CHICAGO — The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) says time is running out to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid if students would like to be considered for state Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants. That’s because eligible applications are up nearly 37 percent over last year, according to the agency’s research, planning and policy analysis division.
“It might take some time to complete the application, but look at the up side,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “How many forms can you complete with the chance to receive as much as $10,000 in federal and state grants for college on the other end? It’s well worth the time investment, and it’s important to fill out the application as soon as possible.”
Statewide, as of March 12, 168,421 Illinois undergraduate residents had completed a FY2011 FAFSA and expressed interest in attending a MAP-eligible school, a 25 percent increase over last year. The number of applicants eligible for an award is 115,758 compared to 84,764 last year.
In Chicago, where ISAC has partnered with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to provide data on FAFSA completion that allows for early intervention, FAFSA completion percentage is up nearly 15 percent (58.6 percent on March 24, 2010, vs. 44.1 percent on March 25, 2009). Of those submitting an application, more than 80 percent are eligible for a federal Pell grant and over 65 percent are eligible for a MAP grant.
Since 2007, CPS has partnered with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for data analysis of those completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), allowing the district to effectively track its students and ensure those eligible for financial aid have the best chance at receiving it.
“Statewide, our college access and outreach division has done tremendous work in working with local partners in affecting these numbers, especially for underserved populations and first-generation college-goers,” Davis continued. “The efforts of the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools are a tremendous example of intergovernmental cooperation at all levels: a local school district utilizing a state agency to crunch federal data to benefit students. This is how government for the people should work.”
“We thank CPS for being such a willing partner in financial aid awareness and welcome the opportunity to work with other school districts on similar projects,” concluded Davis.
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 over 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling nearly $431 million.
The Commission provides educational funding with student loans and via numerous programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and College Illinois! ® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program. 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.