Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office Mission

The Financial Aid Office serves students and families by helping them find sources of assistance that give them access to college.

The Financial Aid Office educates people about financial aid programs, application procedures, responsible management of financial aid funds and fulfilling all responsibilities that accompany being a student, student employee or an educational loan borrower.

Phone: (815) 224-0438
Fax: (815) 224-0638
Web Address: http://www.ivcc.edu/financialaid/

Overview of Services

Financial Aid Advising

The Financial Aid Office staff is available to answer your questions about all aspects of applying for and receiving financial assistance. Students and their parents are welcome to contact us at any time.

Special Financial Aid Reviews

In certain cases, a financial aid application may not accurately reflect an applicant's current financial situation, because of circumstances beyond his/her control. As a result, the Financial Aid Office may exercise "professional judgment" and revise an application to reflect the applicant's current financial situation.

The following scenarios illustrate some special circumstances that can be addressed by the Financial Aid Office. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Major loss of income or benefits due to unemployment, unexpected layoff, dislocation, natural disaster, certain unexpected non-discretionary expenses, etc.
  • Separation or divorce after an initial financial aid application has been completed.
  • Death of a parent or spouse after an initial financial aid application has been completed.

Tuition Deferments & Bookstore Vouchers

Students with financial aid above the cost of tuition and fees, are eligible to defer their tuition or charge required books and supplies in the bookstore before financial aid funds are disbursed.

  • Contact the Financial Aid Office or Cashier for information.

What happens to Financial Aid recipients who withdraw or stop attending classes?

Students who receive federal financial aid are subject to a federal regulation if they cease attending before the end of the term. This law applies in cases where a student ceases enrollment officially OR unofficially. This law is explained in the following paragraphs.

Leave of Absence

Students who need to request a complete withdrawal (withdrawal from all courses) may do so using WebAdvisor or by submitting a Withdrawal Form to the Records Office.  Students who receive financial aid are strongly encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine what effect it may have on their current and future financial aid eligibility. (see Return of Title IV Funds.)

Return of Title IV Funds

IVCC must return financial aid funds to the Department of Education when a student stops attending before 60% of the term has been completed. If a student stops attending classes before that point in time, IVCC must return a portion of the financial aid because it was not "earned."

Because IVCC has to repay money to the federal government, the Business Office will bill the student for this amount (i.e., the balance created on the student's account once the funds have been returned by the college). If this balance is not paid, the student will be prevented from registering for future classes at IVCC and a hold will be placed on the student's academic transcripts.

The amount the student will owe is based on the date the student stops attending. IVCC will determine what percent of the semester has been completed. For example, if the student's tuition and fees are $800 and the student completes 25% of the semester, then IVCC must return 75% of the student's aid (= $600) to the Department of Education. The student will then owe $600 to IVCC for the now unpaid tuition and fees.

Financial Aid Disbursements

A student receiving financial aid who stops attending IVCC may also be required to return a portion of Federal Grant aid (Pell Grant or SEOG Grant) which was paid directly to the student by IVCC. The student may be required to return a percentage of the unearned grant aid he/she received if he/she stopped attending before 60% of the term has been completed.

Students who do not return these federal funds will be barred from receiving further financial aid because IVCC will refer these persons to the Department of Education for debt collection. If that happens, the student will lose eligibility for financial aid at all colleges in the United States until he/she has either repaid the money or established a satisfactory repayment program with the Department of Education.

Because this regulation is complex, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office before you stop attending the college.

Who is eligible to receive financial aid?

In order to be eligible for Financial Assistance the applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • have a high school diploma, graduated from a Home School, or GED certificate;
  • not be in default on a student loan, nor have borrowed in excess of established Title IV loan limits;
  • not owe a refund on a Federal or State grant received at any previously attended school(s);
  • be registered with Selective Service if you are a male and required by Federal law;
  • be enrolled in an associate degree program or an approved certificate program of at least 16 credit hours in length;
  • maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress while completing a degree or certificate program (see section on Satisfactory Academic Progress).

How do I apply for financial aid?

To apply for Federal and State financial aid (grants, work-study and loans) you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can complete the FAFSA online at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. Use School Code: 001705.

What is satisfactory academic progress?

