May 2024 IllinoisCAN Newsletter

Illinois College Access Network

Illinois College Access Network Newsletter

May 2024

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:
Family Action Network (FAN) Events

ISAC is pleased to continue sponsorship of the Family Action Network (FAN) events, which are always free and open to the public. FAN curates a high-quality speakers series presenting fresh ideas that elevate minds and expand hearts to help create an informed and compassionate community. The upcoming events sponsored by ISAC this month include:
  • Thinking with Your Hands: How Gestures Shape Our Thoughts – Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 7 p.m. on Zoom
  • A Fatal Inheritance: How a Family Misfortune Revealed a Deadly Medical Mystery – Tuesday, May 28 at 7 p.m. on Zoom
If you're not able to attend a scheduled in-person or virtual (Zoom) FAN event, all events are recorded. Visit the FAN website to view the library of past events and recordings.

Seeking ISACorps Applicants StatewidePlease share with college seniors & recent graduates

ISAC is looking for recent college graduates who are passionate about public service and giving back to the community to join the Illinois Student Assistance Corps (ISACorps). ISACorps members provide free assistance to middle and high school students and their families to help them better understand and prepare for education after high school, including help navigating the college and financial aid process.

This is a full-time, salaried position in public service with professional development opportunities, including a tuition waiver at select Illinois public universities and other benefits. Applicants are needed to work in the following areas: Rockford, DeKalb, Kankakee, Peoria, Danville, Springfield, Quincy, East St. Louis, Ullin and Oglesby, IL.

Learn more about the ISACorps Community Outreach Worker position at Questions can be directed to

Better FAFSA Delay Implications on Postsecondary Education

"The timely completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) plays a pivotal role in shaping students' postsecondary journeys. The successful completion of this form supports college access and affordability for diverse student groups. However, the recent changes to the new Better FAFSA form and the delay in FAFSA data have the potential to impact educational outcomes."

Read the recent white paper issued by The Hunt Institute at

New Study From Lumina Foundation and Gallup Finds that Seven in 10 Student Borrowers Have Delayed at Least One Significant Life Event Because of Their Student Debt

"Gallup and Lumina Foundation's newly released report, Cost of College: The Price Tag of Higher Education and Its Effect on Enrollment, examines how cost bars and burdens Americans pursuing higher education. The study reveals that a majority of Americans (75 percent) believe a bachelor's degree is "extremely" or "very" valuable. However, cost is a major deterrent for many who wish to attain a degree or credential.

"More than half (56 percent) of unenrolled adults say cost is a "very" important reason they are not pursuing an education after high school. Cost is not only discouraging people from enrolling, it is stopping students from completing their programs. In the most recent survey, 31 percent of enrolled adults have considered stopping their coursework within the last three months due to the cost of attendance.

"For those who have taken out student loans, the financial burden can persist long after graduation or stopping out. Seventy-one percent of currently and previously enrolled student borrowers report delaying at least one significant life event, such as purchasing a home (29 percent) or a car (28 percent), because of their student debt. The study finds that even relatively small student loans will cause people to pause parts of their lives: Sixty-three percent of adults who borrowed less than $10,000 have delayed at least one major life event because of their loans. Loan debt is also a factor in finishing one's education; 35 percent of students who stopped out of college say that loans prevent them from returning to complete their degree or credential."

Read the report at

Stress, Cost of Higher Ed Remain Greatest Threats to Student Persistence

"Three national surveys published in the past month identify student anxiety as the greatest challenge in their educational pursuits, and the greatest threat to their retention.

"Around one third of students enrolled in a postsecondary program have considered stopping their coursework in the past six months, according to an April 17 report from Gallup and the Lumina Foundation.

"The primary concern among students is emotional stress (54 percent), followed by personal mental health reasons (43 percent) and cost of higher education (31 percent).

"The new report re-emphasizes the role student mental health and financial wellness plays in student enrollment, persistence, and graduation rates. Survey data also highlights the importance of financial aid in keeping at-risk learners enrolled and a greater need for transparency around the cost of higher education."

Read the article at,greatest%20threat%20to%20their%20retention.

Member Announcement from EAB/College Greenlight

"Match, powered by Concourse, is a zero-cost revolutionary platform that aims to reduce barriers in the college admissions process and increase access to higher education. With Match, students receive admission and scholarship offers monthly without ever having to complete an application or pay application fees! This past year, over 80 school districts, high schools, and community-based organizations across Illinois have utilized Match to support their students!

"Match is designed to show students new options that they may not have otherwise considered and to create new opportunities in a time frame that benefits them. Match's mission is simple: increase access to higher education by prioritizing students in the university admissions process, thereby limiting stress and increasing equity.

"If you would like to learn more about the Match program and connect with their team, please reach out to Bridget Bowers ("

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 May 30th to

Find us on Facebook:
  • Like and Follow the Illinois College Access Network page
  • Join the IllinoisCAN Facebook group established for members to connect and collaborate
Share IllinoisCAN with colleagues as we expand to our statewide network.