ISAC Announces Monetary Award Program Suspension

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 20, 2010.  The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has suspended Monetary Award Program (MAP) award announcements for 2010-2011, effective Monday, April 19, based on record need and the assumption of level funding at approximately $400 million.

“For those who apply after the suspense date, it’s like being on a waiting list.  As we approach the limit of anticipated funding, we need to be very cautious about spending more than we have,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis.  “The state’s funds available for MAP are limited.  Unfortunately we can only help as many students as our resources will allow.”

The agency projects MAP-eligible students to number 409,000. Approximately 189,000 will have applied before the suspension date and could claim a MAP grant. ISAC estimates that a record 220,000 eligible applications received after the suspense date will go unfunded.  Of these, 142,000 will be community college students.

The commission expects to make 137,000 awards during the upcoming academic year, based on a 70 percent claim rate—down from an estimated 140,000 in FY2010 and 144,230 in FY2009.

“Given our current funding model, the state’s ability to fund the program is at its lowest point at precisely the time when the demand for student financial aid is at its highest,” Davis continued.  “We have been working on a proposal to find additional revenue sources for the program to help meet this unprecedented demand.”

On March 26, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission gave agency staff the authority to suspend award announcements based on an appropriation level that is the same as the 2009-10 academic year. The governor’s proposed FY2011 budget calls for level funding of $400 million for ISAC to distribute for student financial aid.

The maximum award a student may receive through MAP is $4,968, and the mean award has historically been between $2,600 and $2,700.  The last time the Commission paid out each of the claims it received with no award suspensions was the 2000-01 academic year (139,421).  The maximum MAP award that year was $4,740, which was equal to the mean tuition and fees at an in-state, public university.

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. The commission continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by administering over 183,000 grants and scholarships  totaling over $430 million in FY2009 alone.

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 Web sites available at