Decatur, Ill.–Illinois Student Assistance Corps (ISACorps) members are being deployed in every community college district throughout Illinois and will begin work Monday, September 14, following completion of a final workshop in Decatur.
Funded by the federal College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP), the Corps bolsters the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s ability to provide high-quality personal service to students in every single community in the state, increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.
Millikin graduate Alex Berry, who hails from Redmon, Ill., will serve the Richland Community College district along with Chicago native Michael Richards, who graduated from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).
“Anyone who wants to go to college should be afforded that opportunity. The Illinois Student Assistance Corps will give me the chance to help high school students by giving them the tools needed in order to prepare for college,” Berry said.
“All of the experiences that I have had through high school and college will influence the advice that I give to students I work with. I will try and relate my experiences to their lives in order to give them more relevent information,” added Richards.
Corps members will serve a two-year commitment that included completion of an initial seven-week summer “boot camp” in addition to ongoing training. Corps members will be assisting students in career exploration, college selection, test preparation, scholarship searches, application completion and the college financial aid process.
“Against a landscape of recession, unemployment, tightening credit markets, spiraling tuition and cuts in state aid, it’s more important than ever to promote higher education and provide prospective college-goers with support,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “It’s a case of paying it forward. So many of the Corps members talk passionately about how they needed help navigating through the process as they prepared to go to college. Now they want to help.”
Elizabeth Henkel, a Dixon resident who graduated from Millikin, looks forward to serving the Sauk Valley district, while Morris native and fellow Millikin graduate Jaclyn Smith will serve the Joliet district.
“I am so grateful for the help the I received in financing my education and now I cannot wait to be able to show other young people how to receive the same help,” Smith explained.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain financial aid for higher education. A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for more than 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing over 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling $431 million.
The Commission provides educational funding with student loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of websites available at www.knowhow2GOIllinois.org.
Interested students and families should visit the new Web site, www.WhatsnextIllinois.org. A listing of Corps assignments throughout Illinois with contact information follows.
ILLINOIS STUDENT ASSISTANCE CORPS DISTRICT ASSIGNMENTS