purposes of clarity, and one Part is being repealed, more substantive amendments are being made to these programs:

Part 2700 – General Provisions – definitions are being added and revisions are being made to the guidance around the use of consortium and contractual agreements and concurrent registration between colleges.

Part 2763 – Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program – revisions are being made to clarify that deadline dates will be established each year for submission of payment requests and to change the order in which the grant is awarded for applicants who are also eligible for MAP.

Part 2764 – Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program – revisions are being made to clarify that deadline dates will be established each year for submission of payment requests and to change the order in which the grant is awarded for applicants who are also eligible for MAP.

Part 2766 – AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program – revisions are being made to clarify guidance for Maintenance of Effort (MOE) and matching requirements.

The proposed rules amendments were published and are available for review in the March 5 edition of the Illinois Register, accessible through the ISAC Administrative Rules section of the e-Library. Publication initiated a 45-day public comment period, which ends on Sunday, April 18 (comments will be accepted through COB, Monday, April 19). Those interested may submit written comments as noted below. Comments received through any other avenue, or after the deadline date, cannot be considered.

Jackie Eckley, Agency Rules Coordinator
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
500 West Monroe, 3rd floor
Springfield, IL 62704
FAX: 217.785.6242

Comments from the public will be reviewed by staff, and where appropriate, the proposed rules amendments will be revised based on comments received. Staff will then request approval from the Commission to submit the proposed rules amendments to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for a second 45-day review period, and for them to be adopted as final if no objection is received from JCAR. The proposed rules amendments are anticipated to be effective on July 1, 2021, for the 2021-22 academic year.

Ex Parte Communications

Please be aware that during the public comment period, ISAC staff members are required to document and report any ex parte communications that take place regarding the proposed rules amendments. Ex parte communications are defined as any written or oral communication by any person during the rulemaking period that imparts or requests material information or makes a material argument regarding potential action. They do not include statements made in a public forum or communications regarding matters of procedure, such as the manner of filing comments or the status of the proceeding. Accordingly, in order to adhere to this requirement, ISAC staff will document and report any communication with institutional staff about the proposed rules amendments.

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February 2021 Electronic ISAC Update
Sent on March 1, 2021.

The February 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 February 2021 ISAC Update include:

  • Don't Forget – Submit Your Proposal
    (sent February 25, 2021)
  • 2021 CCE Conference: Save the Date & Call for Proposals
    (sent February 5, 2021)
  • January 2021 Electronic ISAC Update
    (sent February 1, 2021)

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