JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act

(last updated December 4, 2019) This page is updated as new information becomes available during the implementation of the RISE Act; check back on a regular basis.


On June 21, 2019, the Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act was signed into law, with an effective date of January 1, 2020. As described in the enacting legislation, the Act provides that “a student who is an Illinois resident and who is not otherwise eligible for federal financial aid, including, but not limited to, a transgender student who is disqualified for failure to register for selective service or a noncitizen student who has not obtained lawful permanent residence, shall be eligible for state financial aid and benefits…”.

The law further states that these students will be eligible to “apply or receive consideration for any student aid or benefit funded or administered by the State, any State agency, or any public institution of higher learning, including, but not limited to, scholarships, grants, awards, stipends, room and board assistance, tuition waivers, or other financial or in-kind assistance…”

Lastly, there is a provision to “ensure equity, success and the retention of Illinois residents”, by requiring that “a student… may not be subject to any caps on grant assistance under the Monetary Award Program other than those required by State law.” As a result, the 75-hour cap on MAP paid credit hours for freshmen and sophomores will be lifted on January 1, 2020, for the spring semester/second and third quarters of the 2019-20 award year. The overall maximum of 135 MAP paid credit hours remains in effect.

Pathway to Apply for ISAC Programs

The RISE Act creates a pathway to apply for ISAC gift assistance programs for the 2020-21 academic year – including MAP, the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program, the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Programs and others – to those who meet the RISE Act criteria and each program’s eligibility requirements. The RISE Act does not exempt applicants from meeting existing program eligibility criteria.

  • Noncitizen Students

    Noncitizen students may be eligible to apply for ISAC’s programs if they are “any person who is deemed an Illinois resident for tuition purposes under state law”. In order to do so, an applicant must meet all of these criteria, which are based on Illinois statute regarding in-state tuition eligibility:

    • the individual resided with his or her parent or guardian while attending an Illinois public or private high school;
    • the individual graduated from a public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Illinois;
    • the individual attended school in Illinois for at least 3 years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma;
    • the individual provides an affidavit stating that the individual will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity the individual is eligible to do so; and
    • the individual has not established a residence outside of Illinois.

  • Transgender Students

    • Transgender students are also included in those eligible to apply for financial aid under the RISE Act. The RISE Act provides an application process for state financial aid consideration other than using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), which is used to qualify for both federal and state aid. Transgender students may choose the application process that best suits their individual situation.

RISE Act Application for MAP

To accommodate RISE Act-eligible students (both noncitizen and transgender students), ISAC is creating an Illinois-specific online application for MAP. Instead of completing the FAFSA to begin the MAP application process, these students may choose to complete the RISE Act application. The data from the application will be used to calculate an expected family contribution (EFC) and determine students' MAP eligibility. The RISE Act application, patterned after the FAFSA, will be available on January 1, 2020 for the 2020-21 academic year.

RISE Act Application Process for MAP

The following describes in general terms the steps of application completion and the process used to determine MAP eligibility.

  • The RISE Act application will be accessible online through the ISAC website.
  • Pre-screening questions at the beginning of the application will help students determine which application (RISE vs. FAFSA) should be completed.
  • If an applicant’s answers to the pre-screening questions show the RISE Act application should not be completed, a message will advise them to consult their high school counselor, a financial aid professional, or an ISACorps member for assistance in completing the FAFSA.
  • Similar to the FAFSA, students will only complete the RISE Act application questions that are relevant to them.
  • An EFC will be calculated and provided to the college via the MAP component of the Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal as a RISE Act Student Record.
  • MAP award amounts will be calculated for eligible students and provided to colleges via GAP Access.
  • As with all MAP awards, eligibility notification will be provided to the student by the college, not ISAC.

Applying for Other ISAC Programs

Applications for ISAC programs other than MAP will be updated as necessary to accommodate the RISE Act provisions. The applications will be available as we open processing for each program for the 2020-21 academic year. The RISE Act application is for MAP consideration only.