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Financial Aid Resources

Financial Aid Assistance

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Jhoanna.Vega-Rocha@isac.Illinois.gov

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Financial aid can be defined as any money that is borrowed, given, or earned that can be obtained from various sources to help pay for college.

All types of financial aid can help you pay for college, though they all work in different ways. Scholarships and grants typically do not need to be paid back. Federal Work-Study programs and loans are self-help aid and do need to be earned or paid back. Financial aid also comes from many different sources, including the federal government, the State of Illinois (for Illinois residents), your college and/or your employer or your parent’s employer. Plus, there are many private sources that provide financial aid, such as agencies, associations and organizations (e.g., corporations, civic, religious, philanthropic groups and associations related to your field of interest).

On this page you will find more information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), how to find scholarships, and types of loans available.

FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid)

The FAFSA opens on October 1. While we encourage students to complete the application as soon as possible to be eligible for the greatest amount of federal financial aid, please do not complete the application before this date since you will be applying for financial aid for the current academic year. You may create your FSA ID at fafsa.gov.

Why everyone should complete FAFSA

  • You may qualify for financial aid.
  • Even if you think you won't qualify for financial aid, you may qualify for other options like loans or on-campus jobs
  • Some colleges require FAFSA to be completed to receive merit aid

Why you should complete FAFSA in October (or as early as possible)

  • The Illinos MAP (Monetary Award Program) Grant is awarded to families with financial need on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is especially important for seniors considering an Illinois public university to complete their FAFSA early.
  • Some colleges are beginning to award financial aid as early as November or December, though many colleges will stick to their normal timelines and award financial aid in February or March.

Assistance completing FAFSA

  • Every fall there are several FAFSA Completion Workshops hosted in Lake County staffed with trained professionals to help families complete their FAFSA. MHS hosts one every fall and is listed in our
    College Corner 2018 events found on the CCRC home page.
  • You can also meet with our Illinois Student Assistance Commission Corps member, Jhoanna Vega-Rocha, available to meet with students and families one-on-one every Tuesday at MHS in the CCRC. Please contact her if you would like personal assistance.
     

Click here to begin the new, simplified FAFSA: fafsa.gov

Financial Websites

Federal student aid resources:

fafsa.gov
studentaid.ed.gov

 

Managing college costs and scholarship information:

View MHS Scholarship Page

cappex.com
collegescholarships.com
fastweb.com
finaid.org
goodcall.com
savingforcollege.org

Financial Aid Resources:

CSS Profile:

The CSS Profile is an online application through College Board that collects information used by nearly 400 colleges and scholarship programs to award private, non-federal aid. The fee for the initial application is $25.  If you created an account for the SAT or to view your PSAT or AP scores, you should use the same username and password for your CSS Profile application. A list of participating colleges is also found on the CSS Profile Homepage.

 

Scholarships:

Scholarship information can be found on Naviance under the Colleges Tab. See the Scholarships & Money, Scholarship List. Please refer to this list for the most up to date scholarship information.”

Login to Naviance

Quick Reference for Scholarship REsources

 

Student Loans:

There are two types of student loans subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loans mean that the federal government will pay the interest on your loans while you are still a student, during a six months grace period after you graduate, and during periods of deferment. After this grace period you are responsible for the repaying your student loans plus interest. Eligibility for subsidized loans is determined by financial need.

Unsubsidized loans do start accumulating interest as soon as you take them out.

You may take out student loans from either the federal government or from private sources.

College and Career Center Questions

Questions & Answers

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.

FASAF_FAQ_Q1

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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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