JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC

05/20/21

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:

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)

2022-23 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023)

GENERAL INFORMATION

Illinois Postsecondary Profiles Tool Available

Through a collaboration with several other state agencies, ISAC has recently made the Illinois Postsecondary Profiles (IPP) tool available via our website. This online resource offers postsecondary institution-specific data to help students and their families explore Illinois college options based on area of study, future occupation, school size and location, and other factors. Further details – including information about the Institutional Profiles, Occupational Profiles and Regional Profiles areas of the site – are provided in an April 6 e-Message.

Student Job Board Provides Leads for Summer Employment/Internships

Students seeking summer jobs or internships are encouraged to check out the Student Job Board, which may be accessed via the Toolbox area of the ISAC Student Portal. A variety of job types from all areas of the state are listed and are updated on a regular basis.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Available for Eligible Households

The Emergency Broadband Benefit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helps eligible households afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting them to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and more. Further details, including eligibility requirements and instructions for requesting the benefit, are provided at the Emergency Broadcast Benefit page of the FCC website.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day
  • Monday, July 5 – Independence 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

Graduating from College This Spring?

Review MTI Scholarship and SETTW Program Requirements

If you received awards from the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship or Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) programs, review the program requirements to make sure you fulfill all obligations and prevent your award from converting to a loan.

In addition, check out the Teaching page for resources to help you find a job and manage any student loan debt.

Make Plans for Student Loan Repayment

Note: In addition to the below, which describes student loan repayment under normal circumstances, be sure to also visit ISAC's Student Loan Repayment during the Coronavirus Outbreak page for information specific to the current times.

College seniors with student loans who will graduate at the end of the spring term are reminded to contact the holder of their loans to make repayment arrangements. For questions about the identity/location of your loan servicer(s), loan amounts and outstanding balances, access "My Federal Student Aid" via the Federal Student Aid website or the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®).

Federal student loans offer multiple payment options based on the borrower's financial situation. Information regarding available loan repayment plans can be found at the Federal Student Aid website. In preparation for contacting your servicer to set up your repayment schedule, we encourage you to research the available options to learn which may work best for you. In addition, be sure to check out loan forgiveness/cancellation options when considering your employment and repayment plans.

Before your first payment is due, you typically will be given a grace period of six months, starting the day you drop below half-time enrollment. If you miss or fall short of a payment, your loan will become delinquent and may even default. A defaulted loan will have a negative impact on you, costing you more money and leaving you with a bad credit rating for up to seven years after the loan is paid in full. To help manage your student loan debt and avoid default, stay in touch with your lender or servicer.

June 15: ING Grant Summer Term Application Deadline

June 15, 2021 is the final date summer term applications will be accepted for the 2020-21 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program.

Because this is an entitlement program, eligible recipients will receive their awards regardless of annual funding through the state budget process. Illinois public two- and four-year colleges are required to waive any eligible tuition and allowable fees that are not covered by state funding.

June 15: Police, Fire, or Correctional Officer Grants Summer Term Application Deadline

June 15, 2021 is the final date summer term applications will be accepted for the 2020-21 Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers and the 2020-21 Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers.

2021-22 ACADEMIC YEAR

State Scholars Announced

Congratulations to those Illinois high school students who have been designated as 2021-22 State Scholars. After a months-long delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, qualified students were designated as 2021-22 State Scholars in April (i.e., high school seniors, who will be college freshmen during the 2021-22 academic year, were named Scholars during the spring of 2021). A listing of State Scholars – displayed alphabetically by high school, within each school's county – may be accessed via the "Featured" area of our website home page.

In order to best accommodate students impacted by the irregular standardized test (ACT and SAT) schedules caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ISAC will include for 2021-22 State Scholar consideration results of tests taken from August 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020. Students who believe they may qualify as 2021-22 State Scholars based on scores ISAC has not yet received (for tests taken between August 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020) must contact their high school counselors, who will follow the proper procedures to determine whether the test scores in question can be considered.

FAFSA and Alternative Application Still Available

The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and the 2021-22 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (see note, below) are still available online, and – if not already done – should be completed and submitted as soon as possible by students who will be attending college between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for several forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance, including the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant.

ISAC is dedicated to helping educate students and parents about all aspects of financial aid. We devote resources to public outreach activities to help families plan for college. Public awareness and education regarding our programs is our priority as we provide students and their families with the most current information available. For example, the ISACorps – ISAC's group of recent college graduates – are trained to serve as near peer mentors to high school students. Please note that, until otherwise indicated, all outreach events will continue to be done virtually.

NOTE: Undocumented students and transgender students meeting the criteria of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act may file the Alternative Application – which is patterned after the FAFSA and available in English and Spanish – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's RISE Act page.

Now Available: ING Grant Application

A May 18 e-Message announces that the interactive application for the 2021-22 ING Grant Program is now available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. Use the 2021-22 application to apply for the fall 2021, spring 2022 and summer 2022 terms.

If you have not already done so, be sure to create a profile in the ISAC Student Portal. Once you have a profile, you can return to the Student Portal to check your application status, verify the number of ING Grant eligibility units you have remaining or, if necessary, print a duplicate copy of your ING Grant eligibility notification.

Because this is an entitlement program, eligible recipients will receive their benefits regardless of annual appropriations through the state budget process. Illinois public two- and four-year colleges are required to waive any eligible tuition and allowable fees that are not covered by state appropriations.

By End of May: Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers Application

The 2021-22 application for the following programs is anticipated to be available via the Applications area by the end of May.

MTI Scholarship Applications Still Being Accepted

The 2021-22 MTI Scholarship Program application continues to be accepted, even though the March 1, 2021 priority consideration date has passed. Complete applications received after that date will be considered for the MTI Program only if funding remains after all applicants whose applications were timely and complete have been awarded. All minority students who meet the program's eligibility requirements are encouraged to complete and submit the application to ISAC as soon as possible.

2022-23 ACADEMIC YEAR

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

Eligibility for the State Scholar Program is based, in part, on a student's highest qualifying ACT or SAT score. For current high school juniors, only exams taken between August 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 qualify for consideration in the 2022-23 State Scholar announcements that will be made during your senior year (i.e., fall of 2021). Further details are provided at the State Scholar Program page of our website.

COVID-19 Impact on Designation of State Scholars

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement or cancellation of many spring 2020 college entrance exams (i.e., ACT and SAT). While we remain hopeful that – dependent upon improving pandemic conditions – college entrance exams will take place as scheduled throughout 2021, ISAC staff continues to monitor the situation. The State Scholar Program page of our website will be updated as needed with related information.

You are receiving this message because you registered for ISAC's e-Messaging service through the Students 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), sending an e-mail message to isac.studentservices@illinois.gov or chatting live with one of our representatives through the "Live Support-Online" button in the Students & Parents area of our website

Get information anytime about the college-going process and ISAC programs on ISAC's website and Student Portal, both accessible at isac.org.