Welcome to the Counselor Zone
At your fingertips, High School Counselors/Personnel, College Admission Counselors, library and community agency staff have access to a centralized source of information concerning college planning, paying for school, and career planning information for students and their parents, as well as information concerning ISAC's programs, processes, and resources.
Counselor Message Board
The Counselor Message Board is updated each week. New messages for the week are identified by the symbol. Items under the More section, located toward the bottom of the page, provide links to information on topics that were recently listed on this Message Board.
In observance of the Presidents' Day holiday, ISAC offices will be closed on Monday, February 21, reopening on Tuesday, February 22. Access information on this website anytime, or send an e-mail message to a School Services Representative for questions or inquiries.
The 2011 Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC) annual conference, "Going the Extra Mile for Students," will be held May 4 - May 6 at the Westin Chicago Northwest (Itasca). Details, including session titles and registration information, are available at the Conference area of the IACAC Web site. Be sure to register by the March 31 deadline in order to avoid paying a late fee.
The proposed omnibus rules and amendments for ISAC-administered programs for the 2011-12 academic year, as published in the January 21, 2011 Illinois Register, can be accessed from the e-Library's ISAC Administrative Rules page. Also available at the same page are highlights of the proposed omnibus rules and amendments. Note that, while the Illinois Register cover and Table of Contents list proposed changes for other agencies, only information pertaining to ISAC-administered programs is included in the College Zone posting. Details regarding the public comment period are also included. The 2011-12 proposed omnibus rules and amendments have an anticipated effective date of July 1, 2011.
You may have families asking how college tuition payments will impact their taxes. Refer them to the 2010 Higher Education Tax Benefit Guide, which is available for students and parents at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) website. This document provides general guidance to federal education-related tax benefits, and includes links to more detailed information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Another valuable resource is the IRS Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center.
Remind your college-bound seniors that the 2011-12 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available online, and should be completed as early as possible. Although taxpayers claiming the higher education tuition and fees deduction may need to delay the filing of their tax returns until mid- to late-February as a result of recent changes to the tax law, families in this situation should be encouraged to complete the FAFSA with estimated tax information so as not to delay its filing. Several resources are available to assist students and their families with the financial aid application process, including: an ISAC Outreach/Activities Calendar that lists FAFSA completion seminars and other events taking place across the State of Illinois; FAFSA on the Web Worksheets (in English and Spanish), which can help streamline the FAFSA process; and a recent U.S. News & World Report article that provides tips for avoiding errors on the FAFSA.
Details regarding the application cycle, which may be helpful as you assist students with the financial aid process, are provided within the 2011-12 FAFSA Completion section of the e-Library.
Remind your college-bound seniors who plan to teach in Illinois after completing their degree that March 1, 2011 is the priority consideration date to apply for the 2011-12 Illinois Future Teacher Corps (IFTC) Program (for college juniors and above), Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program, and Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program. Applications for each of these programs can be accessed online.
Mailing labels (in ZIP Code order) of 2011-12 State Scholar finalists are available from ISAC, at cost, to Illinois colleges, universities, high school counselors, and Regional Superintendents. Orders for mailing labels must be received at ISAC on or before March 31, 2011.
As a reminder, an online listing of 2011-12 State Scholars, displaying each State Scholar alphabetically by high school within the school's Illinois county, is available within the Student Zone. The online listing replaces the paper roster that was available to order in previous years.
Online registration is open for Series 2 (Expert Guide and FAFSA Expert Training) and Series 3 (Financial Aid Packaging and The University Billing Cycle) of ISAC's Professional Development Opportunities! The sessions take place through late March (Series 2 continues through February, and Series 3 is in March), and are approved for Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDU) as authorized by the Illinois State Board of Education, and also for Professional Counselor/Clinical Counselor Continuing Education (CE) credit as authorized by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations. Details - including locations, dates, and online registration - are provided via the ISAC Professional Development Opportunities, 2010-2011 area of the e-Library's Partner Training section.
2011-12 State Scholars
(Announcements and Sample Press Release)
2010-11 ISAC Administrative Rules
2010-11 Illinois Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholars
College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program
State Legislative Update
U.S. Department of Education's Federal Aid First
Federal Student Aid's FAFSA4caster
FAFSA Completion Information
Most Recent ISAC Communiqué: