Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC
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)
2022-23 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023)
General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)
By End of December 2023: 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 your (and, if applicable, your 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. You may also wish to visit the Federal Student Aid studentaid.gov website for more information.
By End of May: ECACE Scholarship Application
The 2023-24 application for the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program is anticipated to be available via the Applications area by the end of May. Be sure to review the 2023-24 eligibility requirements to determine whether you may be eligible for this program.
By End of May: ING Grant Application
The interactive application for the 2023-24 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program is anticipated to be available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal by the end of May 2023. Use the 2023-24 application to apply for the fall 2023, spring 2024 and summer 2024 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, receipt of benefits does not depend on the annual 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 2023-24 application for the following programs is anticipated to be available via the Applications area by the end of May 2023.
- Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers
- Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers
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 prohibited from requiring the submission of student test scores as part of the admissions process.
For current high school juniors, only exams taken between August 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 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 2024-25 academic year, will be named Scholars during the fall of 2023). Further details are provided at the State Scholar Program page of our website.
MTI Scholarship Applications Still Being Accepted
The 2023-24 application for the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program continues to be accepted, even though the March 31, 2023 priority consideration date has passed. Complete applications – including the 2023-24 FAFSA (or Alternative Application, if applicable) – received after this date will continue to be considered for the MTI Scholarship Program for as long as funding remains after all timely complete applicants have been awarded. All minority students and qualified bilingual minority applicants who meet the program's eligibility requirements are encouraged to complete and submit their applications as soon as possible.
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 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 & Parents – Before College area). 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.
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.
Spring 2023 Graduates Reminded to Review Program Requirements
If you received awards from any of the programs listed below and are no longer enrolled (or will soon no longer be enrolled), review the program requirements to make sure you fulfill all obligations and prevent your award from converting to a loan.
- Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program
- MTI Scholarship Program
- Nursing Education Scholarship Program (NESP)
In addition, check out the Teaching page for resources to help you find a job and manage any student loan debt.
May 15: ECACE Applications Due
In order to request funding for the fall 2022, winter/spring 2023, and/or summer 23 terms, the 2022-23 ECACE Scholarship Program application process – which includes submitting both the 2022-23 ECACE Scholarship application and the 2022-23 FAFSA – must be completed no later than Monday, May 15, 2023.
Be sure to review the 2022-23 eligibility requirements to determine whether you may be eligible for this program.
June 15: ING Grant Summer Term Application Deadline
June 15, 2023 is the final date summer term applications will be accepted for the 2022-23 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, 2023 is the final date summer term applications will be accepted for the 2022-23 Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers and the 2022-23 Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers.
2022-23 FAFSA and Alternative Application Remain Available
If you are enrolled for the 2022-23 academic year and have not yet done so, you are encouraged to submit your FAFSA (or, if applicable, Alternative Application) as soon as possible. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for federal, state and institutional financial assistance.
Join the First Generation Scholars Network
If you will be the first in your family to earn a college degree, join the First Generation Scholars Network to get support and resources from ISAC, your peers, and colleges across the state. If you are heading to your first year of college this fall, you'll find events and programs that provide tools, resources, mentoring, and connections that can help make the transition easier.
Find Leads for Summer Employment/Internships
Students seeking summer jobs or internships are encouraged to follow the "Internship and Summer Jobs" link from the Toolbox area of the ISAC Student Portal.
ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:
- Monday, May 29 – Memorial Day
- Monday, June 19 – Juneteenth
- Tuesday, July 4 – Independence Day
Staff will again be available the first business day immediately following each holiday.
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).
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.