Financial Aid and Scholarships

Prior to October 1     
  • FAFSA filers (both students and parents) create FSA IDs  to verify identity prior to FAFSA completion
  • You may want to visit this website that explains basic financial aid terms.
October 1     
  Financial aid forms (details below) open to families
  • CSS Profile
  • AAIFA (Illinois aid to undocumented students)
August 1 to November 1     
  Students apply to colleges
  • Meet priority application deadlines and maximize scholarship money
  • Make sure application college list matches FAFSA college list
  • If a student applies to more than 10 colleges, they can delete colleges and add new ones once FAFSA has been successfully processed.
Late November to early April   
  Students receive financial aid awards
  • Award letters will contain exact cost and financial aid data
  • Often, students have to verify information through additional documents
  • Compare financial aid awards using this ISAC comparison tool 
  • This presentation explains award letters piece by piece.
May 1
  Student confirms college selection
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the preliminary requirement for students who wish to receive federal, state, or institutional financial aid.  The information collected by the FAFSA application determines what grants, loans and work study a student may be eligible for in order to attend college. Only United States citizens and eligible non-citizens are permitted to file a FAFSA. 
What information do you need to complete a FAFSA?
Which non-citizens are eligible to complete FAFSA?  Look here.
FSA ID is the electronic signature used to sign a FAFSA.  Both students and parents must create an FSA ID and use it to complete the FAFSA. Students whose parents are non-citizens will need to have parents physically sign the signature page and mail the document to the office of Federal Student Aid Programs.
CSS Profile is an additional financial aid applicaton required by many colleges and universities and is administered through College Board.  You can find the list of colleges that require a CSS Profile here.
Rise Act/AAIFA provides financial aid for some undocumented students and transgender students ($5340 for the 2020-2021 school year) if:
  • Student lived with parents and graduated from an Illinois high school
  • They attended school in Illinois for three years as of the student's date of graduation
  • Student verifies that they plan to become a permanent resident of the US
  • The applicant hasn't established a residence outside of Illinois 
Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (AAIFA) can be found here.
Click here for IACAC's list of colleges with stated policies to assist undocumented students.
TheDream.Us Scholarship awards $29,000 to undocumented students at number of partner colleges
The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship provides Illinois students funding to attend Illinois institutions.
Students with a 3.0 GPA can qualify for a Star Scholarship from City Colleges of Chicago.
Please note: scholarship applications should always be free. Avoid websites or mailings that request any type of fee to apply.  
Loyola Senn Scholarship (David Prasse Community Schools Scholarship) is a four-year full-tuition scholarship and ensures full financial funding for four years.
CPS Academic Works is the CPS-curated scholarship site and has several functions:
  • Sign up for scholarship alerts emailed to you here.
  • Click here to find an easily sortable spreadsheet of scholarship applications.
  • Students complete the general application and have scholarships matched using this page.
POSSE Foundation awards 4-year, full-tuition scholarships. Students need to nominated as juniors and should contact their counselor if interested.
Questbridge provides scholarships for the full cost of a student's college education. 
College Greenlight is an outstanding resource for all things college and every student should create a profile.
Chicago City Colleges Star Scholarship--covers tuition for students who have earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
One Million Degrees Scholarship--provides $1000, academic, career and personal guidance for students with a 2.0 GPA and planning to attend a Chicago City College. (see guide in resources below)
UNCF awards a variety of scholarships for students interested in HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges).
Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides a number of scholarships to students of Hispanic heritage. has scholarships arranged by specific criteria (community service, disability, major, etc.). is a large site with an enormous amount of possibilities.  is another large with a broad range of listed scholarships.