Our answers to frequently-asked questions:
What is a FAFSA?
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study programs. In addition, it is used by the state of Illinois and Concordia University Chicago to determine eligibility for need-based grants.
When should I file the FAFSA?
Complete the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible each year. You may use estimated income tax information. Note: all Illinois residents should complete their FAFSA before March 1st or risk being denied Illinois Map Grants due to state budget limitations. Concordia’s priority awarding deadline is March 1st of each year. FAFSA applications filed after this date will be processed; however some types of financial aid may no longer be available. Financial aid packages can only be offered to students who have completed their FAFSA.
Where do I get the FAFSA application?
Complete the FAFSA online at www.FAFSA.gov. To make sure that Concordia University Chicago receives a copy of your FAFSA results, make sure you list our school code: 001666. This application is FREE. If you are asked to pay a fee for processing, you have accidentally gone to the wrong website.
What types of documents are needed in order to complete the FAFSA filing process?
You will need records of untaxed income, Federal Income Tax Returns, W-2 forms, bank statements and investment records for both parents and students.
When should I expect my Concordia financial aid award letter?
Only students who have been admitted to Concordia University Chicago are eligible to receive a financial aid award. Financial awards will be offered within 7 to 10 business days after the FAFSA results are received in the Office of Financial Aid. Once the student’s financial aid file is completed, he/she will receive notification in the mail.
Why should I file the FAFSA if I do not think I will be eligible for assistance?
We encourage all students to file the FAFSA in order to determine their full eligibility for all types of financial assistance. In order to be considered for any federal, state and low-interest loans and work-study you must file the FAFSA. If you plan to apply for private scholarships, many agencies and organizations require the FAFSA to be filed in order to be considered for their scholarships. And, in the event anything dramatically changes with your family’s finances during the academic year, the FAFSA on file can be used to determine additional aid types. Remember, the FAFSA must be filed each academic year for each child attending college.
Where should I look for other sources of financial aid?
Usually your high school guidance office is aware of scholarships and grants for which you may qualify. Also, many local organizations and businesses provide grants and scholarships to help students attend college. Websites like www.fastweb.com and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s website www.collegezone.com are excellent resources for additional information on scholarships.
Explore potential sources in your community. Your church, parent’s employer, and/or local chamber of commerce or other community groups may have information not widely publicized online.
Will Concordia scholarships be reduced if outside scholarship is earned?
The Office of Financial Aid reviews each student’s circumstances in determining appropriate financial assistance and the impact of outside scholarships. No student can receive funding that exceeds the total cost of education. In rare instances when the addition of outside scholarships results in a total financial aid package that exceeds the cost of education, we will reduce loans and work-study first. If you will be receiving any private outside scholarship assistance, we encourage you to contact your Concordia financial planning counselor for more specific information and assistance.
How many students receive financial aid?
100% of our full-time students receive some type of financial assistance based on need and/or merit in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study awards. Concordia University Chicago awarded more than $12.5 million in institutional scholarships and grants to undergraduate students in the academic year 2010-2011.
How does a new student apply for a Concordia scholarship?
The application for admission is also the application for most institutional merit-based scholarships and awards. If you are applying for admission and wish to determine if you meet the requirements for any additional awards or grants offered, please view our Scholarship and Awards fact sheet. Use our Net Price Calculator to calculate your scholarship awards instantly.
How do I know if my congregation or Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) district provides scholarship funds?
The best way to find out is by applying. Concordia’s Office of Financial AId has applications for congregation aid and LCMS district aid available to use. They are also available on Concordia’s Website on the forms page.
How can I tell if a scholarship is a scam?
The College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act provides protection against fraud in student financial assistance. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions students to look for these telltale statements: “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back,” “You can’t get this information anywhere else,” “I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship,” “The scholarship will cost some money.” If you have a question about a particular opportunity, feel free to give us a call.
What kind of help is available on the Internet from the Department of Education?
To find information on Federal Student Aid and to view publications online, visit: www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov or www.college.gov
Will the government give me a tax break?
Many parents and/or students qualify for an educational tax credit. For more information on these tax credits, please visit here. You may also check with your tax preparer or contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at (800) 829-1040.