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Monetary Award Program (MAP)

Questions about how MAP is distributed and about Suspense? Watch our short video to learn the basics.

Please note that this video explains how MAP works in a typical year when a final budget is in place.

The number of grants made through this program, as well as the individual dollar amount awarded, are subject to sufficient annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor.

NOTE: in some instances, Illinois students who are not eligible for federal financial aid [and do not file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)] may apply for a State of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant using the online Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act application. More information is available at the RISE Act page of this website. The RISE Act application – which is patterned after the FAFSA – will be available on January 1, 2020 for the 2020-21 academic year for students who meet the definition of “Illinois resident” as it applies to the RISE Act. For these students, references to the FAFSA also apply to the RISE Act application throughout the remainder of this page.

You may either scroll through this page, or click on any of the following links to go directly to a specific topic:

Program Description
Eligibility
How to Apply
Filing Timeline/Suspension of Award Announcements
Priority Deadline Date for Returning MAP Recipients
Award Amount (including Using MAP with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits)
How Funds Are Disbursed
Processing Updates

MAP grants, which do not need to be repaid, are available to eligible Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need, based on the information provided on the FAFSA. You are not required to submit high school grades or test scores when applying for a MAP grant. MAP grants are not limited to traditional college-aged students.  If all eligibility requirements are met, adult and non-traditional students (older than recent high school graduates) may also qualify. MAP grants can be applied only toward tuition and mandatory fees. 

Colleges use the MAP formula to determine eligibility. The formula distributes the appropriated funds so that the neediest students receive grant assistance. Several components are used to determine eligibility, including: information provided on your FAFSA [from which your expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated], the cost of attendance at the college you plan to attend, and the amount of other financial aid you are receiving.

Because MAP funding is historically insufficient to meet the demand, several allocation measures have been put into place to provide for as many awards as possible.  One of those is limiting MAP awards to fall and spring terms only; there are no summer term MAP awards.  Additionally, a suspension date is typically implemented early in the spring term each year, after which time no further awards are announced.

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Eligibility

To be eligible, you must:

*Tracking Eligibility: Eligibility for a MAP grant is tracked by MAP Paid Credit Hours, which are the equivalent number of semester credit hours of MAP benefits paid on your behalf. If you are attending a quarter school, your quarter credit hours will be converted to semester MAP Paid Credit Hours. Please contact your financial aid advisor if you have questions regarding the quarter school conversion.

It is important for you to know the following:

  • Limit for Each Term: Payment for each term is being made according to the equivalent number of credit hours eligible for MAP payment, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 15 MAP Paid Credit Hours. If you are enrolled for the equivalent of 15 or more credit hours, the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours assessed to you will be 15. If you enroll for a different number of credit hours during the various terms of the same academic year, your actual MAP award may be different for each of those terms.
  • Limit for Freshman and Sophomore Students: Continuing through December 31, 2019, there is a limit on the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that can be paid while you are classified by your school as a freshman or sophomore. This limit is the equivalent of 75 MAP Paid Credit Hours. If this maximum is reached, you must attain junior status at whichever school you are (or will be) attending for your MAP grant eligibility to resume. As a result of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act that was signed into law by the governor in June 2019, the limit for freshman and sophomore students will no longer be in effect starting on January 1, 2020.
  • Total Limit: The maximum number of MAP Paid Credit Hours is capped at the equivalent of 135.
  • MAP Paid Credit Hours Adjustments: Once payment processing ends for an academic year, adjustments to the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that have been assessed will not be made for individuals who originally had their expenses (e.g., tuition and fees) covered using those benefits (i.e., you cannot choose to "pay back" the dollar amount of benefits used in order to reinstate MAP Paid Credit Hours).

Track the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that you have used by visiting the ISAC Programs area of the ISAC Student Portal, and then clicking on the “MAP – Check your Paid Credit Hours” box.

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How to Apply

Your eligibility for the MAP grant will be automatically determined if the approved Illinois college at which you plan to use the award is listed on your FAFSA. Students (and parents, as necessary) report their 2017 income information on the 2019-20 FAFSA, while 2018 income information is reported on the 2020-21 FAFSA.

Verification of eligibility, and announcement of an estimated award amount (if any), is performed by the college each academic year. Only if you are eligible will an estimated MAP grant appear on a financial aid award letter from your college. If you are a MAP recipient, refer to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) Rights & Responsibilities document for the appropriate academic year to obtain more detailed information regarding the program.

2020-21
2019-20

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Filing Timeline/Suspension of Award Announcements

Please be aware that, based on application volume and appropriated funds for any academic year, grant funding is likely to be depleted before all eligible applicants can be awarded. When this occurs, ISAC will announce a suspension date. Award announcements for applications received after the suspension date will be placed in suspension status. Students for whom MAP award announcements are in suspension status will not receive MAP grant money, unless additional funding becomes available at a later date.

You are encouraged to complete and submit each academic year's FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1 (for example, the 2020-21 FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible after October 1, 2019).

Priority Deadline Date for Returning MAP Recipients

Beginning with the 2020-21 academic year – returning MAP recipients (i.e., students who received MAP funds during the prior academic year and continue to meet all eligibility requirements) who submit their FAFSAs by that academic year’s priority deadline date will receive priority access to appropriated MAP funds.

For the 2020-21 academic year, eligible applicants must have received MAP funds during the 2019-20 academic year and submit their 2020-21 FAFSA on or before December 1, 2019 (which is the 2020-21 priority deadline date) in order to receive priority access to 2020-21 MAP funds.

