State Scholar Program
(Last updated June 17, 2020)
COVID-19 IMPACT ON ANNOUNCEMENT OF 2021-22 STATE SCHOLARS: Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused college entrance exams (ACT and SAT) that would normally have been administered during the spring of 2020 to be postponed until the fall, exam results will be used with the required sixth semester data to determine Illinois State Scholars who will be college freshman during the 2021-22 academic year.
A two-factor authentication process was implemented to improve security for accessing the Gift Assistance Programs on the GAP Access portal. The new 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. The previous use of challenge questions and answers has been discontinued. High schools have been notified by e-mail from the School Services Department that the school's setup screens are available for access to begin downloading and installing the application. User guides for each process can be found in the GAP Access User Guides section of the GAP Access page.
Due to the postponement of the spring 2020 entrance exams, the State Scholar announcement schedule will be moved to later in the academic year than would normally occur. High schools will be notified of the schedule changes as they occur throughout the 2021-22 processing cycle.
The required sixth semester data, used to determine which students will be considered for the designation as an Illinois State Scholar for the 2021-22 academic year must be submitted directly to the SSP system in the GAP Access portal either by uploading an Excel spreadsheet that follows formatting specifications prescribed by ISAC or by accessing the portal's SSP component and entering data for each individual student. Option One, allowing high school schools to submit an Excel spreadsheet of the required data, is now available. High schools will be notified when Option Two is available to submit the required data by entering records individually via the SSP Component of the GAP Access portal.
Refer to the Required Sixth Semester Data page for details about what data is used to determine SSP eligibility. The Methods to Submit Sixth Semester Data section on that page includes details about the two options that can be used to send the required data to ISAC.
- Option One: The required sixth semester data can be submitted directly to the SSP system in GAP Access by uploading an Excel spreadsheet that is created using the formatting specifications prescribed. Refer to the SSP File Upload User Guide, the SSP Data Exchange Layout and the SSP Upload File Template to learn about uploading data to the SSP component of the GAP Access portal.
- Option Two: SSP Component of GAP Access Portal includes information regarding records submitted individually and a link to the Illinois State Scholar Program (SSP) Sixth Semester Academic Information Request Form to be used for any student who should be considered for SSP designation but does not appear on the online SSP system. The form (soon to be available) may also be used to notify ISAC of issues that require exceptions processing (i.e., if duplicate student records appear on the online SSP system). Step-by-step instructions for the online SSP component, including sample screen prints, are provided via the SSP Online Processing User Guide.
Refer to the June 16 e-Message for additional information about the 2021-22 SSP processing cycle.
The early announcement option, which allows eligible students to be designated as State Scholars prior to the final round of announcements in late fall, is again available this year. A follow-up e-Message will be sent once the first round of early announcements has been scheduled. Refer to the SSP Early Announcement section on the SSP Selection Process page for details.
Included in the congratulatory letter is information regarding a digital Illinois State Scholar badge issued by ISAC. The badge can be displayed on a State Scholar's online profiles and social media accounts, and shared with high school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others. Refer to the Finalist page for instructions to obtain an Illinois State Scholar badge.