2021-22 FAFSA Completion Initiative
We're working with school districts across the state to help identify which of their students have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in their pursuit of financial aid for college. Principals can sign up their respective high school for the initiative through the GAP Access portal, and schools can then upload the necessary files for matching.
*The MAP and Pell numbers above 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.
While the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) is among the largest need-based financial assistance programs in the nation, the same application that 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 his/her 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 and accessibility.
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 Data
Calling All Illinois High Schools—Please Submit Your Data!
If you want to see how Illinois is doing on 2021-22 FAFSA completions, check out the National College Attainment Network’s FAFSA Tracker
ISAC's FAFSA Completion Initiative offers Illinois school districts a way to identify students who have not submitted either a FAFSA or Alternative Application. The application completion information - updated on a weekly basis - can be used by district counselors to help reach students who may need assistance or encouragement to complete an application. Particularly in light of the new FAFSA completion requirement, it's more important than ever that high schools are able to monitor completion rates.
There has been a change this year in our ability to provide this data. High schools now need to directly submit senior class student information to ISAC. See the detailed instructions for uploading this data through the GAP Access portal.
FAFSA Completion Data by High School: Available Weekly
2021-22 FAFSA completion data for an individual high school will be available only after a high school uploads its senior class school list. Student-specific 2021-22 match data will be available weekly on Monday mornings within the GAP Access portal.
High School/District participation in the Illinois FAFSA Completion Initiative
If not already a participant, principals can sign up their respective high school for ISAC's FAFSA Completion Initiative through our automated system at the GAP Access portal.