JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC

08/23/2023

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:

2024-25 (July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025)

2023-24 (July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024)

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)

2024-25 ACADEMIC YEAR

By End of December: 2024-25 FAFSA® Available

As part of implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act, the 2024-25 federal process for applying for financial aid is anticipated to reflect the changes outlined below. Because these changes will take time to properly implement, the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is expected to be available in December 2023 (rather than in October). ISAC anticipates availability of the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid for the 2024-25 academic year to coincide with the launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA.

With the 2024-25 FAFSA:

  • up to 20 different colleges can be listed on the online FAFSA and have information sent to them (in prior years, only ten colleges could be listed);
  • due to a change in the methodology used to determine aid, a Student Aid Index (SAI) – rather than an expected family contribution (EFC) – is used to measure the student's (and, if applicable, the family's) ability to pay for college;
  • the new need analysis formula no longer factors the number of family members attending college into the calculation;
  • separate criteria to determine eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant Program, linking eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level, make program funds available to more students; and,
  • revisions to several of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid are required, including a new interface to directly receive federal tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The Financial Aid: Completing the FAFSA area of ISAC's website is updated on a regular basis as details are released regarding the 2024-25 federal process for requesting financial aid. Students and their families may also wish to visit the Federal Student Aid studentaid.gov website for more information.

FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance.

By June 30: High School Juniors Take College Assessment Exams for State Scholar Consideration

Eligibility for the State Scholar Program is based, in part, on a student's highest qualifying ACT or SAT score. High school juniors who are potential candidates will need to take one of the accepted exams during the specified timeframe to be considered for State Scholar designation, even though Illinois' public institutions are now prohibited from requiring the submission of student test scores as part of the admissions process.

For students who will be high school juniors in the upcoming fall, only exams taken between August 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024 qualify for consideration in the State Scholar announcements that will be made during their senior year (i.e., high school juniors, who will be college freshmen during the 2025-26 academic year, will be named Scholars during the fall of 2024). Further details are provided at the State Scholar Program page of our website.

2023-24 ACADEMIC YEAR

2023-24 FAFSA and Alternative Application Remain Available

The 2023-24 FAFSA remains available online, and – if not already done – should be completed as soon as possible by families of students who will be attending college between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024. Specific details, including links to several online resources, may be accessed via the Financial Aid Planning section (which is located within the Students & ParentsBefore College area). FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for the MAP grant, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance.

In addition, the 2023-24 Alternative Application is also available (in English and Spanish). Qualifying undocumented students may file the Alternative Application – which is patterned after the FAFSA – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act page.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Parent-Specific Resources Available at ISAC's Website

If you are a mom or dad with a student who is college-bound or already in college, you will find information in the Parents section to assist you in helping your child navigate the college process. Examples of the parent-specific resources that are available include a college planning guide, information about saving for college, and specifics regarding federal PLUS loans.

Remember, too, that much of the college-related information you need to know is located in the Before College, During College and After College sections of the Students & Parents area.

ISAC Student Portal Provides MAP Resources

Encourage your student to visit the ISAC Student Portal to access these helpful resources related to 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 remaining.

First Generation Scholars Network

If your child will be the first in your family to earn a college degree, encourage them to join the First Generation Scholars Network to get support and resources from ISAC, theirr peers, and colleges across the state. If they are heading to their first year of college this fall, they'll find events and programs that provide tools, resources, mentoring, and connections that can help make the transition easier.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, September 4 – Labor Day
  • Monday, October 9 – Columbus Day
  • Friday, November 10 – Veterans Day (observed)
  • Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, November 24 – Day after Thanksgiving
  • Monday, December 25 – Christmas
  • Monday, January 1 – New Year's 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).

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 [email protected].