JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Monetary Award Program (MAP)

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.

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
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 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (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 Student Aid Index (SAI) 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.

Return to top

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen or meet the “undocumented student” criteria of the RISE Act
  • be an Illinois resident (if you are a dependent, the parent whose information is used on the FAFSA must be an Illinois resident)
  • demonstrate financial need
  • be enrolled a minimum of 3 hours per term at an approved Illinois college, in a degree or certificate program (includes credit bearing certificate programs that are offered at public institutions and are less than one academic year in length)
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by your college
  • not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant (if you are in default, you may re-establish your MAP eligibility).
  • not have received a bachelor's degree
  • not have used the equivalent of 135 MAP Paid Credit Hours* or more (MAP Paid Credit Hours usage is determined by your enrollment status each term)
  • not be incarcerated

*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.
  • Total Limit: The maximum number of MAP Paid Credit Hours is capped at the equivalent of 135. Eligibility may be extended for one additional term if you have accumulated fewer than 135 MAP Paid Credit Hours but do not have enough credit hours of payment remaining for the number of hours for which you are enrolled for the term.
  • 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 remaining by visiting the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal, and then clicking on the “MAP – Check your Paid Credit Hours” box.

Return to top

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 or, for some students, on the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application).

If you are an undocumented Illinois student who is not eligible for federal student aid, and do not file the FAFSA, you may apply for the MAP grant using the Alternative Application, which is patterned after the FAFSA.

More information is available at the Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act page.

Regardless of the application used, 2022 income tax information for you (and your parents, as necessary) is used for the 2024-25 application, while 2021 income information is reported on the 2023-24 application.

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 notification 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.

2024-25

2023-24

Return to top

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.

ISAC has suspended the announcement of 2023-24 MAP grants for applicants whose initial 2023-24 FAFSA is received by the FAFSA Processing System (FPS) – which was the Central Processing System (CPS) prior to December 2023 – or whose initial Alternative Application is received by ISAC, on or after September 23, 2023.

You are encouraged to complete and submit each academic year's FAFSA or, if applicable, Alternative Application, as soon as possible after it becomes available, which is typically October 1 (for example, 2023-24 applications should be submitted as soon as possible after October 1, 2022). Due to implementation of elements of the FAFSA Simplification Act, the 2024-25 FAFSA became available in December 2023 (rather than in October). The Alternative Application for the 2024-25 academic year is also now available.

Priority Deadline Date for Returning MAP Recipients

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 applications by that academic year’s priority deadline date will receive priority access to appropriated MAP funds. Note that a returning applicant's failure to complete the FAFSA or Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid by the announced priority date does not disqualify any applicant from receiving a grant if sufficient funding is available to provide awards after that date. MAP dollars are awarded equitably to qualified applicants, based on the formula, regardless of their returning status.

In light of the delayed launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA and subsequent persistent technical issues, as well as processing delays announced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the priority date for returning MAP recipients was moved from February 1 to April 1, 2024.

Return to top

Award Amount

MAP grants can be applied only toward tuition and mandatory fees. Mandatory fees are those assessed by a college that are required to deliver educational services to students for each term, regardless if the student is attending on-campus or through distance education. Examples include fees for activities, facility operations, grants, health, registration, technology, transportation and – when applicable – fees associated with online learning. 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 maximum annual award amount for which you are eligible depends on the calculation of your financial need and the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at your college of choice. The amount of the MAP grant award that you will actually receive per term will be prorated based on the number of credit hours in which you are enrolled. You must be enrolled in at least 15 semester hours (or the equivalent at a quarter school) to receive the maximum amount for which you qualify per term. If you are enrolled in less than 15 hours, you will receive 1/15 of your eligible amount for each credit hour in which you are enrolled. You must be enrolled for a minimum of three credit hours to receive a MAP award.

Each academic year, the amount of the maximum annual award for which you are eligible will be the least of:

  1. the amount determined by an analysis of your financial circumstances,
  2. the maximum amount which ISAC allows for tuition and fees at the college, or
  3. $8,400 for the 2023-24 and subsequent academic years*.

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 maximum annual award amount for which you may be eligible. 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). You must be enrolled for the equivalent of at least 15 credit hours to receive the maximum award amount for which you qualify each term.

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.

Return to top

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.

Return to top

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 2024-25 Academic Year

(last updated on April 4, 2024):

The 2024-25 FAFSA, used to apply for the MAP grant and many other forms of federal and state financial assistance, is available to complete online. In addition, the 2024-25 Alternative Application, also used to apply for the MAP grant by some students, is available online (refer to the “How to Apply” section of this page for more information).

If you plan to enroll in college during the 2024-25 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/PDF application, you will receive quicker results and decrease the potential for time-consuming errors by using the online option.

Before you submit your FAFSA online, you (and any other contributors, if applicable) 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 2024-25 FAFSA.

Regardless of the application used (FAFSA or Alternative Application), colleges receive information about applicants' 2024-25 MAP eligibility.

If you received a MAP grant during the 2023-24 academic year and continue to meet eligibility requirements, you will receive priority consideration if you submitted your 2024-25 application by the April 1, 2024 priority deadline date for returning MAP recipients.

For the 2023-24 Academic Year

(last updated on June 6, 2024):

If you received a MAP grant during the 2022-23 academic year and continue to meet all eligibility requirements, you will receive priority consideration if you submitted your 2023-24 application by the December 1, 2022 priority deadline date for returning MAP recipients.

Suspense: 2023-24 MAP Grants

Suspension: September 22, 2023 was the last day for students to apply for 2023-24 MAP grants by submitting an initial 2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or, if eligible, an Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. Announcements of awards for students whose FAFSAs are received by the federal processor or whose Alternative Applications are received by ISAC after that date will be put "in suspense" – basically, a waiting list for 2023-24 MAP. Applications received on or after September 23 will be placed in suspense 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 2023-24 funding become available and only if you are eligible will an estimated MAP grant appear on a financial aid award notification 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 2023-24 MAP grant.

If you are enrolled for the 2023-24 academic year and have not yet done so, you are still encouraged to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible (the last date on which the 2023-24 Alternative Application was available to complete and submit was June 5, 2024). FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2023-24 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.

Not Impacted by Suspension: If your initial 2023-24 application was received on or before September 22, 2023 and you meet general eligibility criteria for a MAP grant, an estimated 2023-24 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 2023-24 Monetary Award Program (MAP) Rights & Responsibilities document.

Click here to access the FAFSA

Return to top