|Messages sent to:||Multiple Subscription Groups|
Welcome to the October 2023 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 regarding information in this ISAC Update can be directed to School Services at 866.247.2172 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Teacher Program Enrollment Verification Update
Sent to Financial Aid Directors and Financial Aid Administrators on October 30, 2023.
Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) website (isac.org).
2022-2023 Enrollment Verification Data Due December 1
(Data Now Available)
ISAC is now accepting 2022-2023 enrollment verification data for students who previously received funds from ISAC-administered teacher programs.
- Beginning today – Monday, October 30, 2023 – enrollment verification data for the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program and the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program is available via each program's system within the GAP Access portal.
- Data is to be completed by the college and returned to ISAC as soon as possible, verifying award recipients' current enrollment status. All data must be submitted on or before Friday, December 1, 2023.
- As a reminder, ISAC monitors recipients' fulfillment of the program requirements because, if recipients fail to meet the applicable requirements, their awards convert to loans that must be repaid.
- Knowing recipients' enrollment status, as reported by the colleges, allows ISAC to communicate with recipients who have graduated (or otherwise stopped attending college) regarding the steps they need to take in order to fulfill program requirements.
- The sooner colleges submit enrollment verification data to ISAC, the sooner ISAC can communicate with impacted award recipients.
Reporting Enrollment Status
- For the MTI Scholarship and Illinois SETTW programs:
- From the MTI or SETTW system "Home" page within GAP Access, select the prior academic year (in this case, "2022-2023") from the "Academic Year" drop-down menu, and then click on the "Enrollment Status Verification" tab.
- If the current academic year (in this case, "2023-2024") is selected, the "Enrollment Status Verification" listing will be blank.
- The reason the academic year must be selected for enrollment verification is that other functionalities (for example, certification and payment) also reside in the MTI and SETTW systems.
- For the Illinois SETTW Program Only:
- Colleges must submit Tuition Waiver Conversion (TWC) data for all SETTW recipients who are not enrolled or are no longer eligible to receive the waiver. Further instructions for submitting TWC data via the SETTW system are provided in the Enrollment Status Verification for the Teacher Programs User Guide.
- Data should be reported based on each student's last date of enrollment in the required teaching program.
- If the "Enrollment Status" is anything other than "In School," the "Effective Date" also must be provided. A listing of valid "Enrollment Status" options may be found in the Enrollment Status Verification for the Teacher Programs User Guide.
- If the student remains enrolled in the required teaching program for 2023-2024, indicate such with the "In School" status; those students will continue to appear with future-year data.
Reminder: In order for staff to view enrollment status verification data, the institution's GAP Access administrator must ensure that access to this functionality has been granted (both for themselves and other staff, as appropriate). Further details regarding this process are provided in the "Security Access" section that appears at the bottom of this message.
Making Revisions After Data Has Been Submitted
Enrollment status verification data is available to be updated only if the information has not yet been submitted to ISAC. Colleges must contact School Services for changes that need to be made after the data has been submitted.
Resources Available Online
Further details and instructions regarding the enrollment verification process may be accessed by selecting the appropriate links below:
- Enrollment Status Verification
- Enrollment Status Verification for the Teacher Programs User Guide
- Program Requirements
GAP Access User Guides provide institutions with step-by-step instructions for activating and monitoring user accounts. All users need a valid GAP Access ID and password to access the system. ISAC relies on a designated Primary Administrator (usually, the financial aid director) at each institution to authorize users and provide them with the appropriate level of access for each ISAC program.
Enrollment verification functionality for the teacher programs is available each day between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (CT).
Join Us to Learn about Repaying Your Federal Student Loans
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools – Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, Business Officers, ECACE Administrators, and NES Schools on October 26, 2023.
payments have resumed!
Millions of federal student loan borrowers had their loans and interest payments automatically paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The payment pause ended on August 30, 2023, and repayment resumed in October.
To help borrowers across the state of Illinois, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is hosting free webinars on how federal student loan borrowers can navigate repayment. To register for a webinar, visit the Return to Repayment page.
Navigating Federal Student Loan Repayments
Join us on one of these dates in November to learn about navigating repayment, what repayment options are available, and how to stay out of default.
- Wednesday, November 8, 5-6 p.m. (CT)
- Monday, November 20, 12-1 p.m. (CT)
- Wednesday, November 29, 12-1 p.m. (CT)
For questions, contact email@example.com.
