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Financial Aid for New Students
The Office of Financial Aid is committed to helping you and your family apply for and receive financial aid…before you enroll and in future years! In the fall of 2018, 90% of students applied for financial aid, with over 75% of them qualifying for need-based aid. Over 85% of first-year students received merit-based aid.
Regardless of your income, if “cost” is a factor in deciding where you will enroll, be sure to complete the financial aid process outlined below, so that our office can provide you with details of your eligibility!
Below is the process for U.S Citizens and Permanent Residents.
Details for international students
Details for undocumented students
|Fall 2019 FAFSA Deadlines|
Illinois residents: Nov 15
|Fall 2019 Instructions|
Step 1. Complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA
…even if you have not applied or been admitted.
Step 2. (Optional) Complete ”special circumstance forms”
Step 3. Locate outside scholarship funds
Step 4. Review “What Happens Next” (below)
|Your Award Letter|
Once you have been admitted and submitted all financial aid documents, we will prepare an “award letter” showing the aid you qualify to receive. Details are on your Admissions Portal.
Please let us know if you do not wish to receive your Award Letter online, or text message alerts related to financial aid.
How to Read Your Award Letter provides you with descriptions of the aid we have offered, financial aid policies related to that aid, and other important information.
We may require additional information from you at some time in the process. If so, we will also use email to let you know. We may even send an occasional text message to alert you to an important e-mail we have sent. Need to submit the V-1 Verification Worksheet? Click here. Other forms we may have asked for are found here.
Compare Award Letters
Not all awards from various Colleges are presented equally, making an “apples to apples” comparison more difficult. Make sure you clearly identify “free funds” (grants and scholarships) and loan funds. One school’s offer of $40,000 in financial aid that includes $10,000 in loans is similar to another school’s offer of $35,000 in financial aid with $5000 in loans.
Take time to see which offer truly makes the most sense for you/your family, based on the resources you have available. Create a spreadsheet of your own, or use a tool such as those created online by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or FinAid.org the College Board’s comparison tool.
When using these tools, consider including only “direct costs” of tuition, fees, room and board to show differences in what you will owe each college. Consider other “real costs” like books, travel and personal expenses separately, based on your best estimate or those provided by each college/university.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, Illinois residents are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to be considered for the Illinois MAP Grant. Our priority deadline is November 15.
If you miss the deadline, your application will still be accepted, and we will offer (other) financial aid if you qualify. We cannot, however, replace the MAP Grant funds if you qualify must missed the deadline.
Not from Illinois? Our priority FAFSA deadline is February 1. Applications are always accepted. Submit your application as soon as possible.
About Tax Returns
Do not send your tax returns to our office. If required, we will ask you for the necessary IRS documents.
Worth Every Penny
Learn about what other rankings and guides have to say.
|Parent Access to Student Information|
|If you want to be able to access information about financial aid, billing, grades, etc., during the summer and during the school year, read about how…|
Federal Student Aid
|FSA ID Required!|
An FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) is an “electronic signature” required of all students and parents when applying for need-based financial aid. It is used to sign your financial aid application (FAFSA) and your student loan application, and to access your FAFSA throughout the year.
Important Note: Separate FSA IDs are needed for the student and at least one parent.
|Federal Student Aid (FSA) Academic Qualifications|
To receive FSA funds, a student must be qualified to study at the post-secondary level. A student qualifies if he or she:
For more information on any of the bulleted information above, click here.