September 2023 IllinoisCAN Newsletter

Illinois College Access Network

Illinois College Access Network Newsletter

September 2023

Welcome to IllinoisCAN's monthly newsletter.

The mission of IllinoisCAN is to improve postsecondary access and success for low-income and first-generation college students in Illinois. IllinoisCAN builds the capacity and effectiveness of college access organizations to help students reach their goals. IllinoisCAN monthly newsletters are intended to be for us and by us – professionals around the state working to improve college access.

In this issue:
SAVE THE DATE: Nov. 1st Virtual IllinoisCAN meeting

Please mark your calendars for IllinoisCAN's fall meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 1st from 8:30-10 a.m. The meeting link will be shared closer to the date.

Illinois Treasurer Launches "First Steps" College Savings Program

"State Treasurer Michael Frerichs encourages new parents to open a Bright Start or Bright Directions college savings account and claim their $50 seed deposit from the new Illinois First Steps program. To qualify for the $50 seed deposit, parents or legal guardians must be Illinois residents at the time of birth or adoption, the beneficiary child must be born or adopted after Jan. 1, 2023, open a 529 college savings account with Bright Start or Bright Directions, and a claim the seed deposit before the child's 10th birthday."

Read the full article:

Taking care of siblings? Put it on the Common App

"Richard Weissbourd, Ed.D.'87, senior lecturer and faculty director of Making Caring Common, and Trisha Ross Anderson, Ed.M.'10, MCC's college admissions program director, discuss a new tool they are piloting with the Common App, which will allow college applicants to provide more diverse information about their life circumstances – information like time spent taking care of siblings. Through the Common App, students can apply to multiple colleges and universities at the same time."

Read the interview:

Student Loan Payments Are Looming. The Debt Burdens Black Women Years After Graduation.

"With student-loan payments set to resume in October, Naomi Harris, reporter on race and equity, set out to talk to a population especially hampered by debt: Black millennial women. A dozen years after they start college, Black women owe an average of 13% more than they first borrowed. After the same period, white men have paid off an average of 44% of their debt."

Read the full article:

Student Wellness Tip: Aiding Students with Homesickness

"Homesickness is a common problem among new students at college. One in four students experiences moderate homesickness, and 3 percent experience extreme levels of separation distress, according to a 2016 study published by Project MUSE. Among those students, female students, those from out of state or first-generation students were more likely to feel homesick."

Read about ways to support students experiencing homesickness:

As Enrollment Lags, Colleges Send Acceptances to Students Who Haven't Applied

"Students are twice as likely to take steps toward enrollment at a college that offers them direct admission, according to a new, national Common App study."

Read the full article:

Seventy Percent of College Seniors with Student Debt Say Looming Repayments Will Impact Their Career Plans

"Many of today's college undergrads have gone through school knowing student loan payments were on pause indefinitely and the prospect of widespread cancelation was closer to becoming reality than ever.

But that all comes to an end soon – interest accruals resume on Sept. 1 and payments will be due in October for the first time in over three years. Now, the class of 2024 is already preparing for a financial shock.

Just over half of next year's college graduates expect to carry student loan debt, and within that group, almost 70% say their debt will influence the jobs they consider after graduation, according to Handshake's latest report that surveyed 1,148 students in the class of 2024."

Read the CNBC report:

Do you have events, news, requests, or resources to share with college access colleagues?

IllinoisCAN monthly newsletters are intended to be for us and by us – professionals around the state working to move college access forward. For inclusion in the next newsletter, send content by September 25th to

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© 2023 Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)