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What is the FAFSA?

Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for financial aid for college or grad school.

The FAFSA is the form that determines most of the aid you’re eligible to receive as a student. Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education,  provides more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans, and work study funds each year to more than 13 million students paying for college or career school. The federal government decides who gets how much of that money based on the information included in your FAFSA form. And that’s just one part of the student aid pie the FAFSA form helps you cut into, most states use the FAFSA application to determine eligibility for state aid, and most colleges also use the form to determine how much private aid to provide to prospective students.

In case it’s not clear, this all means that if you’re thinking about going to college next year, you should definitely submit the FAFSA application, and yes, the free FAFSA is the version you should be looking for, you will find some websites that charge for it. The FAFSA is now a required step for students to earn a diploma from an Illinois High School.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

 

Create a New FSA ID

To get started with the FAFSA process a student and one parent must first set up FSA ID's. A FSA ID is a username and password that gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. Only create an FSA ID using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use. You are not authorized to create an FSA ID on behalf of someone else, including a family member.

FAFSA Fundamentals

Sauk Valley has created a 25 minute narrated financial literacy presentation.  This video will explain college financial aid for high school students and their families. Individuals can watch it at home at their own leisure and then are able to answer any questions that parents and students may have.  

FAFSA Nonparticipation (Waiver) Form

Starting in school year 2020-21, to receive a diploma from a public high school a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or, if applicable, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. Local school district staff must provide support and assistance to students and parents/guardians in the application process. Additional assistance with completing an application is available from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
Alternatively, a parent/guardian must file a waiver if they choose to opt a child out of this graduation requirement by
completing this Nonparticipation form; students who are at least 18 years of age or legally emancipated may complete
the form themselves. If you wish to opt yourself or your student out of the Financial Aid Application graduation
requirement, please complete this form and return it to your local high school counselor by April 15.


Need help with the FAFSA?

The Sauk Valley Community College Financial Aid Office will help you with your FAFSA free of charge, no matter what school you plan to go to. They are your local community college and they are there to help all in the community. Please call 815-835-6339 to get your questions answered or set up a one on one appointment. You can also click on the link to go to their Facebook page.

The Clinton Community College Financial Aid Office is there to help students and parents with their FAFSA applications. Questions will be answered or face to face sessions are free and open to everyone, regardless of whether they have already committed to attending EICC or are still considering their options. Many people are surprised to learn they are, indeed, eligible for financial aid. Helpful information to bring with you for a Face to Face meeting includes your (and your parents if considered a dependent) social security number, tax returns (you can also use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to access these online), bank statements, and FSA ID so you can electronically sign the FAFSA form. Our Financial Aid Specialists can help you create a FSA ID at the session, or you can create one ahead of time by visiting the FSA ID website.  To learn more call 1-888-336-3907 or email Clinton Community College Financial Aid.

The Coupon Follow web site has a FAFSA guide that will give you the following information: Answers To Common FAFSA Questions, A Glossary of Financial Aid Terms, How to Fill Out the FAFSA Step by Step, Different Types of Student Loans and Financial Aid, and Other Important Stuff to Know About the FAFSA.

Check out the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) Financial Aid Planning area for information regarding resources that are available to help students complete the financial aid process.


12 Financial Aid Questions To Ask Your College Article written in Forbes Magazine October 2020.

 

Tools for financing your education

  • Learn about federal grants, loans, and work study funds:
    • The office of Federal Student Aid provides grants, loans, and work study funds for college or career school. They provide more than $120 billion in federal student aid each year to help pay for college or career school. Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. The FSA provides and manages more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans, and work study funds each year to more than 13 million students paying for college or career school
  • Making college accessible and affordable for Illinois students:
    • Your one-stop destination for free planning tools and materials. Financial aid night videos, scholarship search, FAFSA 101. Simple and easy to use. Check It Out.
  • Debt-Free Degree Scholarship Search:
    • Anthony ONeal has helped hundreds of thousands of students. He’s the national bestselling author of Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in College and travels the country spreading his encouraging message to help teens and young adults start their lives off right. His new book Debt-Free Degree has created this website which will help you search over 10,000 scholarships and grants and get free, customized results to help you graduate debt‑free.  Debt-Free Degree Scholarship Search.

  • Paying for school just got easier:
    • Fastweb is a site that matches the information you enter in your profile to scholarship, college, job and internship opportunities. You may use the information that Fastweb provides to apply for scholarships, discover prospective colleges, explore internship possibilities or learn about part-time jobs in your area.
  • Scholarships with no personal information required.
    • GoodCall Scholarship Search Engine is one of the largest databases of scholarships on the web. Unlike the others, GoodCall Scholarship Engine requires no personal information and it’s free to use. 
  • College comparison tool:
    • College Green Light will connect first generation and underrepresented students to colleges, scholarships and helpful guidance.
  • Student Loan Calculator:
    • Use this calculator to estimate your monthly payments on a single federal student loan or private student loan, calculate the total payment on multiple student loans at different interest rates, or calculate the total interest you’ll pay. 
  • How to create a great scholarship application:
    • This annual scholarship opportunity serves as a framework for students to succeed on larger stages past high school, in applications for colleges, jobs, and other scholarships. More background on the application and information about applying can be found by clicking on the following; College Student Success Scholarship. 
  • Tools to help pay and plan for college:
    • When it comes to paying for college first look for money you won’t have to pay back (scholarships and grants). Then explore federal student loans. Finally, consider a responsible private student loan to cover. Check out this website to help your financial planningSallie Mae
  • Learn about projected college scholarships as early as 9th grade:
    • Through RaiseMe, students can start learning about projected personal college scholarships as early as 9th grade for good grades, sports, extracurriculars and other achievements.

 

Past Activities - Will return in 2021-2022

Financial Aid and FAFSA Completion Workshop October 17, 2019

The annual Financial Aid Workshop is scheduled for Thursday, October 17 at 6:00 pm at Fulton High School in the Library.  Jennifer Schultz, the Director of Financial Assistance at SVCC, will be providing information and assistance in a two-part presentation for Fulton parents and students. The first part will focus on FINANCIAL AID for all types of colleges.  This is a MUST for all parents who have seniors who are planning on attending any post high school institution.  If it is going to cost money to go to school, you will want to attend this workshop.  Find out about funding your student’s college education (technical, 2-year, 4-year), what financial aid is available, and how to find it.  

The second half of the evening will be a FAFSA COMPLETION session.  Director Schultz will help students and parents with filling out their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Parents and students planning on using this service should bring the following: Social Security Number, Records of income, such as income earned from work and business, child support paid or received and any other untaxed income.  If you have them, refer to the W-2 Forms or Federal Income Tax Return IRS 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.  Also have Information about assets, such as savings, certificates of deposit, stock options, bonds, 529 plans and other college savings programs, and investment real estate, business and farm; Driver’s license number, if you have one; Dates of birth, include the month, day and year; Month and year of marriage, separation, divorce or other change in marital status; Alien Registration Number, if you (student) are not a U.S. citizen. Senior parents and students are urged to attend.