JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC in the News

December 27, 2018 - UI planning to offer $20,000 Aim High scholarships to 300 students - Several hundred high-achieving Illinois freshmen could receive scholarships from the University of Illinois next fall as part of a new state-sponsored merit program.

December 19, 2018 - SIU offering new scholarships to hundreds of freshmen and transfer students - Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the state of Illinois are offering millions of reasons why students should pursue their college degrees at SIU.

December 14, 2018 - Illinois Universities Target Students Who Are Admitted But Don't Go - …for money for college than the state has available in need-based Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants. But because AIM HIGH scholarships are…

December 5, 2018 - IBHE Board approves higher education budget request - The Illinois Board of Higher Education has approved a fiscal year 2020 budget that would include $314 million new dollars, or a 16.6 percent increase in funding, for higher education operations in Illinois.

November 30, 2018 - Your guide to new scholarships at Illinois public universities - Illinois’ best high school students have perhaps never had more options to receive financial aid to attend a local university.
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Noveber 14, 2018 - UIS students eligible for additional $1.1 million in scholarships - Students at the University of Illinois Springfield will be eligible for more than $1 million in additional scholarship money starting next fall through a new state pilot program, the university announced Wednesday.

October 25, 2018 - Illinois Offers Case Study on Pairing Higher Education Data and Consumer Education - The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) recently launched an online consumer information tool called College2Career that allows users to review student outcomes data for each of the state’s community colleges and more than 60 of its four-year universities.

October 24, 2018 - How Rauner and Pritzker would fix Illinois - Monetary Award Program grants benefit low-income college students and are administered through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

October 23, 2018 - Expert recommendations to correctly fill out the FAFSA form - Millions of dollars for the university are not taken advantage of since many young people do not fill out or make mistakes in the application of the form. Abel Montoya, of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, ensures that all US-born or permanent-resident students are eligible for all types of federal, state and school-based aid.

Note: Abel Montoya is featured in this story. The report incorrectly identifies him as Eddie Brambila.

October 23, 2018 - Recomendaciones de expertos para llenar de manera correcta el formulario FAFSA - Millones de dólares para la universidad no son aprovechados ya que muchos jóvenes no llenan o cometen errores en la la solicitud del formulario. Abel Montoya, de la Comisión de Asistencia Estudiantil de Illinois, asegura que todos los estudiantes nacidos en EEUU o que tienen residencia permanente son elegibles para todo tipo de ayuda federal, estatal y por parte de los colegios.

Note: Abel Montoya is featured in this story. The report incorrectly identifies him as Eddie Brambila.

October 15, 2018 - State Student Loan Debt Below National Average - New data shows that about 65 percent of college seniors carried student loan debt when they graduated in 2017, although the figures for Illinois fall below the national average. The report from the Institute for College Access and Success ranks Illinois in the middle of the pack at No. 24 for…

October 11, 2018 - WIU unveils Promise Plus program - HIGH funding criteria is set by the state of Illinois. “And then there is threshold from a financial aid perspective that you need to have,”

October 9, 2018 - UIC to offer free tuition to state's top students - Highly successful students will be able to attend the University of Illinois-Chicago for free under a new program seeking to keep the state's top students at home. The Chancellor's Fellows Program will be funded with UIC's share of $25 million set aside by the state for merit scholarships at the…
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October 7, 2018 - Guest Commentary | College access and affordability: A better future for Illinois - Illinois has the talent and capacity to build a workforce pipeline for the skilled jobs of tomorrow. But to do that, we need to make sure that all Illinoisans

October 4, 2018 - October is College Changes Everything Month in Illinois - Now in its third year, Governor Rauner has proclaimed October College Changes Everything® Month (CCE Month), when the state’s college access and financial aid agency, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and partners will be assisting students with college applications and putting them in the best position possible to receive the funding they need to attend.

October 3, 2018 - Untangling College Financing to Avoid Student Debt - It’s a mind-boggling amount of money for anybody to consider spending – let alone a teenage. The cost of four years of college – including room, board and books – can now top $200,000 at a private school. Four years at a public university can top $100,000, according to the College Board.

October 2, 2018 - 'College completion crisis' spurs pledge to end racial, income grad gaps by 2025 - Sixty percent of college students from Illinois graduate with an associate’s in three years or bachelor’s degree in six years, according to state data. But a student’s race and family income are key factors in whether a student will be part of that 60 percent.

September 21, 2018 - Why Chicago-area high school students are leaving Illinois for college - At Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Alex West was all-state in track, captain of the soccer team, first-chair saxophone in the band, all while he maintained a 3.94 grade-point average and got a 33 on the ACT.

September 18, 2018 - What will SIUC do with $1.9 million in AIM HIGH money? - State legislators set aside $25 million this year to help public universities stem the Illinois “brain-drain,” and $1.9 million of that will go to SIU Carbondale, according to university officials.

September 06, 2018 - New website offers comparative shopping data for prospective Illinois college students - The state is rolling out an ambitious new centralized data portal for prospective Illinois college students that compiles information on graduation rates, costs, student debt and, for the first time, potential career earnings of graduates of the state’s two- and four-year institutions.
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August 18, 2018 - Law signed to better educate students on loan debt - Illinois college students will have more information on hand to make financial decisions under legislation signed into law today by Governor Bruce Rauner.

August 13, 2018 - Returning students will have MAP grant priority - A bill intended to make it easier for college students to transfer credits within Illinois was signed into law Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner during a visit to Harper College in Palatine.

August 8, 2018 - Need student loans? FAFSA now has an app - Americans will finally be able to apply for federal financial aid on their phones.
The Department of Education has created an app that students can use to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA.

August 6, 2018 - Community leaders unite for ISAC conference to support college and career readiness - The recent Illinois Student Assistance Commission's (ISAC) "College Changes Everything" conference brought together more than 500 educators, government, business and non-profit leaders to share their insights on how to better support college and career readiness in Illinois students.

August 2, 2018 - Illinois Explores Partnerships to Support College and Career Readiness - Why do students choose not to pursue college, or drop out of college, even when they are provided with significant college counseling, external encouragement, and assistance in accessing financial aid? Mandy Savitz-Romer, Ph.D., director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education master’s program in Prevention Science and Practice and senior lecturer in education, provided some crucial answers to that question in her keynote to 500 educators, government, business and non-profit leaders attending the College Changes Everything (CCE) Conference on July 19th in Tinley Park.

July 10, 2018 - How to Prepare for Rising Student Loan Interest Rates: Taking out federal student loans just became even more expensive. - Federal student loan interest rates just went up again for the second year in a row. Interest rates for student loans borrowed under the Department of Education's direct program rose by 0.6 percent for the 2018-2019 school year.

June 18, 2018 - College Students: Read The Fine Print In The MAP Bill - Illinois has struggled for decades to persuade high school graduates to stay in-state for college. The recent two-year budget impasse only made things worse. Now, a group of lawmakers has a plan to reverse the trend, starting with the state’s Monetary Award Program.

June 14, 2018 - Statewide program to provide merit-based aid - As part of an effort to curtail the number of Illinois high school students leaving the state for college, the Illinois general assembly passed the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program, which will provide $25 million in merit-based aid to be matched by Illinois public universities.

June 1, 2018 - $38.5 billion state budget includes big wins for UI, students - A new grant program for middle-income college students, $500 million for a University of Illinois-led research initiative based in Chicago and a 2 percent budget increase for higher education — all good news after three years of funding cuts and budget stalemates, state university officials said Thursday.

May 30, 2018 - New slate of higher-ed bills include MAP, merit grant reforms - Illinois lawmakers unveiled a package of six bills Tuesday aimed at reversing the flow of students to out-of-state colleges and universities.

May 23, 2018 - Eligible for financial aid, nearly a million students never get it: States run out of money and aspiring low-income college students feel the pain - Last year alone, more than 900,000 low-income students who applied for and were found eligible for state financial aid for college never received it, because states ran out of money, according to a new analysis of state data by The Hechinger Report.

May 11, 2018 Money talks, and Illinois students walk - Financial aid is playing an increasingly important role in luring record numbers of Illinois high school graduates to colleges in nearby states in an intensifying Midwest battle for students....
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May 5, 2018 - Public universities can’t get past the lingering effects of state budget crisis - Eastern Illinois University’s legislative liaison Katie Anselment had some strong words for legislators during an Illinois Senate Higher Education Committee hearing last week.

Anselment testified against a bill that would create a pilot program to allow a Downstate community college to offer nursing bachelor’s degrees. The four-year universities view this legislation as a dangerous slippery slope toward turning community colleges into full-on competitors.

March 19, 2018 - Two-time winner of “Most Effective IT Team” is getting kids in college - ISAC has been around for 60 years and has sucessfully attracted new tech talent and has won Most Effective IT Team award for the second time, being the first state agency to do so.

March 19, 2018 - Illinois Student Assistance Commission receives IT award from industry group - For the second time in three years, the CompTIA Association of Information Technology Professionals’ (AITP) Chicago chapter recognized the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), designating it as the area’s most effective IT team.

March 09, 2018 - In Amazon race, Illinois' trump card is its university system - Chicago has been chosen as one of 20 cities under consideration as the site of Amazon HQ2, the second act to Seattle's first headquarters, and a sweepstakes payoff of 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment for the selected city.
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February 15, 2018 - Possible pension shift concerns local education leaders - Under the budget plan announced by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday, school districts and public community colleges and universities would have to pick up pension costs currently covered by the state.

February 12, 2018 - Scholarships Available To Minority Students Pursuing Teaching Degrees - The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is urging minority students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate teaching program to apply for available scholarship money.

February 7, 2018 - Higher Ed Board Makes A 'Modest' Request - After years of cuts and chronic underfunding, state higher education officials voted yesterday to make a modest request for next year’s budget.

February 6, 2018 In split vote, state higher education board sends $3.47B budget proposal to Springfield - Members of the Illinois Board of Higher Education narrowly voted Tuesday to send a $3.47 billion spending plan to the state legislature, a decision that followed weeks of debate questioning how the state’s public institutions can best move forward from two years of severe budget strain.
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January 5, 2018 - What You Need to Know About Filing the FAFSA for 2018 - If you’re headed to college this fall and you haven’t filled out an application for federal financial aid, you might want to complete it soon.

January 2, 2018 - State plans to offer more ways to gain high school equivalency - There could be other ways to earn your high school equivalency certificate in Illinois than passing a test in 2018.

To date, ISAC’s 2018-19 State Scholar announcement has appeared in over 60 media outlets

January 1, 2018 - Commission names area Illinois state scholars - The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has recognized a number of Pantagraph-area high school students named 2018-19 state scholars for their outstanding academic achievement.