April is National Financial Literacy Month and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s virtual Money Smart Week® is April 9-16, 2022, offering multiple free opportunities for financial education. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state’s college access and financial aid agency, is participating in Money Smart Week® by offering free resources and tools to help students and families improve financial literacy, and by encouraging and supporting students in completing a financial aid application.
“Particularly after the financial challenges of the last two years resulting from the pandemic, it’s increasingly important to provide opportunities for everyone to improve their financial literacy and to learn to better manage finances,” said ISAC Executive Director Eric Zarnikow. “One role that ISAC plays is to help provide students and families with the objective and accurate information they need to make well-informed decisions about education after high school. That includes ensuring that students know what financial aid is available to them. By completing a financial aid application like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), students may be surprised to learn there are more educational options available to them than they would have considered financially possible.” See the list of events, resources, and assistance available to support financial literacy and college planning:
Money Smart Week® Virtual Events
- Saturday, April 9 – Saturday, April 16 – Money Smart Week® event! Register for a free, virtual Money Smart Week® webinar, April 9 -16, to gain financial knowledge and skills to make better-informed personal financial decisions. Register at www.moneysmartweek.org.
- Monday, April 11, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – ISAC Public Service Loan Forgiveness Webinar. If you work in public service or at a non-profit organization, you might be eligible for student loan forgiveness. Join ISAC for our next free Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) webinar to learn about the PSLF program, eligibility, and the Limited Waiver for PSLF that will allow borrowers to receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for PSLF. The Limited Waiver ends October 31, 2022, so don’t delay! Learn more about these free monthly webinars and register at https://www.isac.org/pslf.
- Wednesday, April 13, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – “Managing College Costs for Students” Virtual Presentation. Join ISACorps members Elizabeth Groves and Sarah Carter as they discuss scholarships, a good financial foundation, and how campus jobs work. Learn more and register at https://services.rockfordpubliclibrary.org/event/6237928.
Free financial literacy, financial aid, and college planning tools, resources, and support services available through ISAC and the U.S. Department of Education
- Free college and financial aid planning and support from your local ISACorps member. The ISACorps are recent college graduates trained by ISAC experts to provide support and assistance as near peer mentors to students in planning for education after high school. The ISACorps provide free in-person and virtual support in communities statewide, offering assistance in exploring and planning for postsecondary education (whether a certificate, degree or other program); career exploration; navigating the financial aid process and assistance in completing the FAFSA or, if eligible, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid; identifying and applying for specialized grants and scholarships, and more. Visit https://studentportal.isac.org/isacorps to find your local ISACorps member, and check out the ISACorps event calendar to find a college planning or financial aid event or workshop near you! https://studentportal.isac.org/Events
- Find scholarships, compare financial aid award letters, calculate financial aid, and more by checking out the tools and resources on the ISAC Student Portal, studentportal.isac.org.
- Play the Claim Your Future® game, https://isac.claimyourfuture.com/ available through the ISAC Student Portal. An interactive experience for middle school and up, the game encourages exploration of education and training after high school, future careers, and money management.
- Check out ISAC College Minute™ videos on the Now Playing section of the ISAC Student Portal, https://studentportal.isac.org/blog to get 1-minute tips on financial aid and college planning topics.
- Get financial aid and college planning questions answered via text through the ISAC College Q&A free text messaging service, https://www.isac.org/collegeqa. ISAC experts respond to questions, and the service also provides important notifications to subscribers about college planning events and deadlines.
- Learn about student loan repayment options and more. While the pause on federal student loan repayment has been extended to August 31, 2022, student loan borrowers should ensure that they know who their loan servicer is, understand the type of loan that they have, and learn about student loan repayment options and forgiveness programs. Visit https://studentaid.gov/h/manage-loans to learn about student loans, repayment, and COVID-19 emergency relief for student loan borrowers.