Financial Aid FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the FAFSA and how do I fill it out?

The FAFSA is the FREE application for federal student aid. This is where you apply for federal grants and loans to assist with educational expenses for college and universities. Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) requires you to complete a FAFSA to see if you are eligible for any State aid.

Apply for the FAFSA at or you can complete your FAFSA with the myStudentAidMobile App.

Items you will need:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically.
  • If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).
Is the FAFSA free to complete?

The first F in FAFSA stands for FREE! Do not pay anyone to complete the FAFSA for you.

Where can I get help filling out the FAFSA?

You can always visit the Financial Aid Office at Kish or any school you plan to attend to obtain assistance.

You can also visit the Help page of

What is Kishwaukee College's School Code?


How often do I apply for financial aid?

You must apply for financial aid every year you plan to attend college. The new applications are available online on October 1st of each year. Apply for the FAFSA at or you can complete your FAFSA with the myStudentAidMobile App.

What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?

You should file the FAFSA as soon as possible on or after October 1st for the upcoming school year. You can file throughout the school year, but may give up eligibility for several types of grants that have limited funding.

You should also be aware of when the payment deadline for your classes is, in an effort to have your FAFSA and financial aid file completed before that deadline.

What happens if I apply late?

You will not be able to use your financial aid to purchase books and may have your classes dropped for non-payment if you FAFSA and financial aid file are not complete by the payment deadline.

Be sure you contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you will need to sign up for a payment plan in order to keep any classes you have registered for.

Can I start classes before my financial aid is complete?

You may start classes prior to your financial aid being complete if you either pay for them or sign up for a Payment Plan.

Is financial aid available during the summer?

Beginning Summer 2018 students MAY have additional PELL eligibility during summer. Once registration for summer begins, check your award in Kishwaukee College Self-Service under the award letter on the drop down menu. We will begin calculating your eligibility when you register.

How is my financial need determined?

An independent, objective method of need analysis developed by the federal government is used to evaluate a family's financial circumstances and your financial need. Need is determined by subtracting your expected family contribution (EFC from the FAFSA results) from your Cost of Attendance. Your parents' contribution is calculated on the basis of income and assets, family size, number of family members attending college, retirement needs, taxes, and other allowable liabilities.

As a student, you are also expected to make a reasonable contribution toward college expenses from long-term savings, other assets, and earnings. A student who meets the self-supporting student definition is considered on the basis of his or her (and spouse's, if applicable) financial situation.

Can I receive more than one type of award?

Yes. The Financial Aid Office is responsible for administering and coordinating aid funds from federal, state, private, and college sources. Applicants for financial aid are considered for all programs for which they are eligible. Several types of aid may be combined to meet your computed financial need.

How should I calculate my college budget?

How long can I receive a Pell Grant?

As of July 1, 2012 the amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by a new federal law. You can now receive the equivalent of six years (12 semesters of full-time enrollment) of Pell Grant funding. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.

Learn what the Federal Pell Grant limits are and how your remaining eligibility is calculated here.

What are the eligibility requirements for state and federal programs?
  • You must be enrolled in a Kishwaukee College degree or certificate program of 16 semester hours or more in length (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.).
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • You have to have obtained a HIgh School diploma or equivalent certificate.
  • You must be registered with the Selective Service (if male and required to be).
  • You may have eligibility suspended or terminated due to a drug-related conviction.
  • You must have a valid social security number.
  • You may not be in default on a federal student loan.
  • You may not owe repayment of a federal grant.
  • You must be making satisfactory academic progress as at the school you attend.
  • Typically, you must attend at least on a half-time basis (six semester hours per term).
Do my classes have to apply toward my program while using financial aid?

Federal financial aid will not cover any classes that do not applytoward your degree/certificate program.

Please see the FAQ's for Taking Courses Outside of Your Academic Program.

What is satisfactory academic progress?

To receive federal and state financial aid, you must actively pursue your courses. Active pursuit means regular classroom attendance, handing in assignments, and taking tests and quizzes.

At Kishwaukee College, you must successfully complete 67% of all courses you attempt. A successful completion is a grade of A, B, C, D, or P. An unsuccessful completion is a grade of F, I, NC, or W.

In addition, you must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average. Be sure to review the entire Academic Progress Policy for the appropriate year on our Policies & Procedures page.

Do my parents need to fill anything out? If so, is there ever and exception?

The dependency portion of the FAFSA determines if you will need your parents' information. Under unusual circumstances you may be able to file without your parents information, check with the Financial Aid Office for more information.

