Students and Parents
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Free Services Available from ISAC for Students, Schools and Staff
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state’s college access and financial aid agency, provides services available at no cost to students, staff or schools:
· What’s Next Illinois: ISAC’s online career exploration and college planning website, including free ACT test prep and resources for counselors (https://secure.whatsnextillinois.org/).
· Electronic Transcript Exchange: A FERPA-compliant process enabling high schools to send transcripts electronically to over 250 colleges at no cost to the student or high school.
· FAFSA Completion Initiative: A means for high schools to identify which of their students have completed the FAFSA in pursuit of financial aid for college. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key application for students to access federal, state and institutional financial aid programs.
· College Application Month: An American Council on Education campaign to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a postsecondary credential. October 2013 has been designated College Application Month in Illinois to encourage students who typically apply to college late in the process, or who don’t apply at all, to apply in a timely manner. To register your high school for an Illinois College Application Month 2013 event and review the Application Month Tool Kit, visit www.collegechangeseverything.org/appmonth/.
· ISACorps: Recent college graduates who assist high school and younger students with career exploration, college selection, test preparation, scholarship searches, application completion and the financial aid process. They can provide presentations and workshops on a variety of topics.
Student Scholarship/Competition Opportunities
- (new) Applications for the 2014 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for middle level and high school youth volunteers are available online at http://spirt.prudential.com. The application deadline is Nov. 5. The awards are sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
- (new) Registration is under way for the annual First Freedom Student Competition, a national essay and video contest for high school students, which asks students to examine the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom. The deadline to register is Nov. 18. For more information, visit www.firstfreedom.org.
- (new) The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency‘s Student Historian Program invites students in grades 6-12 to compete in the annual Illinois History Expo. For more information about the 2014 contest, visit http://www.illinoishistory.gov/PDF/2014%20ILHistory%20Expo%20Flyer%20Final%20.pdf.
- The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth is sponsoring a new competition for aspiring scientists ages 13-18. For more information about the CTY Cogito Research Awards, which will provide funds and mentors to up to 10 students, visit https://cogito.cty.jhu.edu/?p=39168.
- The Cyber Aces Foundation invites students to register for the Illinois Cyber Aces State Championship. The free statewide competition aims to discover and develop the state’s top cyber talent. To learn more, visit www.cyberaces.org.
- To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will hold a variety of educational events designed for students this fall, including a webcast, a workshop, an essay contest and a “Gettysburg Address Puzzle Competition.” For more information, call (217) 558-8953 or email email@example.com.
- Registration is under way for the annual First Freedom Student Competition, a national essay and video contest for high school students, which asks students to examine the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom. The deadline to register is Nov. 18. For more information, visit www.firstfreedom.org.
- The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children, with particular attention given to those whose parent has been killed or wounded in combat, or who have demonstrated financial need. Learn more at http://www.mcsf.org/.
- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and its foundation are planning a variety of events this fall for the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, including an essay contest (http://www.alplm.org/272.aspx), a workshop, a webcast and more. For more information, visit http://www.illinois.gov/alplm/GettysburgAddress150/Documents/GettysburgAddressinvitation.pdf.