Federal and state regulations require that Illinois Valley Community College establish and implement a standard of academic progress for students receiving financial assistance. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy applies to all IVCC students receiving federal Title IV financial aid, state aid, institutional aid, and/or military benefits. Satisfactory academic progress is measured in three ways:

1. GRADE POINT AVERAGE

2. COURSE COMPLETION RATE

3. MAXIMUM TIME FRAME TO COMPLETE PROGRAM

You must satisfy all three of these standards of progress to maintain financial aid eligibility, including veteran benefits (except where noted).

    1. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement:

A student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher to be eligible for continued financial assistance. Incomplete (I) grades will be calculated as an ‘F’ until the final grade has been submitted. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office when their final grade has been completed. Withdrawals (W) and transfer courses are not normally included in the GPA calculation. For repeated classes, all grades will be included in the GPA calculation.

Students who do not have a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be put on one semester of warning, but will still receive financial aid for that semester. If a 2.0 GPA is not achieved by the end of that semester, they will be suspended and will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

    2. Course Completion Rate:

A new, continuing, or transfer student must successfully complete more than 66.66 percent of the courses attempted throughout his/her entire enrollment at IVCC. A successful completion is defined as earning a grade of ‘D’ or better. Withdrawals (official or unofficial), incompletes, repeated courses, developmental courses, and transfer credits are included in hours attempted. Courses completed with a passing grade and transfer courses, applicable to the student's program of study, will count as completed credit hours.

Students who do not have a completion rate of more than 66.66 percent will be put on a one semester warning, but will still receive financial aid for that semester. If the required completion rate is not achieved by the end of that semester, they will be suspended and will no longer be eligible for financial aid (Note: Illinois Veteran’s Grant and Illinois National Guard Grants are exempt from course completion requirements.)

    3. Maximum Timeframe to Complete Program:

Students may pursue completion of a degree or certificate program on a full or part-time basis, but the federal government requires that students make progress toward completion in a timely fashion. A student cannot receive financial assistance beyond the specified time allotted for completion of his/her program.

Students maximum attempted hours of eligibility at IVCC are determined by multiplying the length of the Academic Program by 150 percent. Included in attempted hours are credit hours transferred to IVCC from other institutions and “Prior” hours attempted at IVCC, regardless of whether or not the student previously received financial aid. Examples are as follows:

Associate Degree requiring 64 credit hours = 64 x 150% = 96 Maximum Credit Hours Attempted.

Certificate Program requiring 24 credit hours = 24 x 150% = 36 Maximum Credit Hours Attempted.

If financial aid is discontinued under the Maximum Timeframe Standard, special consideration may be given, through the Appeal Process, only for the following reasons:

· Students are allowed a maximum of 30 attempted hours of developmental course work in addition to the 96 Maximum Credit Hour Limit.

· Students who have changed majors may be granted a reasonable extension of hours provided they submit a letter from an IVCC Counselor verifying the change in major and the remaining courses required for degree completion. Students must have been meeting the required Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress prior to changing majors.

The review of the Maximum Timeframe Standard will occur at the end of each semester. Once a student reaches 150 percent of the standard program hours, financial aid will be discontinued.

Important note: Students who have completed their program of study, regardless of whether they have received their degree or certificate, will be considered as suspended from receiving further financial aid. Financial aid cannot pay for course work taken to meet prerequisites for a program of study at another college or university. Students who plan on pursuing a second degree or certificate at IVCC may submit an appeal for the reinstatement of their financial aid.

EVALUATION AND APPEAL PROCESS

Evaluation Process:

The Standards of Academic Progress tracking begins when the student attempts his/her first credit hour course at IVCC. The evaluation process is run at the end of each academic semester.

1. Students who do not meet the cumulative 2.0 GPA and/or a completion rate of more than 66.66 percent will be placed on “Warning Status” for their next semester of attendance. Students will be allowed to receive financial aid during this warning period.

2. Students, who are currently on warning status and fail to meet the 2.0 GPA, a completion rate of more than 66.66 percent, and/or have exceeded the 150 percent timeframe, will be placed on “Suspended Status.” While on suspended status students may not receive any federal or state financial aid, including: grants, student loans and military benefits (an exception is made for the Illinois Veteran and National Guard Grants if the 2.0 GPA requirement has been met.)

