Illinois Financial Aid Awareness Campaign Seeks to Help Students and Parents ‘Shake Up the FAFSA’ – Kane County Connects
the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Student Aid Commission (ISAC) collaborate on the new Rock the FAFSA Illinois campaign – designed to connect students and their families through valuable student loans.
The target audience is students, parents, schools and communities, and its goal is to raise awareness of the importance of completing a financial aid application.
The state offers free statewide help for students and families to complete their applications, and high schools are encouraged to hold one or more financial aid end-of-application workshops for their students and families from 15th to 15th. March 29 Rock the FAFSA Illinois Week, either virtually via ISAC, or alone.
Schools or community organizations wishing to organize a virtual workshop at the end of financial aid with the ICCS to Rock the FAFSA Illinois Week should plan with ISAC now by emailing [email protected] If a school wishes to host its own financial aid completion workshop, ICCS can provide learning materials.
Local ISACorps members are also available to provide free one-on-one virtual assistance to students and families in completing their financial aid application, studentportal.isac.org/
“The best way to create a stronger future for our state is to invest in our young people, giving them the tools they need to believe in themselves and the opportunities to achieve their dreams,” Governor JB Pritzker said. “The Rock the FAFSA Illinois campaign has the potential to make higher education possible for students who would otherwise have assumed the door was not open to them.”
Illinois continues to be among the top states for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA®, the form that determines eligibility for federal, most state, and some institutional financial assistance. But the vast challenges families faced in the aftermath of the pandemic have upset some students’ post-secondary education plans, and distance learning has made it more difficult to reach many students to ensure they are have adequate information on post-secondary options and financial aid.
For most students, completing a financial aid form is an essential part of the path to post-secondary education.
“As the end of the school year approaches, I encourage schools to start working with students on their FAFSA applications if they haven’t already. The FAFSA plays an important role in providing students with the help they need to go to college, so it’s important to maximize that every student who is even considering going to college fulfills the application, ”said State Senator Cristiana Castro (D-Elgin).
This is the first year of the state’s new FAFSA tenure, which requires public high school students in Illinois to complete an application for financial aid as a prerequisite for earning a high school diploma. Most students should complete the FAFSA; eligible students who are not eligible for federal student aid can apply for state and / or school funded aid through the Illinois Alternative Financial Aid Application. (A parent, guardian, or student – if they are 18 or emancipated – can withdraw from the mandate by completing an opt-out form.)
“Most students will be eligible for some form of financial aid, but you can’t get financial aid if you don’t apply,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of ISAC. “Completing a FAFSA or alternative application gives a student options. Whether you are considering a two- or four-year degree or technical or vocational training – knowing what kind of financial aid you can get for your studies will allow you to make more informed choices about school – and may open up options you didn’t think it would be possible.
Incorporating a financial aid request with a high school graduation expectation may increase awareness of the resources available to help students pay for post-high school education or training, perhaps helping some to decide to go to college when they might not have done it otherwise.
The FAFSA or alternative application takes about 30 minutes for most students. ICCS continues to offer one-on-one assistance as well as free virtual workshops to complement statewide financial aid applications, studentportal.isac.org/events, in addition to the workshops it hosts for individual schools and school districts.
High schools are encouraged to participate in their own friendly FAFSA completion competitions among themselves during the Rock the FAFSA countryside. Illinois public high schools, as well as participating private high schools, can view their weekly FAFSA completion rankings on the ISAC website at: https://www.isac.org/home/
Starting March 8, ISAC will highlight high schools that are reaching certain milestones in FAFSA completions.