2021-22 FAFSA® Completion Initiative
We're working with school districts across the state to help identify which of their students have completed a financial aid application--the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) in their pursuit of financial aid for college. Principals can sign up their respective high school for the initiative through the GAP Access portal.
While the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) is among the largest need-based financial assistance programs in the nation, the FAFSA, which qualifies students for this state grant, also brings over $1.3 billion in federal Pell dollars into Illinois every year. Through the federal program, students from low-income families can receive up to $6,345 per year to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, living expenses, books, supplies, transportation, child care and other costs of college attendance. A full MAP grant plus a full Pell grant could give a low income student over $10,000 per year toward their cost of attendance.
FAFSA Completion Requirement
Beginning with the 2020-21 academic year, state law now 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 waiver may be completed by their parent. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) makes available through their website a FAFSA Nonparticipation Form for this purpose (in English and Spanish). High school counselors are encouraged to contact ISBE for guidance on using the 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/
FAFSA 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 email@example.com.
For private 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.
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*The MAP and Pell numbers at the top of the page represent the total estimated awards for all Pell-eligible students and all MAP-eligible students at their first-choice school. They represent a point in time and are regularly updated as FAFSA applications and the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid are submitted. Please note that actual awards are dependent on whether (and where) the MAP-eligible and Pell-eligible student actually enrolls and attends college. Please also note that MAP grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and are subject to appropriation.
Disclaimer: Data in the table is compiled from the U.S. Department of Education and other sources. In partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education, ISAC receives a list of the current senior class at all Illinois public high schools. Public as well as private high schools can also send a list of their current senior class directly to ISAC. Various matching techniques have been applied to maximize identification of eligible students. This information is dynamic and changes occur on a regular basis. Because of the dynamic nature of the information, representations may be slightly higher or lower than that shown in an earlier reporting period.