3. Students who have met or exceeded the maximum program timeframe will be placed on “Suspended Status.”

Appeal Process:

Any student placed on suspended status has the right to appeal. Appeal Forms are available in the Financial Aid Office or may be printed from the Financial Aid web page. All appeals must be complete and provide detailed information about extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances include: personal illness/accident, serious illness or death within the immediate family, an auto accident or other situation beyond the reasonable control of the student. Third-party documentation is required with each appeal when applicable. Documentation may include, but is not limited to, copies of medical records, accident reports, and/or letters from an IVCC counselor, work supervisor or other counselor. Appeals must be submitted prior to or during the semester for which the student is seeking financial aid. Students will be notified by mail of the Standards of Academic Progress Committee’s decision as promptly as possible. All appeal decisions are final.

Students whose initial appeal is denied cannot submit a subsequent appeal until successful completion of at least one additional term, in which a minimum of six credit hours have been attempted.

Students may also regain good standing by completing additional semester(s) at their own expense and bringing their cumulative GPA and/or course completion rate up to the required standard, or, by completing ’I‘ grades or repeating failed courses for a higher grade. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office, through an appeal, in order to have their financial aid reinstated.

Students who are reinstated by the Standards of Academic Progress Committee are placed on “Probation Status” and are expected to meet and maintain the cumulative 2.0 GPA and a completion rate of more than 66.66 percent by the end of the semester for which he/she was reinstated. Students who meet the standards for the reinstated term but have not been able to bring their cumulative rates up to the required standards may appeal for another semester of “Probation Status.”

NOTE: If a student is not meeting the minimum standards of academic progress at either the time of initial application or after the warning semester and the student has shown academic improvement during the preceding term(s), the Director of Financial Aid reserves the right, on a case-by-case basis, to “place” or “continue” a student on probation. The Director also reserves the right to suspend a student without a semester of warning based on academic performance during the preceding term(s). This includes new transfer students who failed to meet the required standards of academic progress at their previous postsecondary institution(s).

While the Financial Aid Office will attempt to notify students of their warning, probation or suspended status, it is the student’s responsibility to read, understand and follow the Standards of Academic Progress Policy. If you have any questions or need additional information regarding this policy or appeal procedures, please contact the Financial Aid Office, CTC-101S, (815) 224-0438.

Financial aid is intended to assist students in financing their education when family and personal resources are not adequate to meet their total educational cost. The information that follows is general. For more detailed information on all these programs, contact the Financial Aid Office.

The principal forms of financial aid are:

  • GRANTS: Financial aid awarded to students based on financial need. They are typically funded by the federal or state government; however many private colleges and universities have institutional grants that are awarded according to their own criteria.
  • SCHOLARSHIPS: Financial aid awarded to students based on merit, talent, financial need, or other specialized criteria. Scholarships given to IVCC students are funded by the state government, the Illinois Valley Community College Foundation, and private agencies.
  • LOANS: Financial aid awarded to students - or parents - to help meet education-related expenses. An educational loan is just that - a loan which must be repaid, with interest.

Federal Grants

  • Federal Pell Grant: For students pursuing their first undergraduate degree who qualify based on the federal formula. Awards range from $590 to $5,815.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): For students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and who have exceptional financial need. At IVCC these awards range from $100 to $200. Funding is limited.

Illinois State Grants

  • Monetary Award Program: Covers a portion of tuition and fees for eligible students registered 3 credit hours to 15 credit hours per semester. Award amount is based on the availability of state funds.
  • Illinois Veteran Grant: Full tuition for Illinois veterans.
  • Illinois National Guard Grant: Full tuition for Illinois National Guard personnel.

Illinois State Scholarships

  • Illinois MIA/POW Scholarship is available to any spouse, natural child, legally adopted child, or any step-child of an eligible veteran or service person who has been declared to be a prisoner of war, missing in action, have died as a result of a service-connected disability or be permanently disabled for service-connected causes with 100% disability and who at the time of entering service was an Illinois resident or was an Illinois resident within six months of entering such service.
  • Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program: Tuition scholarships of up to $5,000 per year to assist individuals of African American/Black, Hispanic American, Asian American or Native American origin who plan to become teachers at the preschool, elementary or secondary level.
  • Golden Apple Scholar: $2,500 to $10,000 to academically talented students, with a priority given to minority students, to pursue careers as public preschool, elementary and secondary school teachers in disciplines that have been designated as Teacher Shortage Disciplines in the State of Illinois.
  • Illinois Special Education Tuition Waiver Program: The Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver Program encourages current teachers and academically talented students to pursue careers in any area of special education as a public, private or parochial preschool, elementary or secondary school teacher in Illinois. Recipients are exempt from paying tuition and fees at an eligible institution for up to four calendar years.