ISAC Monthly Webinars for FAAs
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools – Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, Business Officers, ECACE Administrators, and NES Schools on October 23, 2023
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will provide an Operational and Program Update Webinar for financial aid administrators (FAAs) on the last Wednesday of every month. However, please note the date changes for the holiday months of November and December. Following are the webinar dates for the fourth quarter of 2023:
- October 25 at 2 p.m.
- November 22 at 10 a.m.
- December 20 at 2 p.m.
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, and any specific topics or questions you would like a webinar to address may be submitted via e-mail to Kimberly.Eck@illinois.gov prior to the session.
ISAC File Layouts for 2024-25 FAFSA and Alternative Application Processing
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, MAP Users, and Business Officers on October 19, 2023
In preparation for the implementation of processing changes related to the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), ISAC has made updates to the 160-byte file layout that is used for MAP processing. The key change to the layout for the 2024-25 award year is the removal of data elements that can be considered Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to protect student identity when transmitting files between ISAC and colleges. Data elements that will no longer be included on the file are:
- student Social Security number (SSN),
- student Last Name (previously an optional field),
- original SSN, and
- Name ID.
The SSN will be replaced on the 160-byte file layout with the student's Person Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) that is assigned to the student by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) as part of the FAFSA Processing System (FPS), starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA processing cycle. The Person UUID field is 36 characters in length, and the total number of characters being removed (SSN – 9, Last Name – 16, Original SSN – 9, and Name ID – 2) is also 36, so the length of the file will not change.
According to the current draft of the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) file layout for 2024-25, FPS will generate three types of UUIDs for FAFSA applicants:
- FAFSA UUID – FPS universally unique identifier used to identify a student's FAFSA Application
- Transaction UUID – FPS universally unique identifier used to identify a transaction
- Person UUID – FPS universally unique identifier used to identify an applicant across FAFSAs
ISAC plans to use the Person UUID as the student identifier in the 160-byte file layout for MAP processing, as it is expected to be an identifier that will stay the same for the student across FAFSA cycles.
This change to the 160-byte file layout for 2024-25 means that schools will be working with two different file layouts while the 2023-24 award year remains in active processing. Additionally, ISAC is also in the process of adjusting information in the MAP system in GAP Access. Screen layouts will remain much the same, however, we are working to adjust data elements and verbiage based on changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA.
Release of Alternative Application to Coincide with FAFSA Release
ISAC will be prepared to release the 2024-25 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid at the same time that the 2024-25 FAFSA is released. The application will continue to mirror the FAFSA form as much as possible, and will calculate a Student Aid Index (SAI) that will be used in the same way as the federal SAI for purposes of determining MAP eligibility.
For students who complete the Alternative Application, ISAC will generate a comparable Person UUID to provide on the Alternative Application Student Record (in addition to the ISAC ID# that is generated when a student begins the Alternative Application process). Both the ISAC ID# and the ISAC UUID will remain associated with the student over the course of their financial aid experience with ISAC.
2024-25 Alternative Application File Layout and Processing
An updated file layout for the 2024-25 Alternative Application Student Record (which is comparable to the ISIR file), will be provided to colleges as soon as possible once ED has announced that the file layout for the ISIR is final.
Consistent with usual business practices, ISAC will begin accepting ISIRs and Alternative Application Student Records in the MAP system in GAP Access as soon as the 2024-25 applications become available and, a few days after start-up, ISAC will begin providing 2024-25 MAP eligibility information to colleges. As is typical, ISAC will first ensure that all records are loading properly and awards are being accurately calculated before displaying MAP eligibility information to the colleges. Once that process begins, schools will continue to see eligibility data as students continue to complete the FAFSA and the Alternative Application throughout the award year.
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, ECACE Administrators, and NES Schools on October 13, 2023.
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:
2024-25 (July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025)
2023-24 (July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024)
2022-23 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023)
General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)
By End of December 2023: 2024-25 FAFSA® Available
Because changes resulting from the FAFSA Simplification Act will take time to properly implement, the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is expected to be available in December 2023 (rather than in October). ISAC anticipates availability of the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid for the 2024-25 academic year to coincide with the launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA.
