What You Need To Know About FAFSA

*** You must complete the FAFSA form before you can graduate.***

It’s The Law

In August of 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law requiring all high school students to complete the FAFSA form before being allowed to graduate from a public high school.

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online application the federal government uses to disburse financial aid to students. Colleges and universities REQUIRE students to fill out the FAFSA before they award scholarships or any other forms of financial assistance.

What Types of Financial Aid are offered through FAFSA?

Grants (money that DOES NOT have to be repaid)
Federal Pell Grant: up to ~ $6000/year
For IL Residents attending an IL institution
Monetary Award Program (MAP): up to ~ $5,000
Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) - Pays tuition and fees
Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant - Pays tuition and fees
Student Loans (money that DOES have to be repaid)
Subsidized Loans: up to ~ $5,500/year
Unsubsidized Loans: up to ~ $20,500/year
Federal Work-Study (amounts and availability depends on the school)

How Do I Fill Out the FAFSA?

First you will need to make sure you have everything you will need. If you are filing as a DEPENDENT student, meaning you are living with or are dependent on the income of your parents, then you will need the following information:

Social Security Numbers for yourself and your parents.
Alien Registration # if you are not a U.S. Citizen
Your and your parents 2019 federal tax returns, W-2’s, and other records of money earned.
Banking Statements and records of investments
May not apply to you.
A list of colleges you would like to attend
A FSA ID to sign electronically.
-This can be a bit confusing. You must create a FSA ID at www.fsaid.ed.gov BEFORE you start your FAFSA application.

If you are an INDEPENDENT you will need the same information but only for yourself.

Once you have the required documents and your FSA ID, you can go to https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa and login with your FSA ID and password. There are a number of questions you must answer which will determine your Financial Need based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Cost of Attendance (COA).

Since you will select a list of colleges/universities to view your FAFSA information, the college will send you a Financial Award Letter in the mail explaining your award or requesting additional information before they can make their final decision.

When can I fill out the FAFSA?

The FAFSA does not open until October 1st, 2020 for the 2021-2022 school year. It’s important to fill this out as soon as possible as the IL MAP grant funds are limited and are dispersed on a first come first serve basis.

Further Assistance

In the past we have had a member of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) come in and assist us with FAFSA completion and information but I’ve been informed that they will only be assisting virtually this year. I hope to put something together to help you through this process.

We will be assigned someone from ISAC who will be a valuable resource for assistance with the FAFSA. That person has not been assigned yet but I will let you know their contact information as soon as I get it.