FAFSA

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is holding its fourth annual "College Changes Everything" month.

The campaign consists of workshops around the state covering college admissions and applying for financial aid. Lynne Baker is the communications director for the agency. She says the campaign is catching on.

“We have over 300 high schools and 215 towns and cities in Illinois that have scheduled either a college application and/or a FAFSA completion workshop this fall. More are being scheduled every week,” she said.

Report Highlights Higher Ed Inequity In Chicagoland

Jul 17, 2019
Photo by Spencer Tritt

Even with Chicagoland students in the same income range, white students have a much greater chance of getting a degree than students of color.

That’s according to a new report from the non-profit Partnership for College Completion. The group just released a report highlighting college access and success disparities in northern Illinois.

It finds gaps exist regardless of academics and have more to do with race and family income levels.

Illinois lawmakers want to make it easier for marginalized college students to qualify for financial aid.

The federal government moved up the date that students can submit the Free Application For Federal Student Aid. 

The old FAFSA application period opened on January 1, and you couldn't complete the form until you filed your taxes. But as of last year, the federal government decided to accept "prior prior" tax returns, which meant families could file as early as Oct. 1. Carolyn Schloemann, financial aid director at the University of Illinois Springfield, said some people take that start date very seriously.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is helping families with college-bound students as part of College Changes Everything Month.

Spokeswoman Lynne Baker said the commission is offering free workshops around the state to help students complete their applications and FAFSA forms. 

FAFSA Filings Down Significantly In Illinois

Jun 27, 2017
Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

The volume of applications in Illinois for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is down about 14 percent from last year, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

The decrease in filings follows the Department of Education's recent changes to encourage more people to submit them; the filing window is open earlier, and the application does not require people to update it with 2016 tax information.

Eric Zarnikow is the executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

If you have a student who might be eligible for a MAP grant next year, you’re about out of time to get your financial aid application in.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission — the state agency that administers MAP grants — announced Tuesday that the deadline for applications for MAP will be Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.

The cut-off date varies according to expected funding and numbers of applications.

Families need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA.

Illinois officials say college students should continue to apply for financial aid, even though the state budget impasse has put grants for needy students on hold.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is encouraging students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The form determines if a student is eligible for most financial aid programs, including the Illinois Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants.

U.S. Department of Education Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org

Illinois students will get a hint about how they scored on the PARCC test — the standardized test based on the Common Core — when statewide results are announced today. State officials have warned that scores will be lower than with previous tests. But U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says it’s time for an honest assessment.

“It’s so important that we tell the truth to parents and to students about are they on track to be successful in college or not,” Duncan says. "And many states, including Illinois, dummy down those standards to make politicians look good.”