CHICAGO—February has been designated Financial Aid Awareness Month (FAAM) by Governor Pat Quinn, marking a period during which Illinois students and families will have the most opportunities to learn about the many financial aid opportunities available to help pay for college, and how to apply for them. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will emphasize “putting your hands on some cash” as part of its KnowHow2Go Illinois initiative focusing on early completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

College costs are rising. According to recently released reports, most students and their families can expect to pay, on average, seven percent more than last year for this year’s tuition and fees, depending on the type of college.

Today, there is more financial aid available than ever before—more than $135 billion, including the State of Illinois’ Monetary Award Program (MAP). Because of financial aid programs, a college education remains an affordable choice for Illinois families. Families of college-bound students, as well as those currently attending college, should complete the FAFSA by the end of February to have the best chance of garnering the financial aid for which they are qualified.

“During these challenging economic times, it is important for students and families to know how to go to college, and getting a handle on the financial aid process is an important part of that,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “During the month of February, ISAC’s support of our mission to make college accessible and affordable will focus on FAFSA completion, and our Illinois Student Assistance Corps (ISACorps) stands at the ready to help students along in the process throughout the state.”

Highlighting Financial Aid Awareness Month is College Goal Sunday, February 21.   College Goal Sunday (CGS) is an effort that helps students and families who need assistance in completing financial aid forms. CGS is typically held a week or two after Super Bowl Sunday and has grown into a nationwide volunteer program as a result of the work of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and Lumina Foundation.

For a listing of Financial Aid Awareness Month events, visit  To complete the FAFSA online, visit

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for over 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling nearly $431 million.

The Commission provides educational funding with student loans and via numerous programs such as the $400 million Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of Web sites available at