As the start of the school year is quickly approaching, seniors should be keeping financial aid at the forefront of their thoughts. Financial aid is very important as it’s necessary for many students to be able to afford post-secondary opportunities. In order to be eligible to receive financial aid, the first step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can start filing for your FAFSA as early as October 1st, 2018. I encourage you to complete the application as quickly as possible because funding is available on the first come first serve basis, meaning if you wait too late, there might not be any funding available. Timely completion of your FAFSA is very essential if you plan on exploring any post-secondary opportunities.
The FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process. It is used to apply for federal student financial aid such as grants, loans and work study. In addition, post-secondary schools use information from the FAFSA to award non-federal financial aid. The application is available free of charge therefore, you should not be paying anything to complete this application.
In order to begin the process, complete the FAFSA application using the link provided. Make sure that you are adding the schools you’re considering attending to your application by adding their school code. For example, if you are applying to Illinois, you must add our federal school code which is 001775.
Next, you should ensure that all of your contact information is entered correctly on your application. In many cases, once a student completes their application, more information is needed from the student and our Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) will need to reach out to for further information. If OSFA is requesting additional information from you, they will reach out via paper mail and email. It’s important that you provide this necessary information as quickly as possible in order to receive your award letter.
Award letters start becoming available as early as February 15th. If you completed FAFSA and we are waiting for more information from you, you will not receive an award letter however, the funds allocated to you will still be available once you send the information needed. Please frequently check your emails and standard mail throughout your entire senior year as their might be very important matters pending.
Seniors, I truly understand that you will be extremely busy this school year. You are expected to complete college applications, scholarship applications, maintain quality grades, engage in involvement and complete your FAFSA. It’s important for you to understand that you are not alone in this process. Most high schools have college counselors available to assist you in the completion of your FAFSA and it’s important that you utilize them as your main resource this year. If your school doesn’t provide assistance to you, there are other resources that are willing to assist you such as, The Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Additionally you may always contact OSFA for any assistance as well. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop them below and I will get back to you! Good Luck!