Paying for College
- Financial Aid 101
- Questions to Ask Colleges About Financial Aid
- FAFSA/Graduation Requirement
- FAFSA Completion Assistance
- Creative Ways To Pay For College
- Financial Aid Links
Financial Aid 101
Financial aid helps students and their families pay for college. This financial assistance can cover educational expenses including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. There are two basic types of financial aid.
1. Merit-Based Aid: This type of aid is based solely on the student’s credentials. Exceptionally well qualified students may be awarded academic, talent, leadership, or athletic scholarships, as well as scholarships to support ethnic and cultural diversity. Merit-based aid can come from a college itself, foundations within a college or private organizations.
- Institutional Scholarships. Individual college websites describe the programs at each school and list application deadlines and procedures. Additional essays, application forms, interviews, and auditions/recordings/portfolios may be required. Some schools automatically send scholarship information or make scholarship awards to applicants whose high school records meet the preliminary requirements. Returning college students should check yearly for new programs and funds available to upperclassmen in specific fields of study.
- BHS Local Scholarships. A number of Barrington-area community organizations and businesses offer scholarships to BHS students who meet certain criteria. Applications can be accessed on the BHS website as of February 1st and are due March 1st. Although financial need is a consideration for some of the scholarships, others are designed to recognize academic merit, leadership and community service. Watch student announcements for more details after the winter break.
2. Need-Based Aid: This type of aid is based upon a student and family’s financial need. It is calculated from the FAFSA or other aid applications (eg. the C.S.S. Profile). Sources include federal programs sponsored by the federal government, state programs, or institutional programs sponsored by a college or university.
- Grants. Funds from federal programs (e.g. Federal Pell Grant) or state programs (e.g. Illinois MAP Grant) that do not need to be repaid.
- Loans. These are federally funded loans for students and parents. The interest rates are typically lower and the student loans have deferred payment plans.
- Work-Study. Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.
Financial Need-Based Aid
The financial aid office at each college will tell you which form or forms to use when applying. By using these forms, a student can apply for state and financial aid programs.
- The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This form is required by colleges and universities in order to be considered for need-based aid. It is available at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Beginning October 1, families can file the FAFSA using prior-prior year (PPY) tax data. Under the PPY system, families can apply earlier, since tax data from two years prior would be readily available, allowing for earlier notification and ensuring more time for families to prepare and make financial decisions.
- The CSS Profile. This form is required by some schools, primarily highly selective, private colleges. It is available at https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org. There is a fee for the CSS profile.
- Some colleges may use their own school-specific financial aid forms.
Please Note: Different colleges have their own deadlines for receiving these completed applications.
Net Price Calculator
Net price calculators are available on a college’s or university’s website and allow prospective students to enter information about themselves to find out what students like them paid to attend the institution in the previous year, after taking grants and scholarship aid into account. Students and their families can go to https://collegecost.ed.gov/ for more information. This tool is only meant to be a baseline estimate. Colleges vary with the information they request, and how they base their estimates. Compare colleges’ net prices with caution.
Questions to Ask Colleges About Financial Aid
Questions to ask colleges about financial aid:
- What types of financial aid do you offer?
- What financial applications (e.g. FAFSA, CSS profile) are required and what are their deadlines?
- How long does it take the typical student to graduate?
- Are your merit scholarships renewable for more than four years?
- On average, how much do students end up borrowing?
- Do you grant course credit for passing AP exams? If so, how much and what scores are required?
- What if my family has special financial circumstances that are not adequately reflected in the application?
FAFSA Completion Assistance
Illinois Student Assistance Commission
ISAC provides students and families with assistance through the financial aid process. For assistance regarding financial aid and/or FAFSA completion, please contact one of our ISACorps Outreach Specialists:
Joseph.Doner@illinois.gov or (847) 894-7508
- Raquel.Garcia@illinois.gov or (224) 457-6521 (Spanish-speaking)
Financial Aid Application Workshops
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is hosting several virtual statewide financial aid application workshops. After a brief introduction and overview, individuals will be able to work at their own pace and have their questions on the FAFSA or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid answered privately via the chat function. There will also be staff available to answer questions in Spanish.
One Stop - Harper College Financial Aid
Even if you (or your student) are not planning on attending Harper College, you are welcome to utilize their One Stop department for assistance. For one-on-one FAFSA completion support, financial aid assistance, and Harper registration information, utilize Harper's One Stop Office. Use the "Chat Live" button to ask any questions or schedule virtual appointments.
ONE STOP - Harper College Financial Aid Support / Registration Questions
The 2023 BHS Local Scholarship Program is now closed. The BHS Local Scholarship Program will return in 2024.
Questions, contact Mrs. Galvan cgalvan@barrington220.
National Scholarship Links
All scholarship information is entered into Naviance
Fastweb (ongoing scholarship database)
Student Scholarships (ongoing scholarship database)