RISE Act

The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act was signed into law on June 21, 2019.  The RISE Act allows qualifying undocumented and transgender student to apply for state financial aid programs including the State of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP).  Starting Fall 2020, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will also consider RISE-eligible students for institutional financial aid.

RISE-eligible undocumented and transgender students who have not completed a 2020-21 FAFSA and who want to determine their eligibility to complete the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, can review the information at www.isac.org/AlternativeApp. While the Alternative Application itself includes pre-screening questions to determine if a student is eligible to complete it, students are also encouraged to consult their school counselor or financial aid office to determine whether they should complete the FAFSA or the Alternative Application.  Please watch this one-minute video about the RISE Act and Alternative Application in English or Spanish for more information.

Data from the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid will be used to determine MAP eligibility and will be forwarded to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to determine institutional financial aid eligibility.  RISE-eligible students will be considered for up to $5,000 in need-based institutional financial aid through the University of Illinois.  In addition, eligible students will be considered for the Illinois Achievement Scholarship, Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Scholarship, Provost Scholarship, President’s Award Program Scholarship, the University of Illinois Transfer Scholarship, and departmental/college scholarships.

The RISE Act does not exempt applicants from meeting existing program eligibility criteria.

  • Noncitizen students may be eligible to apply for ISAC’s programs if they are “any person who is deemed an Illinois resident for tuition purposes under state law”.  In order to do so, an applicant must meet all of these criteria, which are based on Illinois statute regarding in-state tuition eligibility:
    • the individual resided with his or her parent or guardian while attending an Illinois public or private high school;
    • the individual graduated from a public or private high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Illinois;
    • the individual attended school in Illinois for at least 3 years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma;
    • the individual provides an affidavit stating that the individual will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity the individual is eligible to do so; and
    • the individual has not established a residence outside of Illinois.
  • Transgender students are also included in those eligible to apply for financial aid under the RISE Act.  The RISE Act provides an application process for state financial aid consideration other than using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), which is used to qualify for both federal and state aid. Transgender students may choose the application process that best suits their individual situation.