Illinois State uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, to determine if students qualify for financial aid. Continuing students must complete the FAFSA each year. Illinois State's preferred filing date for the FAFSA is November 15th each year. You must apply by November 15th to be considered for all aid programs.
The FAFSA uses such factors as your family’s income, the number of people in your household and family assets to determine how much your family can afford to pay for your education.
Other criteria also affect your eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs. For example, you must:
- be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- have a valid Social Security number
- register with the Selective Service System (if required)
- be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at least half-time
- meet the academic standards University's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
You may be required to meet other conditions for other types of aid such as private scholarships or loans. Before you apply, check the requirements directly with the donor or lender.
Eligibility for Graduate Students
Your financial aid eligibility is based on your enrollment status, your classification as a student and the number of hours you are taking.
For financial aid purposes:
- Five hours is considered half time
- Nine hours is considered full time
Calculating Your Hours
Only graduate level courses you take are included in the calculation of your financial aid eligibility. Undergraduate coursework is not included.
Example 1: Graduate student considered half time
A student enrolled for five graduate hours and six undergraduate hours is considered a half-time graduate student because only the graduate hours are considered in the calculation of aid eligibility.
Example 2: Graduate student considered less than half time
A student enrolled for three graduate hours and three undergraduate hours is considered less than half time because only graduate hours are counted in the calculation of aid eligibility. The student would not be eligible for Federal financial aid.
Visiting Graduate Students
A graduate student who is not admitted to a degree program is typically not eligible to receive financial aid, except in the case where undergraduate coursework is a necessary prerequisite to enter a graduate program. In such a case, the student may apply for a one-time Federal Direct Loan for one 12-month period at the undergraduate loan level.
- The student must first obtain and complete a Visiting Graduate Student Appeal Form.
- The student’s Graduate Advisor must certify the appeal and return the form to the Financial Aid Office.
- Upon approval of the appeal, the student’s eligibility for a Federal Direct Loan is evaluated.
Example 1: Visiting Graduate Student considered half time
A student enrolled for six undergraduate hours and two graduate hours is considered a half-time undergraduate student, because only undergraduate hours are counted in the calculation of aid eligibility.
Example 2: Visiting Graduate Student considered less than half time
A student enrolled for four undergraduate hours and five graduate hours is considered less than half time because only undergraduate hours are counted in the calculation of aid eligibility. The student would not be eligible for Federal financial aid.