How MAP works
- A student’s eligibility for MAP is determined using information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.
- Financial need is determined by subtracting a student’s family resources from the chosen college’s total cost of attendance.
- The award amount is based on the number of credit hours for which the student is enrolled. For the purposes of awarding MAP, a student is considered full time if they are enrolled for 15 hours or more per semester.
- MAP is awarded to students on a first come, first served basis, according to when they submit their FAFSA or Alternative Application. Eligible applicants who are not initially awarded grants have their applications put “in suspense”—essentially, on a wait list. If fewer applicants claim their grants than ISAC initially projected, grants can be offered to some additional applicants who were initially put in suspense. Additional proposed MAP funding for FY 23 of $122 million would serve more students and improve the purchasing power of MAP by increasing grant size, helping to make college possible for some who might otherwise forgo education beyond high school as financially prohibitive.
- Returning MAP recipients have priority access to MAP funds. What this means is that a returning MAP recipient who continues to be MAP-eligible and who completes their FAFSA or their Alternative Application by the priority deadline set by ISAC will get a MAP grant so long as the state has appropriated sufficient funds for MAP for that fiscal/academic year. For more information about Priority Access MAP, see our FAQs.
About MAP recipients
- More than half (55%) of MAP-eligible students are so low income that the federal government doesn’t consider them able to contribute any resources to pay for college. In FY 21, the average family income of a dependent (“traditional”) MAP-eligible student was $34,934/year, and the average income of an independent (“non-traditional”) MAP-eligible student was $19,796/year.
- Of the undergraduates at Illinois public universities who identify themselves as Black or Hispanic, more than half receive a MAP grant.
- Approximately 57% of MAP recipients are first generation—meaning those who do not have at least one parent who completed college.
- MAP recipients are enrolled in all sectors of higher education. Community college students were offered and accepted the most grants, but the percentage of students who were offered and accepted grants is much higher at public universities and private non-profit schools.
Dollar amount of award is based on student’s estimated financial need, hours enrolled, and cost of attendance at student’s selected MAP-eligible school.