JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC

09/02/2020

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) would like to make you aware of the following information, which may be of interest to students and their families.

Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at ISAC's website (isac.org).

You may either scroll through the remainder of this message, or click on the appropriate link(s) to go directly to a specific section:

COVID-19 Resources and Updates

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)

2020-21 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021)

2021-22 (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022)


COVID-19 RESOURCES AND UPDATES

Although we are working differently during this time, we want students and their families to know that ISAC continues to be here to answer your questions and to support all Illinoisans with college planning and financial aid. Find important resources and the latest updates at the College-Going and Financial Aid Resources and Services During the Coronavirus Outbreak page of our website.


GENERAL INFORMATION

ISAC Student Portal Provides MAP Resources

Encourage your student to visit the ISAC Student Portal to access these helpful resources related to Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants:

  • MAP Estimator (located in the Toolbox area) – students planning to attend an Illinois college may use this tool to get an idea of their eligibility for the MAP grant, and
  • MAP Paid Credit Hours Display (located in the Program Applications & Status Checks area) – MAP grant recipients may use this option to track the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours they have used to date.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, September 7, 2020 – Labor Day
  • Monday, October 12, 2020 – Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – Election Day
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2020 – Veterans Day

Staff will again be available the first business day immediately following each holiday.

For Assistance

Access ISAC's website anytime, or send an e-mail message to the ISAC Call Center. With the exception of days when ISAC staff members are unavailable, we will review and respond to messages during regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT.


2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR

2020-21 FAFSA® and Alternative Application Remain Available

Although ISAC suspended the announcement of 2020-21 MAP grants [for all students whose initial 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is received by the federal processor, or whose initial Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid is received by ISAC, on or after July 1, 2020], these 2020-21 applications remain available online. If not already done, an application should be completed and submitted as soon as possible by students who will be attending college between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2020-21 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.


2021-22 ACADEMIC YEAR

Start Planning Now for 2021-22 Academic Year

FAFSA Available on October 1 – Make Sure FSA ID is Ready

This is the time for high school seniors planning to start college in the fall of 2021, and their parents, to create an FSA ID, to be used in October when completing the FAFSA. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for the MAP grant, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. Be sure to submit the 2021-22 FAFSA, which will require 2019 income information, as soon as possible after it becomes available on October 1, 2020.

Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid

Undocumented students and transgender students meeting the criteria of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act may file the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid – which is patterned after the FAFSA – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details, including access to the 2021-22 application (anticipated to be available on October 1, 2020), are provided at the RISE Act page.

Outreach Resources, Including ISACorps Information, Available Online

Visit the Before College section of the Students & Parents area to learn about the many outreach initiatives offered by ISAC. Along with online resources to explore careers, find colleges, and learn about applying for financial aid, you'll find information about the ISACorps, which is a group of recent college graduates who are trained to serve as near peer mentors to high school students, helping students and their families navigate the process of applying to and entering college.

We are currently working on our fall schedule, and soon will be updating our calendar of events – be sure to check the calendar regularly for the most up-to-date information. All 2020 events are anticipated to be done virtually.

In addition, you and your student can view recordings of our Spring 2020 Facebook Live events via the Now Playing section of the ISAC Student Portal.

Beware of Scams

If your son or daughter plans to attend college during the 2021-22 academic year, now is the time to start searching for scholarships to help fund their education. As they conduct scholarship searches, remind them to beware of financial aid "scams." There are many reputable resources available, including the College Greenlight tool that may be accessed via the Resources portion of the ISAC Student Portal, scholarship books in your local library's reference section, and the financial aid office at the college they plan to attend.

In addition, if your child is a borrower who will soon be entering the repayment phase of their student loans, encourage them to be on the lookout for debt relief scams. Borrowers should never pay for information about how to repay their student loans, and they should learn about their repayment options and contact their loan servicer directly to arrange repayment. Further details are available in the Repaying Your Student Loans section of the Students & Parents area. Borrowers should also visit ISAC's Student Loan Repayment during the Coronavirus Outbreak page for information specific to the current times.

English- and Spanish-Speaking Counselors Available to Assist You

If you or your student have questions regarding the financial aid application process, you may utilize the online chat option (simply click on the "Live Support – Online" button that appears in the right margin of all pages within the "During College" or "After College" sections of the Students & Parents area) for general inquiries, or speak with an ISAC Call Center Representative by calling 800.899.ISAC (4722). English- and Spanish-speaking counselors are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (CT).

An ISACorps member in your area can also assist you with the financial aid process.

COVID-19 Impact on Designation of State Scholars

ISAC is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the postponement or cancellation of many college entrance exams (i.e., SAT and ACT ), the results of which will be used when selecting 2021-22 State Scholars. The State Scholar Program page of our website will be updated if further information becomes available, based on the status of the college entrance exams.

You are receiving this message because you registered for ISAC's e-Messaging service through the Parents subscription group.

If you have any questions regarding this e-Message, please contact the ISAC Call Center by calling toll free at 800.899.ISAC (4722) or sending an e-mail message to isac.studentservices@illinois.gov.