The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) manages multiple college programs that help students understand their options for paying college tuition. These programs include financial aid, scholarships, grants, and loans. A quality education is essential for our next generation and having adequate resources is the first step to a bright future for students. By utilizing these programs, students can expect to have the guidance needed for a great start into college.
Applying for Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are many options available for students to help them pay for college. For each type of financial aid, there is different eligibility requirements and application forms, so research these carefully. Also, students should consider contacting the financial aid department of the college they wish to attend for specific information. Here are some resources that provide information on financial aid and scholarships:
A College Grant is a type of “gift aid” that is not required to be paid back. The amount awarded to students is based on financial needs and is typically provided by the college or government. Every student should contact their college about grants they may be eligible to receive. Here are the most popular grants awarded in Illinois:
- Monetary Award Program (MAP)
- Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program
- Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program
- Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers
- AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program
College students also have the option of receiving “self help” loans that let them borrow money from the government, banks, or other lending institutions. These loans typically have added interest and must be paid back in full by specific dates. There is two types of loans: subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans. Federal loans tend to be more flexible and have the lowest interest rates. It’s advised that students should know the basics of borrowing and research loans they are interested in before submitting applications. Below is four options for loans:
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal PLUS Loan Program (for parents** and for graduate and professional students***)
- Alternative Loans
Quality education is not cheap, but planning ahead and utilizing financial resources will provide students with a great start into their career path. Family’s resources vary, but different types of financial aid are available to help each family meet the costs of higher education. Lastly, financial aid is also available to pay for technical and trade schools.
For more information on how to pay for college visit here: www.illinois.gov/education.html