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For details regarding the current status of program funding levels for a specific academic year, see the Processing Updates section of this page.
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If you are the beneficiary of an Illinois College Savings Bond, you may be eligible to receive a Bonus Incentive Grant (BIG). The amount of your grant will depend on the amount of the bond, ranging from a $40 to $440 grant per $5,000 of the bond. As explained in the Official Statement that is provided to bondholders at the time of purchase, all grants made under the BIG Program are subject to annual appropriation by the Illinois General Assembly.*
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Illinois College Savings Bonds are available on the State of Illinois Web site.
The qualified bondholder must:
A student beneficiary must:
Note: Both the proceeds from the bonds (70 percent must be used for educational purposes) and the BIG funds must be used by the student beneficiary in either the academic year in which the bond matures, or the academic year immediately following maturity. For example: If a bond matured
To apply, you must work with your college to complete and submit an application for the BIG Program, in order for the complete application to be submitted to ISAC as soon as possible after it becomes available. ISAC will continue to accept applications until, based upon each academic year's application volume and annual appropriations, all available funding has been awarded. During periods when applications are being provided and accepted by ISAC, you may download and print the application via this website, or request an application from ISAC. Complete applications must be submitted (via fax or mail) to ISAC's Deerfield office. Included on the application is a section for a representative from the college Registrar's Office to provide ISAC with verification of the student's enrollment and program eligibility. In order to be considered complete, an application submitted to ISAC must have the bondholder, student beneficiary and college's information.
You must apply for this program as soon as possible after the application becomes available in the academic year in which the bond(s) matured, or in the academic year immediately following maturity. Applications typically are made available the first business day that falls on or after August 1 - for information regarding application availability in a specific academic year, refer to the Processing Updates section of this page. You must submit a new application each year you wish to be considered for a grant. Because the number of grants awarded each year is based on limited funding, it is likely that not all applicants who meet eligibility requirements will receive a grant. Complete applications will be processed according to the date they are received at ISAC.
Typically, the money used to award grants through this program is funded via annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor. Grants are made until all appropriations (i.e., money) have been fully awarded (i.e., until no money remains).
For each academic year in which awards will be made, applicants are encouraged to work with their college to ensure that completed applications are submitted as soon after the application becomes available as possible.
Note that ISAC routinely updates this section as new information becomes available. Be sure to check back periodically for the current processing status.
For the 2011-12 Academic Year
Program Funding: In July 2011, legislation regarding the fiscal year 2012 (FY2012) state budget was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. The FY2012 budget determines funding levels for 2011-12 programs that are administered by ISAC. The BIG Program received funding as part of that budget.
This page will be updated if the program's funding status changes.
Operational Update: Due to limited funding and high application volume, ISAC has determined that the number of applications received for the 2011-12 BIG Program exceeds the available appropriation. Therefore, the application to apply for the BIG Program during the 2011-12 academic year is no longer available.
Complete applications are processed according to the date they are received at ISAC's Deerfield office. Student beneficiaries who are approved for payment receive a copy of the voucher that is submitted to the State Comptroller for payment. The State Comptroller's Office typically sends a check within a minimum of six to eight weeks from the date listed on the voucher, however delays may occur. Please check the State Comptroller's website for updates regarding the status of payment processing by following these steps:
Applicants who are not approved for payment will receive notification from ISAC beginning the week of September 12, 2011.
For the 2012-13 Academic Year
Contingent upon funds being appropriated, it is anticipated that the 2012-13 BIG Program application will be available to download and print on Wednesday, August 1, 2012. This page will be updated as more details become available.
To view a listing of Illinois colleges approved to participate in this program, click on the link for the appropriate academic year:
© 2003-2012 Illinois Student Assistance Commission