The 2023 Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Symposium
On Wednesday, October 25 at Illinois Central College and Tuesday, November 7 at Moraine Valley Community College, we hosted the 5th annual FAFSA Symposium! We thank Illinois Central College and Moraine Valley Community College for their partnership.
The FAFSA Symposium provided an opportunity for attendees to hear from presenters on how their schools and districts support students and families with financial aid applications.
Below are PDF copies of each presentation given during the FAFSA Symposium. If you are interested in presenting or attending next year’s FAFSA Symposium, sign up for ISAC’s e-Messaging service to be the first to know when the call for proposals and registration opens for the 2024 FAFSA Symposium!
For questions, contact email@example.com!
FAFSA Simplification: What We Know
Representatives from ISAC will provide an update on the key changes and how to prepare your students and families.
Sara Espinosa, Manager of Training & Development, ISAC
Meghan Chrum, Professional Development Specialist, ISAC
Getting Ready for the Better FAFSA in Illinois
Representatives from the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) will provide an update on the key changes and how to prepare your students and families.
MorraLee Keller, Senior Director of Strategic Programming, NCAN
Alessandra Cipriani-Detres, Program Associate, NCAN
The 2024-25 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid
ISAC’s Division of Program Services & Compliance (PSC) will share details about changes coming to the 2024-25 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.
Presenter: Kim Eck, Assistant Director of Partner Services, ISAC
A Focus on Language: Increasing Student Success through Readability
The readability of financial aid materials serves as a barrier to entry for many students who lack the cultural capital necessary to navigate the higher education space. As we approach the simplified 24-25 FAFSA, financial aid offices should reflect on how they communicate with students about financial aid and whether their communications are effectively understood by students.
Presenters: Alexander Skarr, Doctoral Student, University of West Georgia and ISACorps Alumni
Accessing DCFS’ Postsecondary Education Supports
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) supports youth with lived experience in care across the State of Illinois. Our Postsecondary Support Options provide youth with lived experience in care with mentoring, financial assistance, resources to learn about their postsecondary options, DCFS scholarships and tuition and fee waivers, federal funding, and preparing for life after high school.
Presenter: Kim Peck, Downstate Education and Transition Services Administrator, Illinois DCFS
A New Approach: Helping Students Understand Financial Literacy
Learn about a new financial capability initiative that is offered to students receiving financial aid in Illinois. We will discuss program details and how the Economic Awareness Council, City Colleges of Chicago, and ISAC are partnering together to accomplish this.
Moises Sanchez, Economic Awareness Council
Ivon Guzman, Economic Awareness Council
Avoid the Wrench: Preparing for Verification Before Students Begin the FAFSA
After the decrease in verification requests during the pandemic, we are seeing an increase again. There are many steps that can be taken in the fall while students are preparing for financial aid season to make the verification process go more smoothly, ensuring students are prepared to start college in the fall. Topics will include: the FAFSA parent, sample scenarios for verification, who gets selected for verification, and staying organized through the financial aid process.
Presenter: Vanessa Lee, Director of Teacher Support, One Goal
Beyond a Completion Percentage
Higher education and financial aid is a number driven world that has given us access to a great amount of data, but rarely so individuals know how to interpret the data. Join ISAC to learn how you can look beyond the completion percentages, dig deeper at what the numbers mean, and how to use the data to create equitable and inclusive practices for financial aid application supports.
Presenter: Ana Moya, Professional Development Specialist, ISAC
Engaging Students and Parents in the Financial Aid Process
Join Belvidere High School (BHS) to learn about best practices for engaging students in the financial aid application completion process. Learn more about BHS’ efforts in reaching students and families to help them understand and complete a financial aid application.
Presenter: Emily Owen, School Counselor, Belvidere High School
Empowering Foster Care Youth to Postsecondary Education
Foster Progress, a community-based organization, empowers current and former foster care students in Illinois to pursue a postsecondary degree and transition into adulthood. Hear from the founder and Executive Director Kate Danielson, on the challenges and supports foster care youth encounter during the financial aid process.
Presenter: Kate Danielson, Founder & Executive Director of Foster Progress, Foster Progress
FAFSA Abroad: Using U.S. Federal Student Loans Around the World
Many students from the United States feel restricted in their options for studying a full degree abroad due to the assumed ‘price tag’ of studying abroad. This session will detail how the FAFSA and Federal Student Aid can be used outside of the U.S to make an international education financially attainable.
Presenter: Bridie Troy, Regional Representative and Federal Aid Liaison, University College Dublin
The Financial Aid Process: A Private School's Perspective
At Boylan Catholic High School, a private school in Rockford, Illinois, supporting and engaging students and their families is an importance piece in the financial aid process. Join us to learn about the supports we offer for our students and families, including direct supports for our Spanish-speaking families.
Presenter: Jeffrey Hohn, College Counselor, Boylan Catholic High School
From Expert to Novice: Working with your Financial Aid Counselor and the New FAFSA
Every financial aid professional will be starting from ground zero with the new FAFSA cycle starting in December 2023. This session will offer tips and ways to communicate with financial aid counselors to receive the most timely and important financial aid information with an understanding that the simplified FAFSA has created a new work environment for professionals. It will include how to determine how to communicate, how often, timeframes for awards, and expectations of the type of information financial aid professionals will be able to share.
Presenter: Tim Marten, Financial Aid Administrator, St. John’s College of Nursing and Past President of the Illinois Association of Financial Aid Administrators
Illinois TRIO & You: Illinois Central College’s Approach
Illinois Central College’s Illinois TRIO programs have been leading the way in supporting students through their postsecondary journey for over 20 years. During this session, we will share how Talent Search and Student Support Services provides support for high school and college students through the financial aid process, navigating college, and how schools can collaborate with Illinois TRIO!
Presenter: Jolonda Young, Director of TRIO Talent Search, ICC; Tod Daniels, Director of TRIO Student Support Services, ICC
Illinois TRIO & You: Moraine Valley Community College’s Approach
The Illinois TRIO program at MVCC is supporting first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities in the transition from high school to community college and beyond. Learn how we support students through the financial aid process, navigating college, and how schools can collaborate with the Illinois TRIO program at MVCC.
Misty Williams, Director of TRIO Upward Bound Program, MVCC
Melanie Olivera-Jones, Director of TRIO Talent Search, MVCC
Mattie Payne-Malloy, Director of TRIO Student Support Services, MVCC
Investing in Student Success
The President of ILASFAA will share what financial aid offices want school counselors to know about the financial aid process, how they can serve as a resource to counselors and their students, and how financial aid offices and high schools can partner to support students and families through the financial aid process.
Presenter: Elyse Weller, Director of Financial Aid, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and President of ILASFAA
ISAC’s First Generation Scholars Network
ISAC’s First Generation Scholars Network (FGSN) launched in 2022, with the goal of supporting and connecting first generation college students with one another as they transition to college. Learn more of how the FGSN came to be and how you can get your students and school involved with the network.
Presenter: Abel Montoya, Director of Outreach Operations, ISAC
Overview of New ISAC Programs
ISAC's Division of Program Services & Compliance (PSC) will share the new – and changes to existing - financial aid programs ISAC offers, including, Displaced Energy Workers, Nursing Education, Early Childhood Access, veterans’ programs, and more. We will also discuss, program eligibility and application timelines.
Stephanie Claudio, Training Specialist, ISAC
Sherry Schonauer, Training Specialist, ISAC