Financial Aid Information for Students
Finding scholarships, grants, work study programs, and loans for college can be a daunting task. This guide will walk you through the process and help streamline your search.
Step 1: Research
Start preparing early! Here are some informative outlets to utilize while researching financial aid:
- High school counselors
- The financial aid office at the school you plan to attend
Step 2: Obtain your student aid
Here is a breakdown of different types of student financial aid and where it comes from.
- Need-based financial aid: This type of financial aid acts as a supplement to family resources, based on parent or student income. If family income exceeds a certain amount, this type of aid will not be available.
- Non need-based financial aid: This type of aid is awarded based on academic or athletic achievement, ethnic background, or organization membership. Some corporations may also offer assistance to employees and children.
- Federal Student Aid: Available to all need-based applicants, some loans and competitive scholarships are available for non need-based applicants.
Most student aid falls into three categories:
- LOANS: This is the most common type of federal student aid. Loaned money must be repaid.
- SCHOLARSHIPS/GRANTS: Mostly need-based and typically do not need to be repaid. Federal scholarships/grants include:
- CONGRESSIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS: Merit based and highly competitive scholarships named for members of Congress. Congressional members do not play a role in selecting recipients. Congressional scholarships are available to both need-based and non need-based aid seeking applicants.
WORK STUDY: These programs allow students to earn money while enrolled in school.
FINANCIAL AID FOR SPECIFIC GROUPS: Aid is often available t for specific students based on race, ethnicity, disability status, veteran status, and desired study programs.
PUBLIC SERVICE: Certain programs will provide aid in exchange for public service.
ILLINOIS SPECIFIC SCHOLARSHIPS:
Step 3: Repay your student loans
So you’ve graduated – Congratulations! Now it is time to repay your financial aid. Thankfully, the federal government can help you. However, eligibility depends upon the type of loan, when it was made, and whether or not it is in default. Check with your loan officer to see where you stand.
Parents, you can start saving money for college costs long before your child is ready to attend!
Step 4: Additional Information For Parents