SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) today recognized 18,178 high school students from across the state as Illinois State Scholars 2008.
Illinois State Scholar winners rank in the top ten percent of the state’s high school seniors from 711 high schools in all 102 counties. Selection is based on SAT, ACT and/or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores, and/or class rank at the end of the junior year. High school guidance counselors work in conjunction with ISAC to determine the winners. At least a half million Illinois State Scholars have been recognized in the past 49 years.
“These students personify excellence,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis, whose agency has overseen the Illinois State Scholars program since 1958. “Illinois State Scholars are among the best and the brightest in our state’s high schools. We salute them, along with their partners in reaching for the stars - their families and teachers - for this stellar achievement.”
While the prestigious recognition does not provide a monetary award, winners are encouraged to cite the award on applications for college admission and scholarships.
“Competition for college admission and financial aid is tough and is getting tougher. Illinois State Scholar awardees have shown they can hit the books, so I ask every Illinois college president to put Illinois State Scholars at the top of the list for admission,” Davis said. “These students are shining examples that hard work pays off.”
Congratulatory letters from ISAC and Certificates of Achievement have been mailed to each high school for distribution to each scholar.
Davis urged all high school students and their parents visit collegezone.com to learn more about the many college financial assistance programs available. The innovative site also offers career-counseling services, a college planning timeline, virtual campus tours and online applications.
Created in 1957, ISAC is the state’s central provider of college aid. The agency oversees the Monetary Award Program (MAP), Illinois Veteran Grant, and service-related programs to encourage students to pursue careers in teaching or nursing. Last year, ISAC issued 185,000 grants totaling $448 million and guaranteed $1.2 billion in loans. Its 529 prepaid tuition program – College Illinois! – has allowed more than 27,000 Illinois families to prepay more than $1 billion in tuition and fees.