adds new service to College Zone
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[MARCH 7, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Student Assistance
Commission, the state of Illinois' centralized agency responsible
for administering and promoting student financial aid programs, has
unveiled an addition to its services available on the Web. In
addition to providing comprehensive information for students and
families on how to plan for, find, apply for and pay for a college
education, students now can also research career options and
complete a skills assessment test that will help match their skills
to possible careers.
online service, accessed through
http://collegezone.com/, is aimed at students in eighth grade
through high school and beyond and is a free tool for career and
college planning. Students can take virtual campus tours of Illinois
colleges and universities, research colleges' admission
requirements, complete online admission applications, and
communicate directly with school counselors via e-mail.
introducing the College Zone website in 2003, ISAC has continued to
upgrade the technology and interactivity for visitors to the site,"
explained Larry E. Matejka, executive director of the
Illinois Student Assistance Commission. "IllinoisMentor is
one more resource for students, families, and guidance counselors
that will help bridge the gap as they learn more about how to pursue
a college education. Our goal is to provide one more tool to
students who still think that college may be unattainable -- and
help them make college a reality."
To promote the new IllinoisMentor, the Illinois Student
Assistance Commission will be asking high school guidance counselors
to encourage their students to visit
those guidance counselors who request a College Zone promotional kit
from ISAC during February and March 2006, their high school will be
entered into a drawing. Twelve Illinois high schools, one from each
of the commission's 12 regions throughout the state, will be
randomly selected to win two Dell computers. One computer must be
stationed at the high school so that all students have access to
other computer, in a random drawing open to all students, must be
given to a student attending the winning high school. The commission
expects to announce the winners and award the free Dell computers
Expanding the College Zone site at this time is appropriate since
it is traditionally a critical point in helping students apply for
both college admission and financial assistance. The Illinois
Student Assistance Commission encourages students and families to
complete financial aid applications now.
In conjunction with the
College Awareness and
Preparation project, the commission worked with its partners in
the financial aid community to present over 50 financial aid
workshops across the state during the month of February. Students
and families were invited to attend these free workshops open to the
public. More information is available by clicking on
Students and families may also call the Illinois Student
Assistance Commission toll-free at 800-899-ISAC  to speak with
a College Zone counselor for assistance in learning about the
financial aid process; to access information on the commission's
scholarship, grant and loan programs; and to receive more
About College Zone
College Zone is a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to
"everything college." As a service of the state's Illinois Student
Assistance Commission, College Zone offers helpful resources in
specific "zones" for students, parents, guidance counselors,
financial aid administrators and lenders. A special section on the
College Zone site is available in Spanish for students and parents.
College Zone includes phone and e-mail support, walk-in centers
located on every community college campus, and written materials in
both English and Spanish.
IllinoisMentor's resources for students
Career information -- Learn how the career center can help
students choose a career.
Career self-assessment -- Discover how to explore careers by
identifying personal interests and skills.
Career matching assistant -- Find a career best suited to
each student's interests and skills (career data provided by the
Illinois Department of Employment Security).
List of careers --
View a comprehensive list of careers by
alphabetical order or
clusters (career data provided by the Illinois Department of
Links to career resources -- Visit other Web resources for
information on jobs, internships and volunteering resources.
My Mentor careers -- Store the results of a student's career
[to top of second column]
High school planner -- While still in high school, students
can plan ahead to meet college entrance requirements.
Planner timeline -- Students can find out what they should
be doing each year of high school to best prepare for college.
counselor -- Students can include their high school
counselor in their plans for college by allowing him or her to
view their "My Mentor" section of
Find a college
Applications and transcripts
- Applications and transcripts -- Students can apply online
and request their official transcript be sent electronically to
the colleges of their choice. Students may complete, manage and
submit their admission applications from this area of the
IllinoisMentor's help for parents
Financial aid -- Parents can find out about all the types of
financial aid --
-- and how they can help finance a college education.
Scholarship search -- Use the free, reputable scholarship
search services to locate available programs, based on personal
Calculators -- Parents can use calculators to estimate the
amount of state and federal financial aid their child may
qualify for, the monthly student loan payment amount once it
enters repayment, the monthly payment amount on a graduated
repayment plan, and more. In addition, the
Loans Over Projected Earnings calculator can be used to
determine what percentage of a student's income will be taken up
by student loan payments, based on the student's career choice,
and how that will affect their monthly budget and future
borrowing for high-ticket items such as cars and homes.
About the Illinois Student Assistance Commission
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is the state's
centralized provider of financial assistance, aimed at helping
students and families access postsecondary education and training.
Each year, the commission awards an estimated $400 million in
scholarship and grant aid to nearly 185,000 qualified students and
also provides an additional $1 billion to borrowers through its
student loan programs. The agency offers credit-based alternative
loans through the nonprofit student loan secondary market, the
Illinois Designated Account Purchase
Program; a 529 prepaid tuition program known as
Illinois; and a broad array of outreach and informational
services to ensure that families have access to the information they
need to pay for a college education. More information is available
by calling toll-free (800) 899-ISAC  or visiting the agency
site at http://collegezone.com.
[Illinois Student Assistance
Commission news release]