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How To Apply For Financial Aid
Financial aid applications are available from high school counseling offices, financial aid offices of colleges and universities, public libraries, ISAC, and some lending institutions.

Plate Only one form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is needed to begin the application process for the following types of financial aid:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized)
  • Other federally-funded, campus-based programs
For Illinois residents, the FAFSA is also the application for the State of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant and the Illinois Incentive for Access (IIA) grant. Be sure to list an Illinois school as a choice on the FAFSA to be considered for the MAP grant.

The FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible after January 1st each year. Instructions are included with each FAFSA. The information students and their families provide on the application form is used to determine eligibility for financial assistance. If selected for verification, the student may need to provide the college or university with documentation of family income and resources (e.g., income tax returns of the student and parents).

In addition to the paper FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education provides FAFSA on the Web ( FAFSA on the Web is an interactive application that students can use to apply for federal student aid over the Internet. Students and parents are given the ability to request a Personal Identification Number (PIN), which acts as their electronic signature. Using the PIN, students and parents also have the ability to make "FAFSA Corrections on the Web." FAFSA on the Web is free of charge and is compatible with Netscape Navigator 4.76 or higher or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.

The college the student attends may require a supplemental form or institutional financial aid application in order to award the college or university's own financial assistance. There also may be a fee associated with the supplemental application. Students should be sure to check with the financial aid office at the college or university they plan to attend for complete information concerning required applications and deadlines. For your own records, be sure to keep a copy of your completed FAFSA and any other applications or forms you must complete.

Questions about the FAFSA may be directed to 800-4-FED-AID, or visit

Quick Reference
By completing the FAFSA, you begin the application process for:
Federal Pell Grant
Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant (for Illinois residents)
Illinois Incentive for Access (IIA) Grant
Federal Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized)
Other federally-funded, campus-based programs
CheckmarkClick here for the Financial Aid Checklist for High School Students
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