JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois
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Completing a financial aid application is often the first step in making education after high school possible for Illinois students. An Illinois student who completes a financial aid from may be eligible to receive as much as $11,991 if they qualify for the Federal Pell Grant and the Illinois Monetary Award Program—funding that can make the difference for thousands of low income students statewide.

Financial Aid Application Completion Requirement

State law requires all Illinois public high school seniors to complete either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) as a prerequisite to receiving a high school diploma. Additionally, high schools are expected to provide students and their families with any support or guidance necessary to comply with the requirement. For students who choose not to file an application, a FAFSA Nonparticipation Form may be signed by a parent or guardian, and is available on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) website (in English and Spanish). High school counselors are encouraged to contact ISBE for guidance on using this waiver.

ISAC helps support high schools with their financial aid application completion programming, and also provides free direct assistance to students and families in completing their financial aid applications. Find out more at https://www.isac.org/students/before-college/outreach-activitiesevent-calendar/. And check out our Rock the FAFSA toolkits to help you get the word out to your students.

Financial Aid Application Completion Initiative

Through this free service to districts and schools, ISAC is able to share data with local school districts on a weekly basis to identify students who have not filed a financial aid application (the FAFSA or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid). This information is used by district counselors (or ISACorps, with permission from schools) to help reach students who might otherwise not complete an application. For more information contact ISAC School Services at 866.247.2172 or by e-mail at isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov.

For high schools not currently participating in ISAC’s FAFSA Completion Initiative, principals can sign up their respective high school through our automated system at the GAP Access portal.

Recognition of Excellence: Financial Aid Application Completion

ISAC is recognizing annually the efforts of high schools that focus on supporting their students and families through the financial aid process.  Four levels of recognition have been defined and are used to determine recognition awards. Honoree public and private high schools will receive an award banner to display at their school, along with the level of recognition for the class. Check out the 2021-22 Recognition of Excellence list of high schools.

 

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Disclaimer: Data in this table is compiled from the U.S. Department of Education and other sources. Various matching techniques have been applied to maximize identification of eligible students. The information is primarily based on Illinois high school students who have taken the ACT or SAT during their junior year, as well as student-based data reported by Illinois high schools. Because this information is dynamic and changes occur on a regular basis, representations may be slightly higher or lower than that shown in an earlier reporting period. Questions? Contact ISAC School Services at 866.247.2172 or by e-mail at isac.schoolservices@illinois.gov.