Illinois High Schools Honored for Class of 2021 Financial Aid Completion | Community


Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Student Aid Commission (ISAC) in congratulating high schools across the state that have received Recognition of Excellence designation for their efforts to support students and families throughout the financial aid process.

More than 400 high schools will receive a Banner of Recognition of Excellence for Class of 2021 financial aid applications. The schools’ support of their students has helped place Illinois 6th nationally in completion rates from FAFSA high school last year. While filings fell more than 4% nationally, filings in Illinois increased nearly 4% – ranking first among only three states that actually increased their completion rates. year-to-year FAFSA high school education.

Area high schools receiving recognition include Beecher City, Stewardson-Strasburg, Teutopolis, Clay City, Newton, Altamont Community, Effingham, and South Central.

“I’m proud that Illinois is one of the top states in the nation for FAFSA completion — an achievement that wouldn’t be possible without the leaders of our school communities standing up for their students,” Pritzker said. “I offer my congratulations to all of our schools for recognition of excellence. Completing the FAFSA gives students a full picture of the doors they have to furthering their education, and my administration is committed to ensuring that our senior graduates and lifelong learners have access to the support they need to build a good career and a good life.

Through ISAC’s financial aid application completion initiative, the board is able to share data with local school districts on a weekly basis to identify students who have not applied for financial aid. financial aid (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – FAFSA – or, if eligible, the Illinois Alternative Financial Aid Application). This information is used to help reach students who might not otherwise complete an application. This data-matching initiative was so successful that it was used as a model by the US Department of Education for a national curriculum for schools nationwide.

“Spending 30 minutes completing the FAFSA, or for those who are not eligible for Federal Student Aid, Illinois’ Alternative Financial Aid Application, can net students potentially thousands of dollars in financial assistance,” said Eric Zarnikow, ISAC Executive Director. “A student who understands what they could receive in financial aid can discover options for their future that they may not have thought possible. Congratulations to our schools receiving the Class of 2021 Recognition of Excellence for supporting their students on the path to a brighter future. ISAC looks forward to continuing to support all of our high schools and students in their educational planning and financial aid efforts. »

Current financial aid application completion rates (Class of 2022) for all public high schools and for private schools that choose to participate in the program are updated weekly on the ISAC website. ISAC currently highlights on its website and social media every week which high schools achieve designated Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels for financial aid application completion.

The Governor is also supporting this year’s Rock the FAFSA campaign to raise awareness of the importance of completing a financial aid application. While Illinois continues to be among the top states in the nation for FAFSA completion, many students are still missing out on the benefits of this free application that determines eligibility for federal aid, most States and certain institutional aid.

The Illinois FAFSA mandate, which makes financial aid application completion part of the expectation for public high school graduation, recognizes that completing a financial aid application provides a studying essential information about his educational options. A student who is more familiar with the resources available to help them afford an education or training after high school may decide to attempt college when they might not otherwise have done so.

During the Winter/Spring 2022 Rock the FAFSA campaign, high schools are encouraged to communicate to students and families the interest of completing a financial aid form and to host one or more financial aid application preparation workshops at school. The ISAC can support financial aid application completion workshops in schools or virtually and can also provide learning materials if a school wishes to host their own workshop. Schools can request a workshop through ISAC by completing an outreach application and can use the Rock the FAFSA Toolkit to spread the word to students and families.

As always, local members of ISACorps – ISAC’s team of close-to-peer mentors trained to help students and families with college planning and financial aid – are also available throughout the country. to provide free one-on-one assistance to students and families in completing their financial aid application,

For more information on the FAFSA Completion Initiative, including tracking of financial aid application completion for the Class of 2022, a list of 2021 Recognition of Excellence recipients, and information on Rock the FAFSA, visit


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