Skip to Content JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act

(last updated October 11, 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.”

Eligible Students

The legislation defines Illinois resident, as the term applies to the RISE Act, as “any person who is deemed an Illinois resident for tuition purposes under state law”. For practical purposes, an eligible student is one who meets the criteria for in-state tuition as defined in Illinois Statute. These criteria were incorporated into ISAC's Administrative Rules, which are anticipated to be effective January 1, 2020.

  • 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 the institution with 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.

Eligible ISAC Programs

The RISE Act extends eligibility for Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) gift assistance programs, including the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program, the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program and others, to those who meet the above conditions, as well as all eligibility requirements for each program. Students are not exempted from meeting existing program eligibility criteria.

RISE ACT Application for MAP

Because the RISE Act opens opportunities for students who are unable to receive federal financial aid, ISAC is creating an Illinois-specific online application. Instead of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), these students will complete the RISE Act application. The data from the application will be used to calculate an expected family contribution (EFC) and determine students' eligibility for MAP. 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 online, interactive RISE Act application will be accessible 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, skip logic will assist the student in completing the RISE Act application.
  • An EFC will be calculated and provided to the college via the Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal, in the format of the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).
  • MAP award amounts will be calculated for eligible students.

Applying for Other ISAC Programs

Applications for ISAC programs other than MAP will be updated as necessary to accommodate the RISE Act provisions. We expect those applications to be available later this fall. As is our practice, we will announce their availability as we open processing for each program for the 2020-21 academic year.

Removal of MAP 75-Hour Cap

The 75-hour cap on MAP paid credit hours for freshman and sophomore students is a policy that was incorporated into ISAC’s rules to help ensure that students, once they reached upper classman status, were not left with insufficient remaining MAP eligibility to apply to all remaining credit hours required for the completion of a baccalaureate degree. Because the policy does not appear in statute, the limitation will be lifted in January to coincide with the Act’s effective date.