Frequently Asked Questions & Frequently Used Numbers
(FAQs) & (FUNs)
My sister applied for financial aid last year but didn't receive any aid. Is it worth it for me to apply for aid this year?
My brother is 27 years old and lives at home. Should he be included in the household size?
- Absolutely. Your sister should reapply for aid as well. With two family members in college, your family will incur greater educational costs. This will be taken into consideration when you apply for aid.
I don't live at home with my parents. Does this mean I am an independent student?
- Family members should be included in the household size only if your parents can verify that they provide more than half the support for the individual.
My father refuses to complete an application for aid with his financial information. What should I do?
- Not necessarily. You will be considered a dependent student for the 2002-2003 academic year unless you were born before January 1, 1979, are, at the time of filing your aid application, an orphan or ward of the court (or were a ward of the court until age 18), a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, working on a master's or doctorate program, a married student, or a student who has children or legal dependents other than a spouse. However, check with the financial aid administrator at the college you plan to attend if you feel you have a unique situation that does not meet one of the above criteria.
My friend got more financial aid than I did, and I don't understand why. Her parents make more money than my parents.
- If your parents support you, it is essential that your parents complete an application for aid with their financial information in order for you to be considered for aid. Explain this to your father. If all else fails, contact the financial aid administrator at the college you plan to attend. Many times the financial aid administrator can explain to parents that this information is necessary and will be kept strictly confidential.
I live with my grandparents, who are my legal guardians. Should I use their income information on my 2002-2003 financial aid application?
- There are many reasons why your friend could have received more aid. For example, the college she is attending may have more aid to offer. There may be more family members in the household that her parents are supporting. She may have earned less money from working than you did. Her family might have experienced unusually high medical expenses. These and other differences in family situations could cause two students to receive different amounts of financial aid.
Whatever the reason(s), keep in mind that each student's financial aid package is designed especially for that individual.
Where will I get a form to apply for federal and state programs? Which form should I complete? When should I complete the form?
- No. For the 2002-2003 FAFSA, the term "legal guardian" has been eliminated. The definition will no longer allow the automatic inclusion of a legal guardian as parent. A student whose parents are deceased will be considered independent regardless of any legal guardianship. A student whose parents are living continue to file as a dependent student, but the FAFSA must reflect the financial information of the appropriate parent rather than that of a legal guardian, unless the financial aid administrator exercises professional judgment.
How much time elapses before I am notified of the amount of financial aid that I may receive?
Forms will be available from the guidance counselor's office at your high school. Forms are also available from the college financial aid office. The form you need to complete is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available in both an English and Spanish version.
All students should complete the FAFSA, but the college/university to which you are applying may require that you complete a supplemental form. You must check with the financial aid office at the college you are planning to attend to make certain you have completed all the forms they require and that you meet whatever deadline they may have for submitting those forms.
You must not complete the FAFSA until after January 1, 2002, for the 2002-2003 academic year. You may obtain a form earlier to prepare for completing it, but you must not sign or send it in before January 1, 2002.
What if my parents' taxes are not completed by the college's deadline to apply for aid?
- The time between application and response varies depending upon your college's policies. Call your college financial aid office for more information.
I don't know which college I'm going to attend. Should I send a Student Aid Report (SAR) to each college that I apply to?
- Most schools will permit you to use an estimate to file the FAFSA; however, you will have to provide completed federal income tax information before actual awards will be made.
My parents are divorced. I live with my mother, but my father claims me on his tax return. How do I apply for aid?
- All schools that you list on the FAFSA will receive an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). These schools do not require a copy of your SAR. The school you do attend may request a SAR from you if that school was not listed by you on the FAFSA.
My parents are divorced. My mother is remarried and my stepfather hasn't adopted me. Is my stepfather required to supply his financial aid information when I apply for aid?
- Complete an application for aid with your information and your mother's information. Only the custodial parent (parent with whom the child lives) is required to supply the necessary financial information.
Since I applied for aid my father got a new job. He isn't going to earn as much money from his new job as he did from his previous job. Can I receive more financial aid?
- Yes. Your mother and stepfather must both supply financial information when you are applying for aid since all resources in the household must be considered.
What is the difference between the Federal Direct Student Loan (FDSL) Program and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program?
- Contact the financial aid office at the college/university you plan to attend. The financial aid administrator will want to review your situation and can then make a decision regarding your financial aid award.
Do I have to go to a lending institution to get an application for a student loan?
- FDSL loans have the same terms, conditions, interest rates, benefits and loan amounts as loans made to borrowers under FFEL. The primary difference between FDSL and FFEL is that the federal government, and not private lending institutions, funds the FDSL. Check with the college/university you plan to attend to determine the loan program in which the school participates.
I am planning to attend a school which participates in FDSL. Do I have to borrow a FDSL, or can I borrow a FFEL through a local lender?
- It depends on the school you attend, since some schools participate in the Federal Direct Student Loan (FDSL) Program, in which loans are made by the college. Lending institutions participate in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. In either case, the financial aid office will have all the necessary forms needed to apply for a student loan. In addition, the financial aid office will be able to tell you how much money you will be eligible to borrow.
How do my parents apply for a Federal PLUS Loan?
Do I have to complete a financial aid application before applying for an unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan?
- You need to discuss that with the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend. Colleges may participate in both the FFEL and the FDSL Programs. The college will decide the program in which they will certify a student's loans. It's also important to keep in mind that you will be allowed to borrow only under one of the programs---FDSL or FFEL---during a period of enrollment.
I received something in the mail called a "Renewal FAFSA." What am I supposed to do with it?
- Yes. Even though eligibility for the unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan is not based on financial need, the financial aid administrator must first determine your eligibility for other financial aid, such as the subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, before certifying an unsubsidized loan. You may be eligible for grant and scholarship aid or a subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, so it is important to be considered for these other programs before applying for an unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan.
- The Renewal FAFSA is a form used to update the financial information provided on last year's FAFSA, instead of completing a new FAFSA. Mark changes in the right-hand column and return the form to the FAFSA processor. This form should not be completed until January 1, 2002 for the 2002-2003 academic year. Contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend if there are any questions.
Frequently Used Numbers
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Federal Student Aid Information Center
ISAC Client Services Representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time), Monday through Friday. Bilingual (English/Spanish) representatives are also available during this time.
If hearing-impaired, you may wish to contact ISAC through the Illinois Relay Center at (voice) or (TDD).
For information about a defaulted loan call , 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Central Time).
8 a.m. - 12 midnight (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday
- 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), Saturdays
For general information about federal financial aid opportunities or for assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), call 800-4-FED-AID ()
To find out if your federal student financial aid application has been processed or you want a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR), call 800-4-FED-AID () or
If you are hearing-impaired you may call this toll-free TDD number for help with any federal student aid questions you may have, .