The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid

The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act, which went into effect January 2020, means that if you are an Illinois resident but ineligible for federal financial aid, you may still apply for state assistance.

You may be able to complete the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, rather than the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA).

Who is eligible?

Generally, Illinois residents who are undocumented and transgender students who have not registered for selective service will still be able to apply for aid through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Transgender Students

According to the RISE Act, if you are eligible to file the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid as a transgender person, you do not have to register for Selective Service in order to qualify for Illinois state aid. However, you will not be eligible for federal student aid if you are required to register for Selective Service but do not do so.

Undocumented Students

For eligible non-citizens to apply for a MAP grant through the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You resided with your parent or legal guardian while attending a public or private high school in Illinois.
  • You graduated from a private or public high school, or received the equivalent of a high school diploma, in Illinois.
  • You had attended school in Illinois for at least three years as of the date you graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma.
  • You will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity you are eligible to do so. By signing the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, you will be providing an affidavit stating this intention.
  • You have not established a residence outside of Illinois or hold a visa from another country.

 

How to Apply

You'll complete the application online. You'll need to provide tax and/or income information, as well as records of investments and/or untaxed income, if applicable. You'll need to provide this information for your parent(s) as well, if you're a dependent.

You'll also need to provide a valid email address, so that a PIN can be sent electronically to sign the application. If you're a dependent, you must provide a separate email address for your parent(s).

  1. Visit the application on ISAC.org.
  2. Complete pre-screening questions.
  3. Create a profile on the state portal.
  4. Provide student and parent (for dependents) data.
  5. Review, sign and submit.

Contact Us

Financial Aid and Scholarship Office
Swen Parson Hall 245
815-753-1395
finaid@niu.edu

For scholarship-specific questions

scholarships@niu.edu

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