Additional information on Illinois State Scholarships and application deadlines is available from the College Illinois website at www.isac.org

IVCC Foundation Scholarships

Each year, about 200 students earn scholarships through the IVCC Foundation ranging in value from $500 to $2,000. Over the past seven years alone, the Foundation has awarded over $700,000.

In all, more than 120 scholarships are available for students to apply for between early January and March 6th. Scholarships are awarded the following fall semester.

Awards are available in specific disciplines such as criminal justice, education, nursing, music, theatre and others. In addition, there are over 30 scholarships open to students in all programs of study.

The application and information is available online at www.ivcc.edu/foundation, by calling (815) 224-0551 or by stopping by the Foundation Office, C202. All applicants for Foundation Scholarships are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Employment

Two different types of employment opportunities are available to IVCC students.

  • Federal Work-Study is a federally funded financial aid employment program for students with demonstrated financial need. A variety of on-campus jobs are offered through the Work-Study Program. Student employment enables students to earn money while attending school. All student employees at IVCC are paid the State Minimum Wage ($8.25/hour) and are limited to 20 hours per week (or less) during enrollment periods.
  • College employment opportunities are also available (without regard to financial need).

Students interested in employment should contact the IVCC Financial Aid Office to obtain an application for employment. Applicants are not guaranteed a job but are given equal consideration for positions that are open.

Loans for Students

Stafford Loans: Stafford Loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized.

  • A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. You will not be charged any interest during periods of enrollment. The federal government "subsidizes" the interest during these periods.
  • An unsubsidized loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You'll be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If you allow the interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized - that is, the interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan and additional interest will be based upon the higher amount. This will increase the amount you have to repay. If you choose to pay the interest as it accumulates, you'll repay less in the long run.

You can receive a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan for the same enrollment period. If you're a dependent undergraduate student at IVCC, you can borrow up to $5,500 if you're a first-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year ($3,500 of this amount may be in a subsidized loan; the remainder will be unsubsidized); $6,500 if you've completed your first year of study and the remainder of your program is at least a full academic year ($4,500 of this amount may be in a subsidized loan; the remainder will be unsubsidized).

If you're an independent undergraduate student or a dependent student whose parents are unable to get a PLUS Loan (see the following), you can borrow up to $9,500 if you're a first-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year ($3,500 of this amount may be in a subsidized loan; the remainder will be unsubsidized); $10,500 if you've completed your first year of study and the remainder of your program is at least a full academic year ($4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans; the remainder will be unsubsidized).

These are the maximum amounts that you can borrow for a full academic year. For periods of study that are shorter than an academic year, the maximum amounts you can borrow may be less. The Financial Aid Office will determine the specific amount that you are eligible to borrow.

The Financial Aid Office has the right to refuse certification of a student loan or may reduce the amount requested. Students will be sent written notification of the denial or reduction and the reason why this action was taken.

Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

PLUS Loans enable parents with good credit histories to borrow to pay the education expenses of each child who is a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time. To be eligible to receive a PLUS Loan, your parents generally will be required to pass a credit check. The yearly limit on a PLUS Loan is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. For example, if your cost of attendance is $6,000 and you receive $4,000 in other financial aid, your parents could borrow up to - but no more than - $2,000.

Other Local Resources of Financial Aid

  • Business Employment Skills Team (BEST): Offers educational assistance (tuition, books, transportation), child care, tutoring guidance and support, and job placement assistance.
    Ottawa: (815) 433-4550
    Peru: (815) 224-1586
    Princeton: (815) 872-0255
    Oglesby: (815) 224-0370 (at Illinois Valley Community College)
  • Department of Human Services-Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS): Offers educational assistance to students who have a physical or mental disability that is a handicap to employment.
    LaSalle: (815) 224-1314
  • Dislocated Workers Center (BEST): Offers educational and training assistance to students who have experienced employment dislocation (e.g., plant closing, lay-off, etc.). Contact Illinois Valley Community College: (815) 224-0370.