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College and Career Center

Questions & Answers

College and Career Center

Who’s considered a parent on the FAFSA?

Please reference the graphic below and visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/help/ffdef07.htm for more specific information. If you have any questions feel free to contact our ISAC representative, Jhoanna.


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I am a U.S. citizen, but my parents are undocumented. Can I still fill out the FAFSA?

Yes, your parent’s citizen status does not affect your eligibility to receive federal and state aid. If you are a dependent student, the parent(s) can insert all zeros in the social security portion of the FAFSA.  

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I am undocumented. Do I qualify to complete the FAFSA?

A student who is undocumented does not qualify for federal aid and state aid in Illinois. However, there are many scholarships that do not ask for a student’s citizenship status that a student can apply for. Depending on the school, they will have their criteria on what type of institutional aid they award their students. Come in to the CCRC for more specific resources.

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My parents make a lot of money. Why should I fill out the FAFSA?

Every family situation is different. The FAFSA does not focus on solely a parent’s income, they look at a variety of factors, such as household size, assets, savings, and eligibility to receive need-based programs, just to name a few. You will never know what you will receive from the FAFSA until you fill out the FAFSA. Many schools will require students to fill out the FAFSA to determine eligibility for institutional aid, so the institution will use what you provided on the FAFSA to award you any additional scholarships and grants at that institution.

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I filled out my FAFSA. What comes next?

You will receive an confirmation email that your FAFSA is being processed and within 2-3 business days you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) which includes your estimated eligibility for federal aid. Please look at your email frequently as schools will send any communication if they need additional documents or want to verify information that you provided, this is known as the verification process. If you complete all the steps, you will receive your financial aid award letter from the schools that you applied and got accepted to.

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Why do some universities require a CSS Profile?

The CSS Profile requires much more financial information than the FAFSA. Besides providing family income and savings information, you’ll have to report the value of your home, retirement accounts, and small business if you have one. But the CSS Profile also takes into account more expenses, such as the cost of living in your area and any money your family spends on private schools. Thus, certain schools may find it beneficial to have this additional information when determining a students’ financial aid package.

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When should I start looking for scholarships?

No matter what grade you are in, the answer will always be the same. Now. It is never too early to start the scholarship search process. There are many ways to search for scholarships. Here are some of the main search methods: (1) look through the scholarship list on Naviance, (2) scholarship websites (check out the PDF listed under the scholarships section and look on the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool) (3) external organizations like: your library, foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, your employer or your parents’ employer, federal and state agencies (4) Talk to your counselor and come in to the CCRC.


One final point: the best way to help yourself receive scholarship funds is to perform well academically and get involved. A high GPA with a transcript full of demanding coursework, along with a complete resume of activities including volunteer hours and leadership experience will afford you many more options when scholarship opportunities become available.


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