JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Applying For Financial Aid

Financial aid refers to specific borrowed, given or earned money that can be obtained from various sources to pay for college. There are many types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, Federal Work-Study programs and loans, all of which can come from the state or federal government. Most types of financial aid require you to reapply every year.

Use the Federal & State Aid Estimators to determine how much financial aid might be available to help you pay for college. Keep in mind, results are based on estimates and may not reflect your actual awards.

Colleges also offer financial assistance to their students. The financial aid office on campus is the best place to find out about financial aid (those programs listed above, plus internships and cooperative education) available at that particular college.

Searching for Financial Aid

Many agencies, associations, and organizations (for example, corporations, civic, religious, and philanthropic groups, and associations connected with your field of interest) provide dollars for college students. There are different eligibility requirements, award amounts, application forms, and application deadlines for each type of financial aid, so research these carefully. Some scholarships may require the applicant to have the special skills to write an essay, build a model, or even audition.

The Internet is a great resource for scholarship and grant information and applications.  Continue your search by using the resources listed below.  As you're searching, be alert for financial aid scams.

If you do not wish to use the Internet for your search, check out scholarship books in your library’s reference section. When using books, be sure to check the publication dates to make sure the information provided is valid and current. Also, add to your search by contacting your college. They may offer institutional awards that you may not find anywhere else.

Every program - including those funded by the federal or state government, colleges, or other organizations - has its own unique awarding and processing cycle. If a student plans to use funds from a scholarship or grant to pay a balance owed the college, but those funds are not received prior to the scheduled due date(s), it is the student's responsibility to work with the appropriate office at the college to make satisfactory arrangements.

While some colleges may agree to temporarily postpone due dates (sometimes for a fee) until funds are received, others might require that the student make a full or partial payment by the established due date. If, once received, the funds are more than the remaining balance due to the college, the student may receive the excess to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses or to apply toward other education-related costs. Students who are uncertain of the college's policy regarding anticipated financial assistance should contact their financial aid office for clarification.