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.


Scholarships

Scholarships are gifts you do not have to pay them back. Scholarships can be based on need or merit or both. You may receive scholarships from colleges, organizations, or foundations. Different scholarships are available for different types of students. Scholarships may be based on your grades, what you want to study in college, whether you are male or female, or your after-school activities.

Click here for more information on Scholarships


Grants

Grants are available from the government and from colleges. By submitting the FAFSA, you will be given eligibility consideration for all federal and state grants. Many grants are based on your financial need. Grants are considered gift aid and they do not need to be repaid. Some examples of grants are:

FEDERAL PELL GRANTShow More

Federal Pell Grant is based on need only. It does not have to be repaid. Eligible students receive a specified amount each year. In 2014-2015, the maximum Pell Grant is $5,730.

To apply for a Pell Grant you must COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA. Most Pell awards go to students with family incomes below $20,000. However, you may be awarded a Pell Grant if your family income is less than $50,000.

The college you choose to attend will decide how you get the Pell Grant – whether it is applied to tuition or given to you in a check to pay other expenses.

FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (FSEOG)Show More

By submitting the FAFSA, you’ll be considered for the FSEOG. This grant is available to undergraduate students with the greatest need. First priority is given to Pell Grant recipients. Awards range from $100 to $4,000 per year.

FSEOG awards come through the college, but not all schools have FSEOG money. Those that do may run out of funds. So it is important to COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA early.

To find out if the colleges where you are applying have FSEOG grant money, ask the college financial aid offices.

ILLINOIS MONETARY AWARD PROGRAM (MAP) GRANTShow More

The MAP grant is available to Illinois residents who will attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need based on the information provided on the FAFSA.

The MAP grant can be applied only to tuition and fees.

The number of MAP grants is limited. This means that there may not always be money available, so it is important to COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA early.

SILAS PURNELL ILLINOIS INCENTIVE FOR ACCESS (IIA) PROGRAMShow More

The IIA Program provides grants of up to $500 to Illinois residents with zero EFC will to attend an approved Illinois college. If the information you provide on the FAFSA results in a calculated zero expected family contribution, you may be awarded an IIA grant.

The number of IIA grants is limited. This means that there may not always be money available, so it is important to COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA early.

GRANTS FROM COLLEGESShow More

Colleges provide grants based on various criteria. Contact the college’s financial aid office to find out more about the grants offered by a college.


Loans

Loans have to be repaid; even if you don’t finish school! Student loans, unlike grants and work-study, are borrowed money that must be repaid, with interest, just like a car loan. You cannot cancel this loan because you didn’t like the education you received, quit in the middle, or didn’t get a good job after school. There are several types of loans that are available:

  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Stafford Loans
  • PLUS Loans
  • Consolidation Loans
  • Private Loans

More Information

College Student Loans

The Guide to Federal Student Aid

Tips on responsible borrowing and avoiding scams

LOAN REPAYMENT OPTIONSShow More

All student loans must be repaid.  Find out about the repayment options for Federal Stafford Loans, Parent PLUS loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.

LOAN FORGIVENESS, AND CANCELLATION OPTIONSShow More

Certain circumustances might lead to your loans being forgiven, canceled, or discharged.

Click here for more information.

FEDERAL PERKINS LOANSShow More

Perkins loans are made through colleges and universities to students who have financial need. The maximum loan is $4,000 a year. The interest rate is 5%.

You can apply for a Perkins loan when you COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA. The loan may be part of the financial aid package offered to you by the college.

Schools have a certain amount of Perkins money to loan to students each year. When it is gone, you are out of luck. This is another reason to COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA early.

You will have to sign a promissory note that outlines the terms of the loan. You will also be required to participate in “entrance counseling.”

STAFFORD LOANSShow More

There are two types of Stafford Loans:

Subsidized: You must have financial need and be enrolled at least half-time. The federal government pays the interest while you are in school.
Unsubsidized: You must be enrolled at least half-time. You don’t have to show financial need. You pay interest while you are in school.

The interest rate on a Stafford loan is a low fixed rate. The amount you may receive depends on what year you are in school and whether you are an independent or dependent student.

You will have to sign a promissory note that outlines the terms of the loan. You will also be required to participate in “entrance counseling.”

PLUS LOANSShow More

Parents can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay your education expenses if you are a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time in an eligible program at an eligible school. The maximum amount of this loan is calculated by subtracting all of your aid from the cost of attendance. The interest rate varies and is determined on July 1 of every year. The interest is not subsidized.

CONSOLIDATION LOANSShow More

Consolidation loans allow you or your parents to combine multiple federal education loans into one loan with one monthly payment.

PRIVATE LOANSShow More

When taking out a bank loan:

  • Read all the documents (yes – it’s a lot!)
  • Find out the essentials: monthly payment, interest rate, and years to repay.
  • Ask about any terms you don’t understand.
  • Ask if there is a repayment grace period. Do you have to pay the loan while you are in school?
  • Find out if the interest is fixed or variable. “Fixed” means that it will not change. “Variable” means that it may go up or down depending on some other rate.
  • Ask about late fees.
  • Don’t let anyone rush you. This is a big decision.

Work Study

Under the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program, you work part-time to earn money for your education. It is available to students who demonstrate financial need.

Work-study jobs may relate to your course of study or involve community service. Often the jobs are on campus. You’ll earn at least minimum wage.

You can be considered for the FWS Program when you submit the FAFSA. Work-Study funds are limited, so it is important to COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA early. Under the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program, you work part-time to earn money for your education. It is available to students who demonstrate financial need.

Work-study jobs may relate to your course of study or involve community service. Often the jobs are on campus. You’ll earn at least minimum wage.

You can be considered for the FWS Program when you submit the FAFSA. Work-Study funds are limited, so it is important to COMPLETE AND SUBMIT YOUR FAFSA early.

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