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Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid

Still have questions about financial aid topics? Below are some questions that we hear often from students and parents. We hope you’ll find the answers you’re looking for here. However, if you still have specific questions about your financial aid award, please contact Financial Aid.

How do I qualify for financial aid?

You will be considered for North Park scholarships and grants by the Admission Office after you apply. If you are interested in obtaining need-based aid and/or federal student loans, you need to complete the FAFSA. Once you have been admitted to North Park, we’ve received your scholarship information from Admissions, and we’ve received your FAFSA, the University will create a financial aid package for you. The Financial Aid Office will ensure that all financial aid you are awarded is credited to your account and appears on your award letter.

Do I have to file a FAFSA every year?

Yes. The FAFSA must be completed every year that you wish to be eligible for federal aid, including student loans. You (and your parent, if you are a dependent student) will use the same PIN to sign your FAFSA each year.

What is an EFC? How is it used to determine my eligibility for financial aid?

When you file the FAFSA, the information you report is used to calculate your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is the amount of money the federal government thinks that you and your family can pay for a year of school. Your EFC is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid.

Do I need to file my taxes before I apply for financial aid?

We recommend filing the FAFSA by February 1, especially if you are an undergraduate Illinois resident who wishes to be considered for the Illinois MAP Grant. If you need to, you can complete the form using estimated income information before you complete your taxes. If you do use estimated figures, you should review the income information originally reported on the FAFSA after you file your income taxes, and make any necessary changes to your form online.

What should I do if changes occur after I file the FAFSA?

If a change in your current family situation occurs, such as loss of employment or income, separation or divorce, and any other situation that may affect your family's ability to contribute to the cost of your education, contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss filing an appeal for a change in your financial aid award.

I just received my financial aid package, but it's not going to cover my expenses. Are there any other options?

A Student Administrative Services representative can assist you in setting up a payment plan to pay your outstanding balance for any academic term. Please call (773) 244-5560 for more information. If you need additional funding, please contact your financial aid advisor. They may be able to increase your loan amounts for the current term. Learn more about student loans.

Do I get any sort of a discount for having kids in college at the same time that I am attending school?

Unfortunately, no; there are no federal aid allowances for parents of college-age children who themselves attend college.

How do student loans work? When will I get my money?

Once you complete the required loan documents, your loan will be processed. The funds will come electronically from the government, and will post to your North Park student account about a month into the term. You will receive an email when the funds have arrived. If/when you have a credit on your account (more aid than what you are being charged), you will receive a refund check for that amount. You will receive another email if/when your refund check is ready.

Can I use my student loan funds for other things, such as buying books or a computer?

If you have a credit on your account (more aid than your total bill), you can use those excess funds for additional educational expenses. Once all of your aid has posted to your account, and your charges have been paid in full, you will receive a refund check for the credit amount on your account. If you need funds for books prior to your aid being posted to your account, you can request up to $500 in a cash advance for books from Student Administrative Services by calling (773) 244-5560.

Can I get financial aid in the summer?

For traditional undergraduate students, there are no grants or scholarships for the summer term. (North Park's summer session courses are offered at a lower tuition rate than full-time tuition during the academic year.) You may have loan eligibility for the summer term, but only if you did not borrow your annual loan amount during the fall and spring semesters. Check with the Financial Aid Office to see if you still have loan funds that you can borrow. You must be enrolled for at least six credit hours during the summer term to access any leftover loan funds.

Adult degree-completion and graduate students can receive financial aid over the summer as these programs run year-round.

I have an academic scholarship, but my grades have improved while at North Park. Can I get a better academic scholarship now?

Academic scholarships are based on your achievement prior to coming to North Park. We do not revisit academic scholarships for returning students or award/increase scholarships based on your academic performance at North Park University.

Do you offer athletic scholarships?

No. North Park University is a Division III school and does not offer any athletic scholarships.

What is verification?

Approximately one-third of our students are randomly selected for a process called verification by the federal government. We are required to collect copies of your (and your parent's/spouse's) tax information and W-2s to verify that the information provided on your FAFSA is accurate. If you are selected for verification, you will be notified by the Financial Aid Office to submit these documents. Your financial aid will be "unofficial" until verification has been completed.

My family makes a lot of money. Is it worth my time to file a FAFSA?

We recommend that you file the FAFSA at least for your first year. It is impossible to determine what aid you may receive just from your income level. Many other factors play a role in determining your financial aid eligibility, including the size of your household and/or number of individuals in college. The FAFSA is free and only takes a small amount of time to complete. Also keep in mind that you cannot borrow student loans without a FAFSA on file.

My parents are divorced. Which parent should list his/her income information on the FAFSA?

If your parents have divorced or separated, answer the FAFSA questions about the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent. If the parent whose information you supplied on the FAFSA has remarried, you must include your step-parent's information on the FAFSA as well.