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Financial Aid Sources
There are two basic types of financial aid: gift aid and self-help aid.

Burger Gift aid is assistance you receive that does not have to be repaid, and includes grants (usually based on financial need) and scholarships (awarded based on academic achievement, athletic ability, artistic talent, social organization affiliation, just to name a few).

Self-help aid includes work opportunities and loans. It is called self-help because you take responsibility for receiving this type of aid. Financial Aid comes from a variety of sources:

  • the federal government
  • the state government
  • the college or university
    (commonly known as institutional aid)
  • outside/private sources


Click here to take a closer look at information on financial aid from the Federal government and the State of Illinois.

Institutional Aid
Most colleges, universities, technical, trade and vocational schools offer financial assistance to their students. The financial aid office on campus is the best place to find out about financial aid (grants, scholarships, work, internships, cooperative education, and loan opportunities) you might be eligible to receive at that particular institution.

Private Sources of Financial Aid
Filing Cabinet Many agencies, associations, and organizations (for example, corporations, civic, religious, philanthropic groups, and associations connected with your field of interest) provide dollars to college students. There are different eligibility requirements, award amounts, application forms, and application deadlines for each type of financial aid, so research these carefully. Some scholarships may require you to have the special skills to write an essay, build a model, or even an audition. The chances of receiving aid from private sources are improved by planning ahead, applying early, and reading carefully. Many private programs have early deadlines, so it is recommended that students begin investigating for private financial aid sources during the sophomore or junior year of high school.

To obtain information about available sources of financial aid, students can utilize Higher-EdNet, ISAC's financial assistance location service. In addition, public and college libraries have a number of indexes and publications that list private scholarship, fellowship, and grant programs, as well as provide descriptions and application information.

Quick Reference
Financial aid comes from a variety of sources:
the federal government
the state government
the college or university (commonly known as institutional aid)
outside/private sources
For information on financial aid from the:
Federal government
State of Illinois
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