Paying For College

College costs a lot of money. How are you going to pay for it? Colleges will expect you and your family to pay what you can. Then there are scholarships, grants, and loans to help you with the rest.

One essential in paying for college: COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA as early as possible after January 1 of your senior year. The FAFSA is your key to federal and state financial aid.

Aid comes from different sources: Federal and state governments, colleges and universities, and private groups and foundations. Tap into all sources of free aid—scholarships and grants—first. Then use low-interest government loans. Never pay for your education with a credit card!

For more information visit the Scholarships & Financial Aid section.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The first step in getting your hands on grants, scholarships, work-study and loans is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps the U.S. Department of Education determine the amount you and your family are expected to contribute to your college expenses, and colleges determine how much aid you qualify for and what they can award you.

How Much Does College Cost?

Cost of Attendance (COA): College expenses vary greatly. Each college estimates the COA by adding together: Tuition, fees, room and board, transportation, books, supplies, and other miscellaneous living expenses.

Types of Financial Aid

College can be expensive. Don’t give up when you see the price tag. Financial aid is available to help you meet the cost of higher education. There are several types of aid available to you.

Click here for more information on Financial Aid

CPS College Scholarship Guide

This resource is designed to assist you with your scholarship search.

Click here to see the Scholarships Guide

Strategic Scholarships

What is a CPS “strategic” scholarship?

A CPS Strategic Scholarship is a scholarship that is offered by an organization, company, institution, foundation, individual or family that specifically targets and awards Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school students. There are millions of scholarships that students can apply for; however, it is the goal of the Office of Pathways to College and Career to identify scholarship opportunities that specifically target CPS students as recipients.

Why is it important for CPS students to apply for these “strategic” scholarships?

Because the preferred applicants are, in part or as a whole, CPS students!

Click here for information on Strategic Scholarships

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