College education requires financial preparation. Some programs can be completed at a reasonable cost while others can be very expensive. Cost also varies from institution to institution. Community colleges and public universities generally have lower tuition and fees than private institutions.
The state of Illinois is committed to providing affordable postsecondary education by ensuring that no Illinois resident is denied an opportunity for a college education because of financial need. Hence, institutions strive to provide financial assistance for students in the form of grants, scholarships, and/or loans. Each is briefly described below:
Grants : Awards that do not have to
be paid back. These are awarded to students based on financial
need. Good examples of grants are the Monetary
Award Program (MAP) grant (for Illinois residents),
Pell Grant (Pell), and the Federal
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant .
Scholarships : Awards
that usually do not have to be paid back and that are
given to students who demonstrate or show promise of high
achievement in areas such as academics, athletics, music,
art, or other fields. Eligibility for scholarships may
also be based on financial need. Examples of scholarships
offered in Illinois include but are not limited to Merit
Recognition Scholarship Program, Minority
Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program and Illinois
Future Teacher Corps Program.
Loans : Financial aid, which must be repaid, with interest. The federal student loan programs such as Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Stafford Loan Program, Federal PLUS Loan Program, and FFELP or Federal Direct Loans are good methods for financing the costs of your college education. These government loans are more attractive to consumers because generally they have lower interest rates than other loans and do not require a credit check or collateral.
You should also contact the institutions where you might want to enroll regarding the following financial issues:
- The cost of attendance, including the breakdown of tuition and fees, room and board, travel, books and supplies, and personal and miscellaneous expenses
- The types of financial assistance available
- The procedures and timeframes for submitting applications for assistance
- The criteria institutions use to award financial aid
- The interest rates on various student loans, the total amount you must repay, the length of time to repay, when to start repaying, and what cancellation or deferment provisions apply
- Other conditions that affect financial assistance
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