JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

State Scholar Program

Program News

(Last updated September 19, 2022)

GAP Access Two-Factor Authentication
2023-24 State Scholar Processing
    Processing Announcements
    Early Announcements
    Certificates of Achievement
College Entrance Exams for 2024-25 State Scholars

GAP Access Two-Factor Authentication

A two-factor authentication process was implemented to improve security for accessing the Gift Assistance Programs on the GAP Access portal. The process requires the use of a one-time verification code, obtained through an application, in conjunction with a user ID and password, when logging in to the portal.

Two-factor authentication is required for both School User and Administrator accounts every time a user logs in. If the setup process has not yet been completed by the high school, refer to the GAP Access Two-Factor Authentication User Guide for instructions.

2023-24

State Scholar Processing

Processing of State Scholar Program (SSP) data – for Illinois students who will be college freshmen during the 2023-24 academic year – has begun. High schools that have not already done so are encouraged to submit their sixth semester data as soon as they are able, using one of two available options: in batches (via Excel spreadsheets), or through the online process. In order to ensure qualified students are included when determining 2023-24 State Scholars, be sure to submit sixth semester data as soon as possible - and, no later than Friday, November 4, 2022.

The SSP early announcement option continues to be offered this processing cycle. After an announcement schedule has been determined, early announcements – which allow eligible students to be designated as State Scholars prior to the final round of announcements for the academic year – will begin later this year. An e-Message will be sent to high schools once early announcements have started (anticipated for late September/early October).

Refer to e-Messages dated September 19 and July 14 for specific details regarding the submission and processing of sixth semester data, as well as the early announcement process.

Processing Announcements

  • The Required Sixth Semester Data page provides details about what data is used to determine SSP eligibility, and the Methods to Submit Sixth Semester Data section of the page includes information about the two options that can be used for the submission of sixth semester data.
  • High schools choose whether to include their eligible students for consideration in the early processing cycle. Refer to the Early Announcements section below for details.
  • Students whose high schools submit sixth semester data, but are not included for consideration in an early announcement round, will be considered for State Scholar designation when the last announcement round takes place in late fall.
  • Individual congratulatory letters will be sent based on when a student is announced as a State Scholar.
    • As 2023-24 State Scholars are named, congratulatory letters will be mailed directly to Scholars.
    • If your school does not choose to participate in the early announcement process, congratulatory letters will be mailed directly to your Scholars after the final round of announcements takes place in late fall.
  • High schools may generate the "Finalists" report in the SSP system after their State Scholars have been announced.
  • Refer to the State Scholar Finalists page for information about corrections, Illinois State Scholar Badges and submitting an appeal.
  • A sample press release, which can assist schools in announcing State Scholars, will be provided at the ISAC website after final announcements have been made.

Early Announcements

  • High schools choose whether to include their eligible students for consideration in the early processing cycle.
    • Checking the "Run Selection" box (located on the "State Scholar Program: Search By School: Results" screen of the SSP system) allows the high school's students to be included for consideration in the next round of 2023-24 State Scholar announcements.
    • For high schools that submit sixth semester data via an Excel spreadsheet, the "Run Selection" checkbox becomes available to check after ISAC has processed the file and resolved any discrepancies.
      • An e-mail is sent to the high school's Primary Administrator (principal) and the School Contact (as listed in the SSP system's "State Scholar Program: Search by School: Results" screen) to indicate when the "Run Selection" box is available to check.
      • Before checking the box, be sure to review all submitted student data for accuracy.
    • For high schools that use the online process, the "Run Selection" box will be available immediately. The school simply needs to check the "Run Selection" box once the final sixth semester data has been submitted.

Certificates of Achievement

Rather than waiting for the final round of announcements to take place in late fall, high schools have the option of downloading and printing Certificates of Achievement as soon as their Scholars have been named.

  • Instructions for downloading and printing Certificates of Achievement are provided in the SSP Online Processing User Guide.
  • Schools that do not choose to download and print their own certificates may instead wait for ISAC to mail printed Certificates of Achievement to them after the final round of announcements takes place.
  • • High schools that download their own certificates will not receive the ISAC-printed Certificates of Achievements later this fall.

2024-25

College Entrance Exams

Eligibility for the State Scholar Program is based, in part, on a student's highest qualifying ACT or SAT score. High school juniors who are potential candidates will need to take one of the accepted exams during the specified timeframe to be considered for State Scholar designation, even though Illinois' public institutions are now prohibited from requiring the submission of student test scores as part of the admissions process.

For current high school juniors, only exams taken between August 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 qualify for consideration in the State Scholar announcements that will be made during their senior year (i.e., high school juniors, who will be college freshmen during the 2024-25 academic year, will be named Scholars during the fall of 2023).