Illinois Student Assistance Commission releases B4College smartphone app

Free app sends personalized information directly to students' mobile devices

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[April 25, 2013]  DEERFIELD -- This week the Illinois Student Assistance Commission launched the first free smartphone app specifically designed to help Illinois students plan, prepare and pay for college. The B4College app sends personalized notices directly to students who download and install the app on their mobile device.

"Just as technology is invaluable in the classroom, students are turning more and more to mobile devices for their social and information-gathering activities," said Eric Zarnikow, ISAC executive director. "B4College provides individual students with highly personalized content on topics they self-select as part of their college preparation process."

Developed in-house by ISAC's College Access and Outreach, IT and Research, Planning and Policy Analysis teams, B4College automatically delivers relevant, timely and personalized alerts to college-bound students. Currently the application sends two types of user-selectable alerts: FAFSA completion reminders and alerts about local ISACorps and other agency outreach events.

Zarnikow noted that several factors made development of a smartphone app possible. "B4College leverages ISAC's unique data-handling capability and custom data sets to generate notices to individual students based on their location and FAFSA filing status.

"B4College allows ISAC to share some of its institutional knowledge accumulated over 50 years of helping to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students," Zarnikow added. "We want to put that experience to work in a way that makes sense for today's students and today's technology."

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Zarnikow added that the B4College app will continue to be enhanced, expanding the number of services available to today's always connected students.

Currently available for Android smartphones at Google Play, an iPhone version will launch in early summer. A Facebook account is required to use the app. Additional information, including an introductory video and link to Google Play, is available on ISAC's website,

Established in 1957, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission has as its mission to help make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students through administration of need-based grant and scholarship programs, outreach efforts across the state, and by offering College Illinois!, the state's 529 prepaid tuition plan. The commission has provided more than $10.4 billion in grants, scholarships and non-loan aid to over 4.8 million Illinois students and families.

[Text from Illinois Student Assistance Commission file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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