To help students and families increase their financial aid literacy,
the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is hosting nearly 200
events across the state to offer help in completing the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, and to
provide opportunities to learn about the wide range of college
financial aid opportunities and the college selection and admission
Nearby sites include Champaign, Decatur, East Peoria,
Farmer City, Havana and Normal. A calendar of all events, updated
daily, is available at www.isac.org.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission notes that there are
several sources for non-loan grant aid -- assistance that does not
need to be repaid. The Monetary Award Program is Illinois'
large-scale grant program. For over 50 years, the program has helped
Illinoisans pay for tuition and fees at Illinois colleges and
universities. MAP grants are awarded based on financial need, using
information collected on the FAFSA.
ISAC cautions that this year, more Illinois students are filing
the FAFSA early, and that will likely result in the depletion of
projected MAP grant funds earlier than ever before. In 2012,
students filing a FAFSA after April 2, even if fully qualified, were
unable to receive a grant as funding had already been exhausted.
According to ISAC, even if a MAP grant is not available, many
undergraduate students may qualify for a federal Pell Grant, which
can provide up to $5,645 for students attending a Pell-eligible
institution full time. Pell plays an important role in the total
student financial aid picture. Last year, Illinois students received
nearly $1.3 billion in Pell grants, an amount nearly four times as
great as MAP.
ISAC notes that the FAFSA is the key. Without one, the
opportunities for non-institutional financial assistance are reduced
[to top of second column]
Information on the number of FAFSAs received, as well as the
dollar amount of projected MAP and Pell grants, is posted on the
ISAC website and updated regularly.
The mission of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission,
established in 1957, is to help make college accessible and
affordable for Illinois students. Best known for the Monetary Award
Program, the agency administers most of the state's need-based
financial aid programs that target students seeking postsecondary
education. Since 1957, the commission has provided more than $9.1
billion in grants, scholarships and non-loan aid and has made more
than 4.8 million awards to Illinois students and families.
In addition, ISAC delivers outreach programs and services to
students and education professionals throughout Illinois. Key
outreach services are provided by the nationally recognized ISACorps,
a community-based team of about 85 recent college graduates who
mentor students and work with families to help them make
well-informed decisions about how to prepare for, pay for and attend
college. In 2012, ISAC's College Access & Outreach Staff led,
conducted or assisted with over 4,000 events attended by over
ISAC also administers College Illinois, the state's prepaid
tuition program, which has paid out more than $400 million in
tuition and fees on behalf of over 25,000 students.
Illinois Student Assistance
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]