With the 2024-25 FAFSA:
- up to 20 different colleges can be listed on the online FAFSA and have information sent to them (in prior years, only ten colleges could be listed);
- due to a change in the methodology used to determine aid, a Student Aid Index (SAI) – rather than an expected family contribution (EFC) – is used to measure the student's (and, if applicable, the family's) ability to pay for college;
- the new need analysis formula no longer factors the number of family members attending college into the calculation;
- separate criteria to determine eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant Program, linking eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level, make program funds available to more students; and,
- revisions to several of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid are required, including a new interface to directly receive federal tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The e-Library's 2024-25 FAFSA Completion area is updated on a regular basis as details are released regarding the 2024-25 federal process for requesting financial aid.
Students and families seeking information can be directed to the Financial Aid: Completing the FAFSA area of ISAC's website – which will also be regularly updated as new information becomes available – and the Federal Student Aid studentaid.gov website.
FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance.
Prior to October 18: Register or Join Waitlist for 2023 FAFSA Symposium
An October 12 e-Message announces that spaces for the upcoming 2023 FAFSA Symposiums are filling up quickly. Tickets are still available for the symposium at Illinois Central College (on October 25, 2023). Although registration has closed for the symposium at Moraine Valley Community College (on November 7, 2023), you can join the waitlist in case space becomes available. Registration and ability to join the waitlist for the symposiums will close on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.
MAP Start-up Formula
At its September 21, 2023 meeting, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission approved a start-up formula for 2024-25 academic year MAP grants, with a maximum award of $8,400. Additional details regarding the formula are provided in a September 22 e-Message.
By November 15: Community Behavioral Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program Applications
The application for the 2023-24 Community Behavioral Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program is available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. The priority application consideration date for the 2023-24 academic year is November 15, 2023. Once this date has passed, applications will continue to be accepted for as long as funds remain available after all timely eligible applicants have been awarded.
December 8: First-term Claim Deadline for MAP
2023-24 MAP payment requests (i.e., claims) are due on or before December 8, 2023.
When submitting claims, remember that ISAC has suspended the announcement of 2023-24 MAP grants for all students whose initial 2023-24 FAFSA is received by the federal processor, or whose initial Alternative Application is received by ISAC, on or after September 23, 2023.
Future updates – including, once determined, the priority claim deadline dates for subsequent terms – will be announced via our usual means of communication: the FAA Message Board; the MAP Program News page; and/or ISAC's e-Messaging system.
December 29: Fall-Term Deadline to Report Benefit Usage Data for IVG and ING Grant
IVG and ING Grant data for the fall term is due on or before Friday, December 29, 2023.
Benefit usage data for the IVG and ING Grant programs is submitted to ISAC by colleges via the benefit usage functionality within each program's system, allowing colleges to 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 2023-24 IVG or ING Grant awards, reporting of benefits used must still take place so that usage can be accurately reflected on students' accounts.
December 29: First-term Claim Deadline for MTI and Golden Apple
Claims for the 2023-24 Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship and Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois (Golden Apple) programs are due on or before December 29, 2023.
Future updates – including, once determined, the priority claim deadlines for subsequent terms – will be announced via our usual means of communication: the FAA Message Board; the MTI Scholarship and Golden Apple "Program News" pages; and/or ISAC's e-Messaging system.
Continue Certifying MTI Eligibility
This year's Supreme Court decisions pertaining to college admission practices had no impact on financial aid, meaning ISAC continues to administer all of our programs, including MTI, with no changes and in accordance with our administrative rules. Consequently, in order to ensure qualified applicants are considered for available program funding, be sure to continue using the MTI system to certify eligibility for both renewal and new applicants so they are included in future rounds of awarding and receive the appropriate notifications. Details regarding the certification process are provided in a July 11 e-Message.
Continue Certifying NES Eligibility
Colleges are reminded to continue certifying eligiblility for 2023-24 Nursing Education Scholarships (NES) using the NESP system. Beginning with the 2023-24 NES processing cycle, certification takes place prior to the awarding process (similar to the certification process of the MTI Scholarship Program). Further details, including important reminders and upcoming changes related to payment processing, are provided in a September 21 e-Message.
FAFSA and Alternative Application Remain Available
Although ISAC has suspended the announcement of 2023-24 MAP grants (for all students whose initial 2023-24 FAFSA is received by the federal processor, or whose initial Alternative Application is received by ISAC, on or after September 23, 2023), these 2023-24 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, 2023 and June 30, 2024. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2023-24 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.
Submit Outstanding Balances Due to ISAC
Notifications detailing the outstanding amount that must be refunded to ISAC for 2022-23 MAP grants, MTI Scholarships, and Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarships were e-mailed to financial aid directors in August, with a due date of September 29, 2023. Even though that deadline has passed, outstanding amounts still must be refunded. If not already done, review the information in the notification and return the appropriate amount – along with a completed Gift Assistance Programs Refund Check Form – as soon as possible.
