JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

2024-25 FAFSA, Alternative Application, and Important Dates


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)
New FAFSA® and Alternative Application Now Available

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

General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)


FAFSA and Alternative Application Now Available

The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is now available online, and should be completed as soon as possible by students who will be attending college between July 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025.

With the 2024-25 FAFSA:

  • up to 20 different colleges can be listed on the online FAFSA and have information sent to them;
  • 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,
  • students (applicants) and all contributors (which may include a Student Spouse, Parent, and/or Parent Spouse or Partner) must provide consent and approval for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to send federal tax information directly to the FAFSA via a new interface.

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 Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, as well as several other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance.

When completing the FAFSA online, which is the method that provides the quickest results for the federal application, remember that you (and any contributors, if applicable) must first obtain an FSA ID from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If you obtained an FSA ID from ED to apply for financial aid in a prior academic year, that same FSA ID will be used now to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA.

In addition, the 2024-25 Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (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.

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.

To find an in-person event closest to you and to view a list of virtual events, please visit the Events page at the ISAC Student Portal. In-person events will be conducted in accordance with state and local health guidelines. Advance registration may be required for online events.

English- and Spanish-Speaking Counselors Available to Assist You

If you have questions regarding the financial aid application process and ISAC's programs, you may speak with an ISAC Call Center Representative by calling 800.899.ISAC (4722). Students with general questions may also have a real-time conversation with a Call Center Representative by simply clicking on the "Live Support – Online" button, which appears in the right margin of all pages within the During College and After College sections of the Students & Parents area. 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.

Resources Available at the ISAC Student Portal

Be sure to visit the ISAC Student Portal to access the following helpful resources.

  • For information related to MAP grants:
  • For assistance beyond financial aid:
    • Student Resources Beyond Financial Aid (located in the Resources area) – find resources for food, housing, medical care, child and dependent care assistance and consideration because of special circumstances (includes listings of Illinois food pantries on or near college campuses, as well as across the state).

February 1: Priority Deadline Date for Returning MAP Recipients

Returning MAP recipients (i.e., students who received MAP funds during the prior academic year and continue to meet all eligibility requirements) who submit their FAFSAs or Alternative Applications by that academic year's priority deadline date will receive priority access to appropriated MAP funds.

For the 2024-25 academic year, eligible applicants must have received MAP funds during the 2023-24 academic year and submit their 2024-25 FAFSA or Alternative Application on or before February 1, 2024 (which is the 2024-25 priority deadline date) in order to receive priority access to 2024-25 MAP funds.

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 are currently high school juniors, 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.


March 1: Spring-Term Application Deadline for Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire, or Correctional Officers

March 1, 2024 is the spring- and summer-term award deadline for the 2023-24 Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers and the 2023-24 Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers. Applications received after March 1 will be considered for summer term only awards.

State Scholars Announced

Congratulations to those Illinois high school students who have been designated as State Scholars.

Available again this year is a digital Illinois State Scholar badge issued by ISAC, which State Scholars can display on their online profiles and social media accounts, as well as share with high school counselors, prospective colleges, employers, family members and others. Further details are provided in the congratulatory letters sent to State Scholars throughout the fall of 2023.

Applications for Several 2023-24 Programs Remain Available

If you plan to request funds from any of the following programs for the 2023-24 academic year and have not yet done so, you may still complete and submit an application. Further details – including program descriptions and eligibility requirements – are provided in the Students & Parents area of the ISAC website.

Grant Programs

Scholarship Programs

Loan Repayment Programs

* The deadline to apply for funds for the Fall 2023 term has passed, but there is still time to apply for the Winter/Spring 2024 and/or Summer 2024 terms.

** Although the priority application consideration date for this program has passed, applications will continue to be accepted as long as funds remain after all timely qualified applicants have been awarded.

FAFSA and Alternative Application Remain Available

Although ISAC has suspended the announcement of 2023-24 MAP grants (for all students whose initial 2023-24 FAFSA is received by the federal processor, or whose initial Alternative Application is received by ISAC, on or after September 23, 2023), these 2023-24 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, 2023 and June 30, 2024. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for other forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance. The suspension of 2023-24 MAP award announcements does not impact any other financial aid programs.


Join the First Generation Scholars Network

If you are 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. You'll find events and programs that provide tools, resources, mentoring, and connections that can help make the transition to college life easier.

Holiday Schedules

ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:

  • Monday, January 15, 2024 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Monday, February 12, 2024 – Lincoln's Birthday
  • Monday, February 19, 2024 – Presidents' 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 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.