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Financial Aid/Scholarships

There are many things that go into the cost of training and college education. Tuition cost, books and other fees are just a part of the big financial picture.

Step 1Find a college or training program where you can prepare for the career you want and determine the costs. Training program costs usually include tuition, books, and fees (lab/activity).

Step 2
Learn about financial aid. Complete the FAFSA application.

Step 3
Explore and apply for other types of financial aid/scholarships.

To pay for your training or college education, consider the basic types of financial aid. These include: grants/scholarshipsBoth are “Gift Aid”– money that you do not have
to earn by working and generally do not need to be
repaid. The difference is that grants are primarily
based on financial need, while a scholarship is usually
based, at least in part, on merit.
Glossary - Link opens in a new window
, loansA type of financial aid that must be repaid with
interest by the student. The repayment is usually
after the student leaves school or drops below half-time
Glossary - Link opens in a new window
(that must be repaid) and work studyA form of financial assistance which calls for
students to do labor to sustain their education. Work
study is commonly done on campus and is the most typical
form of financial aid in all universities and colleges.
Job Corp is program which offers free education to
youth, leading to a high school diploma or GED.
Glossary - Link opens in a new window

Grant and Scholarship Information

A grant is very similar to a scholarship. They are different in a few ways. Grants are usually provided through the government or a non-profit organization. But this is not always the case. The advantage of grants is that they are much more flexible in how they can be used. There are often some obligations. Most scholarships are awarded just for tuition or room and board. Grants can be applied to a variety of educational expenses if there is additional money.

A scholarship is a financial aid award for an individual student. It is used for furthering their education. Scholarships are awarded based on a range of criteria. Requirements usually show the interests of the donor or founder of the award.

Scholarships are not just for gifted athletes or students with top grades. There are special scholarships for students of every:
  • ethnicity,
  • gender,
  • interest,
  • ability,
  • religious affiliation, and
  • family history.

Some scholarships are for students in specific career training.

Financial Aid Information

Financial aid is money to help pay school costs. All colleges and universities and many vocational schools provide financial aid to students . They provide it to those who need help paying for school. The money for financial aid comes from the federal and state governments. Money also comes from banks, the schools, and private donors. You must apply for financial aid to get it.

Where does most financial aid come from?
Most of the aid that students get comes through the schools' financial aid programs. You must apply for this aid. The application is completed separately from the admission application. The amount and kind of aid you get is based on your financial need, your academic record. It depends on the kinds of aid available at the schools you apply to.

Are there other sources of financial aid?
Financial aid is also available through many other sources that are not related to the schools. For these, you apply directly to the award sponsor.

How do I apply for financial aid?
Visit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website. Learn what you need to do before applying. Get information on how to fill out a FAFSA form. Follow up information is also provided on the site.

How much financial aid can I get?
When you apply for financial aid, the school figures out how much you and your family are expected to be able to pay. This amount is called the Expected Family Contribution. The school compares the EFC to the amount they think that it will cost you to attend school. These costs include tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. If the EFC does not cover all the costs, the school will try to make up the difference. If they need to make up the difference, they will use financial aid.

Calculators are available on the Internet to estimate eligibility for federal need-based financial aid. You can also see costs of attending specific institutions.

What can I use financial aid to pay for?
In many cases, your financial aid package will just be used to pay the bill for tuition and fees. Any money left over will be given back to you to pay for other expenses such as books and living expenses. However, this is not always the case. Some scholarships are reserved for specific types of expenses. Some scholarships can be used to pay tuition and not fees. Some scholarships are only for books. Be sure to look at each scholarship you are applying for to see what costs it covers.

WIA Job Training Services

This is federally-funded job training services offered by local Illinois workNet Centers. The services may be available to employed and unemployed adults and dislocated workers. They may also be available to youth who have met eligibility guidelines for services.

Work Study Options

Job Corps is a U.S. Department of Labor program which offers free education. It usually leads to a high school diploma or GED. The program offers career training and assistance in finding and keeping a job. Eligible youth must be at least sixteen. Resources are available for English Language Learners as well. Visit the Job Corps website to find out if you are eligible. Then select from 122 locations across the country.

Federal Work Study Program (FWS) provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate college students. They provide jobs for students with financial need. Students may be assigned to on-campus jobs. However, FWS encourages students to perform community service. They also encourage work related to their courses of study to help pay for education expenses.

Student Loans

Loans can be a lot of help. But the more money you borrow, the more money you will have to pay back, with interest. Be sure you completely understand the terms of a loan before signing anything.
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State-wide listings

College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program

Website devoted to the 529 prepaid tuition program for college.  Describes ways to plan for your child or grandchildren's education. Click here to learn more... External link opens in a new window

  • Statewide Interest

    Free Online Courses Offered Through the University of Illinois

    U of I Online Website Beginning in the Fall of 2012, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign External link opens in a new window will be offering FREE courses online through the Coursera website. For this fall, they are offering 7 courses:
    • Creative, Serious and Playful Science of Android Apps,
    • Heterogeneous Parallel Programming,
    • Introductory and Intermediate Organic Chemistry,
    • Introduction to Sustainability,
    • Microeconomics Principles,
    • Planet Earth, and
    • VLSI CAD: Logic to Layout.

    Registration is open, click here to navigate to the Coursera website External link opens in a new window and sign up!

  • Compare Colleges Based on Scholarship Matches

    Fastweb Website
    Check out Fastweb. Research and compare colleges based on scholarship matches at each school. Look at lists of part-time job opportunities, along with career launching internships around the country.

    For more information, go to the Fastweb External link opens in a new windowwebsite.

  • Educational Opportunities for Unemployed Workers

    Opportunity.gov Website The President announced that unemployed workers receiving unemployment benefits may qualify for a special hand in paying for education and training. And aid can be significant: For example, the Federal Pell Grant program can provide up to $5,350 for educational costs at community colleges, colleges and universities, and many trade and technical schools.

    Get Started at www.opportunity.gov External link opens in a new window

  • What's Next Illinois - Making College Accessible and Affordable

    What's Next Illinois Website What's Next Illinois can help you in making decisions in planning the right career, finding the right college, how to apply to college, and the different payment options available to pay for college.

    For more information, take a look at the What's Next Illinois External link opens in a new windowwebsite.

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Illinois workNet Centers are an equal opportunity employer/program. At Illinois workNet Centers, auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers on this website may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment by calling TTY (800) 785-6055 or 711.