By End of October: Reporting Enrollment Verification Data for ISAC-Administered Teacher Education Programs
ISAC anticipates beginning to accept 2022-2023 enrollment verification data in late October for students who previously received funds from the following ISAC-administered teacher programs:
- Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program
- MTI Scholarship Program
- Optometric Education Scholarship Program (OESP) (as a reminder, OESP awards are available only for students attending the Illinois College of Optometry)
Watch for more details – including when enrollment verification data may be submitted and the date by which it will be due – in a future e-Message.
October 20: Session Proposals for First Gen Symposium Due
Session proposals for ISAC's first annual First Gen Symposium – which will take place in-person on Thursday, November 30, 2023, in Springfield, Illinois – must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. (CT) on Friday, October 20, 2023. Further details are provided in a September 27 e-Message.
October 25: Monthly Webinar
Plan to attend the following webinar for financial aid administrators:
- October 25 at 2 p.m. (CT) – ISAC Operational Update and Program News
To participate in this webinar, visit the Partner Training page in the e-Library 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.
Throughout October: "Return to Repayment" Webinars
The federal student loan payment pause has come to an end, and ISAC is hosting free webinars in October regarding how student loan borrowers can navigate repayment. Further details – including dates, times, and how to register – are provided in a September 26 e-Message.
December 7: Next Commission Meeting
The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 7, 2023. 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.
ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:
- Friday, November 10 – Veterans Day (observed)
- Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving Day
- Friday, November 24 – Day after Thanksgiving
- Monday, December 25 – Christmas
- Monday, January 1 – New Year's Day
Staff will again be available the first business day immediately following each holiday.
Although ISAC staff will be unavailable on the days listed above, all systems for ISAC-administered programs within the GAP Access portal will be available during regularly scheduled hours. For MAP and other programs administered through components of the GAP Access portal, 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 appropriate program's system on the morning of the second business day after the holiday.
Click on the following link to access holiday processing schedules for all systems within the GAP Access portal.
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).
Only One Week Left to Register for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Symposiums!
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools – Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, Business Officers, ECACE Administrators, and NES Schools on October 12, 2023.
There is only one week left to register for ISAC's fifth annual FAFSA Symposium!
Tickets are still available for the symposium at Illinois Central College on Wednesday, October 25.
Registration has closed for Moraine Valley Community College on Tuesday, November 7. Those who are interested can join the waitlist in case space becomes available.
Registration and ability to join the waitlist for the symposiums will close next Wednesday, October 18, 2023. For registration and details (including how to join the waitlist for the Moraine Valley Community College location), visit the FAFSA Symposium page.
Professional Development (PD) hours and Continuing Education (CE) credits will be offered to attendees at the rate of one unit per contact hour.
For questions about either symposium, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
October Webinars for FAAs
Sent to Financial Aid Directors, Financial Aid Administrators, Public Schools – Participating in the ING Grant and IVG Programs, MAP Users, Business Officers, ECACE Adminstrators and NES Schools on October 3, 2023.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will offer the following webinars for financial aid administrators during the month of October.
- Tuesday, October 10, 10 a.m. – Policies & Procedures Webinar about the Monetary Award Program (MAP)
- Wednesday, October 25, 2 p.m. – Monthly Operational Update and Program News
September 2023 Electronic ISAC Update
Sent on October 2, 2023.
The September 2023 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 2023 ISAC Update include:
- Save the Date for the First Annual First Gen Symposium!
(sent September 27, 2023)
- Join Us to Prepare for Federal Student Loan Payments Due in October
(sent September 26, 2023)
- 2024-25 MAP Start-up Formula Approved
(sent September 22, 2023)
- Certify 2023-24 Nursing Education Scholarships (NES)
(sent September 21, 2023)
- 2023-24 MAP Updates: Suspense, and First-Term Claim Deadline
(sent September 20, 2023)
- Commission Meeting Thursday, September 21 – Executive Briefing Friday, September 22
(sent September 18, 2023)
- Registration Open for the 2023 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Symposium
(sent September 13, 2023)
- 2023-24 Golden Apple Payment Implementation
(sent September 12, 2023)
- Announcing September Back-to-School Webinars for FAAs
(sent September 7, 2023)
- August 2023 Electronic ISAC Update
(sent September 1, 2023)