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Award Amount

MAP grants can be applied only toward tuition and mandatory fees. MAP grants cannot be used for items such as books, travel or housing. All MAP awards will be paid directly to your college. Your college certifies that you are enrolled and that you meet all other eligibility requirements. You may be required to provide proof of Illinois residency.

MAP grants are funded by the State of Illinois. The actual amount of your award each term depends on the calculation of financial need, the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at your college of choice, the number of hours for which you are enrolled, and other factors related to the amount of funding provided for the program each year.

Each academic year, the amount of your maximum annual award will be the least of (1) the eligible amount as determined by an analysis of financial circumstances, (2) the maximum amount which ISAC allows for tuition and fees at the college, or (3) $5,340**. The total amount of MAP assistance awarded to you in a given academic year, when added to the other financial aid available to you for that year, cannot exceed the cost of attendance at your college.

Use the Monetary Award Program Estimator to estimate the amount of your MAP award. Depending on actual hours enrolled, it is possible that you will receive a different MAP amount during each term of an academic year (for example, if you enroll for 15 hours during the fall term, but 12 hours during the spring term, your spring term award will be less).

Using MAP with Other Tuition/Fee Benefits

If you are eligible for the MAP grant and you are also eligible for any other ISAC-administered program(s) that are designated for tuition and fees [including Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers, Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers, Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW)Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) and/or Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant benefits], all other benefits that are available for the term(s) must be used first. You cannot decline tuition and fee benefits from other ISAC-administered programs in favor of using MAP benefits.

After all other applicable benefits have been used for the term(s), then a partial MAP award may be applied to any outstanding eligible tuition and fees.

Once payment processing ends for an academic year, adjustments to the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that have been assessed will not be made for individuals who originally had their expenses (e.g., tuition and fees) covered using those benefits (i.e., you cannot choose to "pay back" the dollar amount of benefits used in order to reinstate MAP Paid Credit Hours).

**Note: The maximum award amount is dependent on legislative action and available funding in any given year. MAP funding is adjusted annually. Your announced grant could increase or decrease throughout the academic year.

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How Funds Are Disbursed

ISAC works with the college to disburse funds for this program. The college certifies student eligibility and then submits a payment request on behalf of the student. ISAC processes the payment request and submits the information to the State Comptroller’s Office.  Dependent on the level of State of Illinois funding available at the time of request, the amount of time it takes for funds to arrive at the college can vary; at times the delay may be more than six months.

Depending on the college, students may be responsible for payment until program funds are received. Qualified applicants who are awaiting receipt of funds from this program should contact the Financial Aid Office or Business Office to determine the college's policy.

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Processing Updates

Note that ISAC routinely updates this section as new information becomes available. Be sure to check back periodically for the current processing status.

For the 2020-21 Academic Year

(last updated on October 1, 2019):

The 2020-21 FAFSA, used to apply for the MAP grant and many other forms of federal and state financial assistance, is available online at FAFSA on the Web. If you plan to enroll in college during the 2020-21 academic year, you are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA online as soon as possible. While the FAFSA can be completed using either the Internet – including mobile-friendly options – or a paper application, you will receive quicker results and decrease the potential for time-consuming errors by using FAFSA on the Web.

Before you submit your FAFSA online, you (and your parent, if you are a dependent student) must create an FSA ID from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If you obtained an FSA ID from ED to apply for financial aid in a prior academic year, that same FSA ID can be used now to complete the 2020-21 FAFSA.

If you received a MAP grant during the 2019-20 academic year and continue to meet all eligibility requirements, you will receive priority consideration if you submit your 2020-21 FAFSA by the December 1, 2019 priority deadline date for returning MAP recipients.

Students submitting the RISE Act application for MAP should refer to the note at the top of this page for additional information.

For the 2019-20 Academic Year

(last updated on July 10, 2019):

Suspense: 2019-20 MAP Grants

Current Suspension Date: Initial applications received by the federal processor on or after May 27, 2019 are in suspense status.

Partial Release of Suspension: Due to the anticipation of limited funding, and factoring in the earlier availability of the FAFSA (refer to the How to Apply section that appears above for further details), earlier this year ISAC suspended the announcement of 2019-20 MAP grants to all students whose initial 2019-20 FAFSA is received by the federal processor on or after April 29, 2019. Due to additional MAP funding that was included in the fiscal year 2020 state budget, ISAC has released the suspense status for eligible applicants whose initial FAFSA was received by the federal processor from April 29, 2019 up to (and including) May 26, 2019. Impacted applicants will receive notification of their MAP grant amounts from their college.

FAFSAs received at the federal processor on or after May 27 will be placed in a hold status and will not be released for MAP award processing unless additional funding becomes available. Students otherwise eligible for MAP, but whose award announcements are in suspense status, will not receive MAP grant money.

Should additional 2019-20 funding become available and only if you are eligible will an estimated MAP grant appear on a financial aid award letter from the Illinois MAP-approved college listed on your FAFSA. The award letter from your college will be your only notification as to whether you will be receiving a MAP grant for 2019-20.

If you are enrolled for the 2019-20 academic year and have not yet done so, you are still encouraged to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2019-20 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.

Not Impacted by Original Suspension Date: If your initial 2019-20 FAFSA was received by the federal processor on or before April 28, 2019 and you meet general eligibility criteria for a MAP grant, an estimated 2019-20 MAP grant appears on a financial aid award letter from your college.

For information regarding the payment of awards for this program, refer to the How Funds Are Disbursed section that appears earlier on this page.

All MAP grant recipients are encouraged to carefully review the 2019-20 Monetary Award Program (MAP) Rights & Responsibilities document.

Click here to access the FAFSA

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