I don't live at home with my parents. Does this mean I am an independent student?

Not necessarily, the dependency questions on the FAFSA will determine if you are a dependent or independent student for financial aid.

My parents(s) do not claim me on their tax forms; does this mean I am an independent student?

Not necessarily, the dependency questions on the FAFSA will determine if you are a dependent or independent student for financial aid.

I live with my legal guardian (not my parent(s)), whose information should I use on the FAFSA?

Follow the directions on the FAFSA, depending when you were in legal guardianship you may need to use your parent's information.

My parents are divorced. I live with my mother, but my father claims me on his tax return. Whose information do I use on the FAFSA?

For financial aid, it does not matter who claims you on their taxes. You should use the information for the parent who paid the most for your support during the past year.

What is verification and why was I selected?

The Department of Education selects students for verification, mostly randomly; the college may also select you for 'institutional' verification if you have conflicting information between the FAFSA and other paperwork.

How do I request a tax transcript?

The preferred method for you to submit your tax information to the college is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA. Step-by-step instructions on how to utilize this tool are provided below.

How to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain Tax Return Transcripts online

If you are unable or ineligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool then you can request a tax transcript from the IRS in one of three ways.

  1. Go to and click on the "Get a Tax Transcript by Mail" link. Click the link above for step-by-step instructions on obtaining your Tax Return Transcript online.
  2. Call 1-800-908-9946
  3. Fax or mail a Request for Transcript of Tax Return to the IRS

Make sure you order the "IRS TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT" and not the "IRS tax account transcript." You will need your Social Security Number, date of birth, and the address on file with the IRS (normally this will be the address used when the IRS tax return was filed). It takes up to three weeks for IRS income information to be available for electronic IRS tax return filers, and up to eight weeks for paper tax return filers. If you are married, and separate tax returns were filed, IRS tax return transcripts must be submitted for both you and your spouse.

What if my, and/or my parent(s) taxes are not completed?

You should complete the FAFSA using estimated information. You can go back later and update your FAFSA with the actual/correct information.

What will happen to my financial aid if I withdraw from classes?

You may lose your eligibility for future financial aid if you are not meeting the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress policy which, in part, requires students to complete at least 67% of their course work. For more details please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

What if I don't qualify for financial aid and I don't have the money to pay for school?

You should consider researching and applying for scholarships.

You should also check what other programs are available on campus.

Many students qualify for unsubsidized student loans, however, loans are borrowed money and should always be a last resort and you should only borrow what you need.

When will I receive my financial aid?

Your aid will be disbursed up to the amount to cover your tuition, fees, and books a week or so prior to the beginning of the semester. Any remaining funds will be disbursed to the student approximately 5 weeks into the semester. If you complete your financial aid file beyond the mentioned time frame, funds are disbursed on a weekly basis.

How much will I receive?

How much you receive is dependent on a number of factors:

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • The number of classes you are registered in that apply toward your degree
  • How much financial aid you have used previously
  • When you registered for your classes
  • How many different types of financial aid funds you are receiving

Your financial aid is first applied to your charges (tuition, fees, books (if you charged any), previous balances (from the current aid year or from past years, if authorized).

Any remaining funds will be disbursed to the student, you can calculate your refund using the Financial Aid Refund Calculations Sheet.

How do I purchase my books using financial aid?

Approximately 10 days prior to the semester beginning, students who have a complete financial aid file and have eligibility, will be able to purchase their books in the Kishwaukee College Bookstore and charge the books to their account.

If I don't receive it before school starts, how to I buy books?

If you don't file early enough to be eligible to purchase books using your financial aid, you will have to make arrangements to purchase the books with your own funding.

You may also check to see if the library has your books available, however, please note that you cannot check these books out of the library.

What if I am expecting Financial Aid and cannot afford any out-of-pocket expenses?

If you have a completed financial aid application you should sign up for a Payment Plan to avoid being deregistered from your classes for non-payment.

It is critical that you submit your financial aid application a minimum of two months before the tuition due date. The Financial Aid Office will accept late applications but cannot guarantee that they will be processed before your bill is due.

What is the difference between a grant and a loan? Scholarship?


  • Funds awarded to students who are eligible by the Federal or State Government to assist with educational expenses.
  • Typically do not have to be repaid (some exceptions may apply).
  • Free to apply.


  • Funds awarded to students by schools or other organizations (clubs, churches, community organizations, companies, etc) to assist with educational expenses.
  • Typically require the student to apply and provide some form of information and do not have to be repaid.
  • Generally, students should not pay to apply and should not provide their social security number.


