Help With Paying

Many options are available to you as you work toward financially preparing for college. If you're wondering whether or how you can afford the cost of college, this page is for you!

Understanding Financial Aid

Financial aid is money that helps students pay for college. To receive financial aid from the federal government, you must submit a form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Our university also uses the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for state and school aid. Here's a breakdown of the types of aid you might receive by filling out the FAFSA:

Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships are based on things like talent or academic achievement, while grants are based on financial need. Neither need to be repaid.

Federal & University Loans

Loans are funds you can borrow to cover your educational expenses. These must be repaid once you've finished school.

Federal Work-Study

Subsidized by the federal government, Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a need-based financial aid award that allows you to work and earn money.

Filling Out the FAFSA

Ready to apply for financial aid? That's great! Watch this video for a complete guide to filling out the FAFSA.

More FAFSA Resources

You'll find additional guides to the FAFSA process on the FAFSA website, or on our Office of Student Financial Aid site.

What If You're Not Eligible for the FAFSA?

To receive need-based aid, you do have to meet certain requirements. If you don't, here are some other potential options.

Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid

If you're an Illinois resident who isn't otherwise eligible for federal financial aid, you can submit the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid instead. This allows you to apply for Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.

Learn More

International Student & Scholar Services

Need-based financial aid is not available to international undergraduates at Illinois, meaning you must have sufficient funds for your entire period of study. However, limited scholarships and loans do exist through ISSS.

View Opportunities

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Free Tuition at Illinois

If you're an Illinois resident whose family makes $67,100 or less, you may be eligible for Illinois Commitment as part of your financial aid package, which covers the cost of tuition and campus fees.

See If You Qualify

Calculate Your Costs After Aid

Our Net Price Calculator is designed to provide you with estimated information on what your cost of attendance might be at Illinois after you apply for financial aid.

Go to Calculator

More Ways to Pay

If you're looking for additional ways to fund your education outside of the FAFSA or Alternative App, we've got more suggestions for you to consider below.

External Scholarships

External scholarships are available on local, state, and national levels from many religious, academic, or cultural organizaitons, and you can often apply for them every year you're in school. Check out our list of compiled scholarships, resources like Niche, and opportunities available in your own community!


Finding jobs and internships during your time at school can help you offset the cost of college, both for tuition payments as well as housing and other living expenses. Check out the wide variety of employment options at Illinois!

Community College

If you're looking for a cost-effective way to get to college, you can always begin your academic journey at a two-year institution and transfer later. Explore our Pathways program to learn how to get guaranteed admission to Illinois.

Private Loans

Private loans can be acquired through your bank or credit union, and likely require a parent or guardian to cosign with you. These often have higher interest rates, which means you'll end up paying more than you took out when you begin to pay them back after graduation.