JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

MAP Paid Credit Hours Adjustments Due to COVID-19

In order to provide relief for students who were impacted by COVID-19 during the Spring 2020 term, colleges are allowed to make adjustments to a student's enrollment hours so that they will not be charged with using MAP Paid Credit Hours (MPCHs) for courses they may have withdrawn from, but for which they had incurred charges and received a MAP award.

A payment request type of “COVID-19” in the MAP system in GAP Access, when selected, allows colleges to change the enrollment hours for impacted students who may have dropped classes or completely withdrew, but not impact the award amount.

To provide colleges with a consistent approach for identifying students who are eligible for an adjustment to their MPCHs, ISAC guidance is similar to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) May 15, 2020 guidance in regard to who qualifies for an R2T4 waiver, but it does include some important differences.

Guidance in regard to who may qualify for an adjustment to MPCHs due to COVID-19 and when documentation from the student would be required is as follows:

  • Any institution that moved students from ground-based instruction to distance learning, closed campus housing or other campus facilities, or experienced other interruptions in instruction may consider all withdrawals from students enrolled in ground-based instruction during the covered period to have been the result of circumstances related to the COVID-19 national emergency.
  • For institutions that did not undergo changes in educational delivery or campus operations as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, the institution will be required to obtain a written attestation (including by email or text messages) from the student explaining why the withdrawal was the result of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Institutions must also obtain written attestations from students who withdrew from distance education programs explaining why the withdrawal was the result of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Allowable circumstances include, but are not limited to, illness of the student or family member, need to become a caregiver or first responder, loss of childcare, economic hardship, inability to access wi-fi due to closed facilities, or an increase in work hours as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Information (which in the judgment of the institution is reliable) provided by the family member of a withdrawn student whom the institution is unable to contact is acceptable for documentation purposes.

Adjustments to MPCHs due to COVID-19 may be made for:

  • Any students who received MAP in the Spring 2020 term, including both second semester and second and third quarter MAP recipients;
  • Partial or complete withdrawals; and/or
  • Students at institutions that may choose to not implement the R2T4 waiver allowed for under the federal CARES Act.

Following is guidance on submitting adjustments to MPCHs via the MAP system in GAP Access:

  • Schools must first have submitted an initial, regular MAP payment request that has been processed by ISAC, and the request for an adjustment must be made on the transaction on which payment was requested during the term.
  • To submit the adjustment, select the “COVID-19” payment request type on the Student Detail: Payment screen and check the Request Amount Override box for the term as well.
  • Enter the adjusted number of enrollment hours, which can be between 0 and the number of enrollment hours of the previous paid request, and click on the Save Changes button.
    • The Requested Amount will not automatically adjust based on the number of adjusted enrollment hours, but it can be manually changed if it needs to be lowered.
    • The “COVID-19” request type will allow the requested amount to exceed the eligible amount based on provided hours, however, it cannot exceed the amount previously paid.
    • MPCHs will be applied based on the adjusted enrollment hours.
  • COVID-19 requests cannot be made on the Enrollment Hours or Payment Generation screens in the MAP system.
  • Once all adjustments have been entered on the individual Student Detail: Payment screens, navigate to the Submit Payment Requests screen to submit the generated requests to ISAC, being sure to select the appropriate term.
  • COVID-19 payment requests will show a U status code.
  • On the Payment List, the Request Type COVID-19 will be listed as V.

For FTP Processing:

  • The Payment Request type field will show V as the value.
  • If the Payment Request type is V:
    • If Enrollment Hours is greater than the last processed request, the request will receive a result code of 1 and an expanded result code of 1E.
    • If Requested award amount > the last processed request or < = 0, the request will receive a result code of 1 and an expanded result code of 1U.

Other reminders in regard to processing adjustments for students who have been impacted by COVID-19 in the Spring 2020 term include:

  • MAP awards can only be used for tuition and mandatory fees.
  • If tuition and/or fees were waived for or refunded to a student, then any MAP award amount that exceeds the amount of tuition and mandatory fees that was ultimately charged to the student for the term would need to be returned to ISAC.
    • Schools are encouraged to adjust other aid, if possible, to avoid the need to reduce MAP awards.
    • MAP cannot be refunded to the student.

COMPLIANCE REMINDERS

  • For MAP recipients, a record of a COVID-19 adjustment is tracked by the COVID-19 payment option indicator in GAP Access. For students who meet the conditions in ISAC guidance and received an automatic adjustment, additional documentation is not required, however, schools should maintain documentation for students who were required to provide an attestation that their withdrawal was due to COVID-19.
  • Schools should document in their policies and procedures all decisions and processes being implemented and followed in response to COVID-19.
  • During the Spring 2020 term, ISAC’s guidance was consistent with federal guidance, considering it acceptable to rely on an expired driver’s license or state ID so that 2019-20 awarding could be completed and claims submitted in a timely manner. For 2020-21, however, schools are encouraged to consider the timing of when the driver’s license, state ID (or other documentation) expired and the individual situation before making decisions to accept an expired document.

    The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has extended the expiration date for driver's licenses and ID cards that are currently expired or set to expire by September 30, 2020 to November 1, 2020, so students may continue to use a recently expired license/ID until that point.

    As always, schools are encouraged to use their best judgement in determining what is acceptable documentation and to document their decisions regarding exceptions in their policies and procedures for future reference.