The Office of Financial Aid is committed to helping you and your family apply for and receive financial aid…before you enroll and each year of your enrollment at the College!
In the Fall of 2023, 429 first-year students enrolled, and 90% applied for need-based financial aid. 80% of those students received at least one need-based grant. Of the new class, over 90% received at least one scholarship from the College.
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!
The process outlined below is for U.S Citizens and Permanent Residents. The financial aid application ("FAFSA") for students enrolling in the Fall of 2024 is delayed until sometime in December (see details).
International students please click here.
Undocumented students please click here.
Step 1. Complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA which will be available in December.
- The 2024-2025 FAFSA asks for 2022 income values. If your/your parent's current income now is significantly less than 2022, see Step 3 below.
- The FAFSA is not required if you are applying only for scholarships
- This page will be updated with more details about the new FAFSA as they become available
Step 2. (Optional) Complete the CSS Profile.
Students applying for the fall under Early Decision I and Early Action I who would like to receive an earlier estimate of financial aid eligibility may complete the Profile now (our CSS code is 1392) and the FAFSA once it becomes available.
Step 3. (Optional) Complete applicable " Special Circumstance Forms" for the correct academic year
If you believe the FAFSA does not give an complete, accurate picture of your family's financial situation, review the "special circumstance forms" and submit all that are applicable. Forms for the 2024-2025 academic year will be available later in November. We usually recomment that you contact our office before submitting a form, to determine if it will affect your financial aid eligibility.
Step 4. Complete other required forms, if directed to do so.
First-Year fall semester applicants are encouraged to complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA by March 1, if possible.
Transfer applicants for the fall should complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA by July 1, although Illinois residents should do so by May 1, to help ensure consideration for limited IL MAP Grant funds.
If completing the CSS Profile for an early estimate of financial aid eligibility, please do so by December 1.
Applications are accepted after these dates, but available funding may be less.
Step 1. Complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA, if you haven't already done so.
- Suggestions for completing the application are found here.
- To add Lake Forest to a FAFSA you've already completed, log in to FAFSA.gov, select “Make FAFSA Corrections,” and navigate to the “School Selection” page. Add Lake Forest’s School Code (001706) and confirm your choice by selecting the “ADD>>” button. You will then indicate your housing choice. After you complete all of the Sign/Submit page your FAFSA will be released to us in about 48 hours.
- The 2023-2024 FAFSA asks for 2021 income values. If your/your parent's current income now is significantly less than 2021, see Step 2 below.
Step 2. Optional. Complete any applicable "Special Circumstance Form(s)." These allow you to report things that are not collected on the FAFSA: large income changes vs. 2021, large healthcare costs in 2023, private K-12 tuition for the 2023-24 academic year, large unusual expenses, etc. Be sure to choose the version for the correct academic year. Please contact our office to determine if your family should submit a particular form.
Step 3. Submit additional documentation (only) if requested. We will notify you by email or within the award letter if additional information is needed. Your prompt response will be appreciated.
We strongly recommend that your FAFSA (and any "special circumstance forms") be submitted by December 1. Applications will be accepted after this date, but available funding may be less.
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 via email or 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. If so, we may use email or an occasional text message to notify you. The most common item is the V-1 Verification Worksheet for "dependent students" Other common forms we may have asked for are found here.
Compare Award Letters
Not all colleges and universities award letters are presented in the same way. This makes an “apples to apples” comparison more difficult. Make sure you clearly identify “free funds” (grants and scholarships) and loan funds. You might have two offers from two schools, each totaling $40,000, but one school is offering $30,000 in scholarship/grant funds and $10,000 in loans, while the second offer has $34,500 in scholarship/grant funds but $5500 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.
After the FAFSA…
Within a few days of submitting your FAFSA, you will receive an email notification from the federal student aid processing center that your application was processed. It will include a link to your Student Aid Report or “SAR”, which is a summary of your application. Review it carefully as it will tell you if there are any issues to follow up on. Feel free to contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have any questions.
Accepting Your Financial Aid
If you decide to enroll at Lake Forest, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit to “save your spot” in the class. Then, throughout the late spring and early summer months, you will complete numerous steps to prepare for your arrival in August and the beginning of the school year.
About Tax Returns
At the present time, we cannot accept a copy of the tax return if you were selected for verification. Use of the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or provide a Tax Return Transcript (TRT) to document income, if required.
A small percentage of students submitting the FAFSA need to provide additional documentation as part of the “verification” process. The Verification Worksheet can be emailed as a .pdf or .jpg, or faxed to our office. Below are Worksheets for the 2023-2024 academic year. Contact us if you cannot find what you need.
The Parent Portal at Lake Forest College gives families online access to a student's information so that they are kept informed of their activities at the College. But in order to gain access, they need to be enrolled in the Lake Forest College Parent Portal.
In order to establish permission, your student should log into my.lakeforest and click on the ‘My Contacts’ tab. Provide the necessary information for each person(s) to be given access to your information.
The Parent Portal enables students to share with parents (or other parties) the information they want online while complying with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The permission that is granted can be cancelled or changed at any time by the student.
In the Parent Portal:
- Students can share information with parents, including grades and GPA projection, class schedules, student account balances as well as financial aid awards and any outstanding documentation that may be required.
- The College can share information with parents or guardians quickly and easily.
- Parents can view information about a single student or multiple students in one convenient location.
Questions? Contact Dean of Students Office - Cindy Orr, firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-735-5203.
Federal Student Aid
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…and in future years!
Beginning December 2023, a social security number will not be required to obtain an FSA ID.
Important Note: Separate FSA IDs are needed for the student and at least one parent.
To receive FSA funds, a student must be qualified to study at the post-secondary level. A student qualifies if he or she:
- has a high school diploma (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);
- has the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a general educational development or GED certificate, or students who are beyond the age of compulsory attendance within that state and pass a test that demonstrates the student’s ability-to-benefit (ATB) from the educational program in which the student is enrolled.
- has completed homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law; or
- has completed secondary school education in a home-school setting which qualifies for an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law, if state law does not require a home-schooled student to receive a credential for their education.
For more information on any of the bulleted information above, click here.
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FINANCIAL AID STAFF
Si necesita hablar con alguien en español en la oficina de ayuda financiera, usted puede llamar a Adriana Rodriguez.