  • Funds borrowed by the student from the federal government, schools, or other entities to assist with educational expenses.
  • Have to be repaid with interest, sometimes after student has graduated or stopped attending school.
  • Free to apply, student should not pay to apply for loans.
How can I find private scholarships?

Information about private scholarships is often available at your local library, businesses and civic organizations, and your parents' places of employment. The Internet is also an excellent source for private scholarship information.

The following websites are a great place to start a private scholarship search:

The College Board
FastWeb Scholarship Search
FinAid Scholarship Search
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Scholarship Experts

Financial Aid Resources for Minority Students

American Indian College Fund
Bureau of Indian Education
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
National Urban League 
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
United Negro College Fund

Kishwaukee College also awards a number of scholarships from various sources.

What is Federal Work Study and how do I apply?

Federal Works Study is a federally funded program that allows the college to offer part-time employment to students. Students earn a paycheck and get valuable experience while attending college at least 6 credit hours. Your eligibility for this program is determined by the results of your FAFSA, which can be completed at

You may review student worker job openings in the Human Resources department.  Application and resume should be sent directly to the department you are interested in working in.  The supervisor will interview you, and determine if your skills meet the needs of that department.

If you are offered a position, you will have to pass a background check prior to beginning work.

How do I apply for a loan?

Kishwaukee College participates in the Direct Loan Program. You must complete the FAFSA and submit all documents requested and complete the required loan forms available on the Kishwaukee College website, under Direct Student Loans. Official academic transcripts from ALL colleges and universities previously attended are strongly suggested so that we can certify an appropriate loan amount for you. Loan checks are mailed to the student preferred mailing address or direct deposited.

What is Entrance/Exit Loan Counseling?

All students must complete loan entrance counseling for Kishwaukee College

Entrance Counseling will walk you through the Direct Loan process and explain your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. If you have not previously received a particular loan type at Kishwaukee College (subsidized/unsubsidized or PLUS), under the Direct Loan Program the Federal Government requires you to complete loan counseling to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming. You can complete Entrance Counseling at

Exit Counseling is required before you withdraw, graduate, or drop below half-time attendance (even if you plan to transfer to another school). It helps you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and provides useful tips and information to help you manage your loans. You can complete your Exit Counseling online through the Department of Education at

Who has to verify their attendance each month with the VA? How?

Students who are receiving money under chapter 1606, 1607, 30, or VRAP have to verify their attendance to Veterans Affairs. Students receiving benefits under Chapter 31, 33, or 35 do not have to verify their attendance. Students can verify their attendance by calling 1-877-823-2378 or by following the WAVE website.

Why do I have to verify my attendance each month for VA benefits?

Veterans Affairs requires students to verify that they are still enrolled at the end of each month before they will send out your next payment. This prevents students from receiving money with VA will have to recoup. If you receive money for classes in which you are no longer enrolled, the money will have to be returned. Veterans Affairs will get their money back.

I need to buy my books but I am waiting on my VA money.

DO NOT wait until VA money or other financial aid arrives to buy textbooks. This can hinder your academic progress. Textbooks are needed at the beginning of the term, but VA money, tuition assistance, grants, and loans can take weeks to post to your account. Be prepared to purchase or rent your books at the beginning of each term. If you have a credit balance after your account is paid, consider saving any extra money to cover your expenses until your future educational assistance arrives. Think ahead and be prepared.

I need to pay my rent but I am waiting on my VA money.

DO NOT depend on VA money or other financial aid arriving in time to pay expenses. Always have a back-up plan. Payments can be delayed for a number of different reasons. Be prepared to cover your expenses until Veterans Affairs can process your claim. Consider saving any extra money from each semester to cover your expenses until your future educational assistance arrives. Think ahead and be prepared.

Can my parent(s) or spouse inquire about my financial aid for me?

The Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act protects college student records; therefore, we are not able to give out specific information about a student's records to any but that student. The student must stop in in-person to the financial aid office. However, the student may sign a release form in the Student Services Office to give the College permission to speak to someone else on their behalf.

How do I transfer financial aid to a different school?

Add the new school code to your FAFSA by going to the FAFSA Website. You will need your FSA ID and password. Student loans must be canceled at the current school and a new loan application may be needed at the new school.

How does financial aid affect my taxes?

Due to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, a portion of financial aid awards may be considered taxable income that is required to be reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Students and their families may be eligible for the Education Credits when tuition and fees are paid by the student or family and when U.S. income taxes are owed. Consult a tax preparation expert or the IRS for details and requirements.