The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has announced the names of the 2015-16 Illinois State Scholars.
More than 18,800 elite honorees join the other top Illinois high school students honored with the prestigious designation, which was introduced in 1958.
Illinois State Scholars rank in approximately the top 10 percent of the state’s high school seniors, this year representing 671 high schools from across Illinois. Selection is based on SAT, ACT, or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores, and/or on class rank at the end of the junior year. High school guidance counselors work with ISAC to determine the winners.
“It is with great pride that we announce this year’s group of Illinois State Scholars,” said Eric Zarnikow, ISAC executive director. “In addition to congratulating our State Scholars for their commitment and hard work, we also want to commend their parents, teachers, coaches and mentors for helping these students achieve their goals. It really does take a village. We wish all of these scholars the best as they pursue their future education and careers.”
Congratulatory letters from ISAC have been sent to honorees, and the agency has provided personalized certificates of achievement to each high school for distribution, often at school award ceremonies or assemblies. ISAC also publishes a list of current Illinois State Scholars on its website. While this recognition does not include a monetary prize, Illinois State Scholars are encouraged to cite the honor on applications for college admission and scholarships.
ISAC encourages students interested in attending college next fall to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Jan. 1 to determine eligibility for federal and state aid, including Illinois’ need-based Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant. A calendar of free financial aid and college access events, including FAFSA completion workshops to assist students and families with the form, is available on ISAC’s website, www.ISAC.org. Students can visit the agency’s website for a wealth of additional financial aid and college planning information and tools, as well as information on how to access one-on-one assistance and mentoring in the college-going process.