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 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.

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

August 28: Post-Master of Social Work School Social Work Professional Educator License Scholarship Program Applications Due

The application for the 2023-24 Post-Master of Social Work School Social Work Professional Educator License Scholarship Program is available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. The priority application consideration date for the 2023-24 academic year is August 28, 2023. Complete applications submitted after that date will be considered only if available funding remains after all timely complete applicants have been awarded.

November 15: Community Behavioral Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program Applications Due

The application for the 2023-24 Community Behavioral Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program is available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. The priority application consideration date for the 2023-24 academic year is November 15, 2023.

Now Available: Displaced Energy Worker Dependent Transition Scholarship Application

The application for the 2023-24 Displaced Energy Worker Dependent Transition Scholarship Program is available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. Use the 2023-24 application to apply for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 terms. The application priority consideration date for full-year and fall-only awards is October 1, 2023.

Now Available: Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers Application

The application for the 2023-24 Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers and the 2023-24 Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers is available to download and print via the Applications page of the Students & Parents area. Use the 2023-24 application to apply for the fall 2023, spring 2024 and summer 2024 terms. The application priority consideration date for full-year and fall-only awards is October 1, 2023.

Now Available: Grant Program for Exonerees Application

The application for the 2023-24 Grant Program for Exonerees is available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. Use the 2023-24 application to apply for the fall 2023 and spring 2024 terms (the grant is not available for summer terms). Applications are processed in date-received order ("first come, first served"). Because program funds are limited, those meeting the program's eligibility requirements are encouraged to complete and submit the application as soon as possible.

Now Available: ING Grant Application

The application for the 2023-24 Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program is available to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. Use the 2023-24 application to apply for the fall 2023, spring 2024 and summer 2024 terms.

As explained in a June 16 e-Message, there are no longer priority consideration dates by which ING Grant applications must be submitted each term. Rather, ING Grant applications must be received by ISAC in time for eligibility to be determined and the applicant to then notify the college about their eligibility no later than the last scheduled day of classes for the first term for which benefits have been requested.

In addition, applicants must have a profile in the ISAC Student Portal in order to complete and submit the ING Grant interactive application (applicants cannot access the application as "guests"). 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.

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 & 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. The Alternative Application is for MAP consideration only, and is also used in conjunction with the MTI Scholarship application to determine MTI Scholarship eligibility. Further details are provided at ISAC's Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act page.

GENERAL INFORMATION

August 24: "Return to Repayment" Webinar

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that interest on student loans will resume starting on September 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October.

Join us from 4-5 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, August 24, 2023 for a free webinar regarding how student loan borrowers can prepare for repayment to resume. Further details – including how to register – are provided in a July 31 e-Message.

Further details and Frequently Asked Questions can be found on ISAC's Return To Repayment page, as well as at the StudentAid.gov website.

ISAC Student Portal Provides MAP Resources

Be sure to visit the ISAC Student Portal to access these helpful resources related to MAP grants:

  • MAP Estimator (located in the Toolbox area) – if you are planning on attending an Illinois college, use this tool to get an idea of your eligibility for the MAP grant; and,
  • MAP Paid Credit Hours Display (located in the Program Applications & Status Checks area) – if you are a MAP grant recipient, use this option to track the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours you have remaining.

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.

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 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 [email protected] 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.