When looking for money to pay for college, financial aid comes in many shapes and sizes. Students may be eligible for three types of financial aid: grants, scholarships, or loans.
Grants are funds generally received by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The PELL Grant and MAP Grant come from the FAFSA, and these are funds you do not pay back, as long as you don't drop classes late in the semester. The disbursement of these grants are based on financial need.
Scholarships must be applied for individually. These are also funds you don't have to pay back, as long as you follow any stipulations described by the person/organization giving the money to you. They may be a one-time scholarship, or they may be renewable for 2-4 years. To get more information about scholarships, view/print our scholarship packet. Start visiting Mrs. Adolphson's office in the spring for local scholarships.
Loans are available to most people, and must be paid back over time. If a student stays in school consistently, generally payment won't be required until 6 months after college graduation, or after you quit taking classes. Students may get loans through FAFSA as well. It is recommended that students only take out the money you absolutely need through loans, as they accrue interest. Here is a guide on the costs and risks of using private educational loans.
The FAFSA application opens on OCTOBER 1st, 2016 and WILL BE BASED ON YOUR 2015 TAXES. Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible once it opens, because Illinois MAP Grant funds run out very quickly.
You must create an FSA ID prior to completing the FAFSA, and it can take up to 48 hours to process. To create an ID, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid.