FAFSA Completion Workshop - Monday, October 2nd, 6-8 p.m. in the LRC
To prepare for this event, please take the following steps:
- Go to this website and create your FSA ID. Both the student and one parent will need to create a FSA ID. https://fsaid.ed.gov
- Gather the following items:
- Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number
- 2016 Federal Tax Returns, W-2s, and other records of income
- Banking statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- List of colleges you would like to attend
- Don't forget to bring your Chromebook!
*** We will offer assistance in both English and Spanish!
Need more help? Our Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) reps, Ilirjana Shemshedini is here to help.ISAC can help with:
Would you like to set up an individual appointment with an ISAC rep?Ilirjana's office hours are every Tuesday from 4th-10th period in the Counseling Office.You can also contact Ilirjana directly:
- Submitting the FAFSA
- College Applications
- Scholarship Applications
- Personal Statements
- Financial Aid
- College Searches
- Choosing Majors
Need quick answers to a FAFSA or Financial Aid question? ISAC now has help available via text. Text the experts directly at: 630-216-4910.
- Email = Ilirjana.Shemshedini@isac.illinois.gov
- Phone = 630.946.3688
Financial Aid Overview
The following is a summary of general information about Financial Aid for college.The CostA college education is a big investment. Thinking about paying for college can be a fearful thing for many students and their parents. Because of this, and many other factors, families may feel unprepared financially for college, even though a student might be academically ready. However, the good news is that the federal government, state government, colleges & universities, and many other community and private organizations provide additional assistance to students to help pay for their education.
Financial Aid Overview Video
What is Financial Aid?
Financial aid refers to specific borrowed, given, or earned money that can be obtained from various sources to help pay for college. The different sources of financial aid include the federal government, the state government, the college/ university, and other private sources. There are different types of financial aid:
1.) Gift aid= Grants or scholarships. Grants are typically need based, whereas scholarships are typically merit based (athletics/ academics/ extracurricular activities, etc.) It is assistance that typically does not have to be repaid.
2.) Federal Work Study= Opportunity to work on a college campus, with the money earned ideally to be used to help fund education. This money must be earned.3) Loans= Money that is borrowed and must be repaid with interest. Only borrow what is needed.
Types of Aid
Here Comes Help!
There is a significant difference between "Scholarships" and "Financial Aid"
Scholarships are usually merit-based. That means that because of some outstanding talent, skill or achievement, someone (a community or trade organization, or the college itself) decides that they will pay for all or part of the cost for that outstanding student to go to college (usually because there is some benefit to the college or other "payer").
Want to see if applying to scholarships is worth it? Check out this link!
What is FAFSA?
In order to be eligible for the federal and state grants, as well as federal work study, a student must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is an application that each student files with the US Department of Education, which asks for information about the student and his or her family, and their income information for the previous calendar year. Based on the FAFSA, the federal government determines how much this student and his or her family should be able to afford to pay for college the next year. This amount is called the Expected Family Contribution, and is based on the student's and family's ability to pay (not necessarily on their willingness to pay). This information is sent to the student and any colleges that the student has designated in the FAFSA (up to ten schools). The FAFSA becomes available October 1st, and students will file the FAFSA starting their senior year of high school and every year they are enrolled in college after that. The following three videos explain what a FAFSA is, how you file a FAFSA, and what to expect once you have completed the FAFSA.
How to File FAFSA
After the FAFSA
What if the FAFSA doesn't cover it all?
Many students and parents get frustrated filling out the FAFSA form because they feel that the numbers-in-boxes and yes-or-no questions don’t give an accurate picture of the student or the financial situation. While there is no specific spot on the FAFSA form to explain all that, there is something called the "Letter of Special Circumstance." After you have submitted the FAFSA, and have received your Student Aid Report (telling you what your EFC is), you can write a letter of explanation detailing your special circumstances. This letter must be sent to each college’s financial aid office that the student has applied to and wishes to receive a financial aid award letter. After you have submitted the FAFSA, you do not deal with the government anymore in this year's process. You deal directly with the Financial Aid Office of each college that you are considering.
Each college independently considers your "Special Circumstances Letter" and uses their own "Professional Judgment" to adjust (or not adjust) your Financial Aid Package. Listed below are some situations which might be appropriate to explain as Special Circumstances:
- job change or loss of job by either parent;
- seasonal nature of parent's job;
- unusual medical expenses anticipated;
- receipt of a Bonus, inheritance or other non-guaranteed income last year;
- payment of private school tuition for sibling in elementary through high school;
- anticipated birth or other "addition" to family (elderly grandparents);
- divorce situation of parent;
- court-order or existing agreement concerning which parent pays college costs;
- delinquent or non-payment of court-ordered child support by one parent;
- re-marriage of one or both parents, affecting "family income" (which family?);
- extreme or unusual family debt;
- student is also a parent (although may not qualify as an independent student);
- your special circumstance.