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Federal Financial Aid Programs

For specific information about a specific program, click the appropriate link below.

Federal Pell Grant
Federal SEOG
Federal Work Study
William D. Ford Direct Loans

Basic Eligibility Criteria

In general, to be eligible for the federal and state aid administered by IECC, students must:

  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by the financial aid office; 
  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen with a valid social security number;
  • Register with Selective Service, if required;
  • Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent;
  • Complete and submit FAFSA;
  • Submit required documents to the financial aid office;
  • Be admitted to an IECC college in an eligible program leading to an approved certificate or degree;
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours) for all programs (except Federal Pell Grant and Est IL State MAP Grant);
  • Meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards of IECC;
  • Not have already received a bachelor’s degree (applicable to Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG and MAP);
  • Not be in default on any federal student loan;
  • Not owe a repayment of a federal grant or ISAC gift aid to any post secondary institution;
  • Not have a federal drug conviction while receiving federal financial aid.
Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant Program (Pell) provides need-based grants to students with exceptional financial need. Students may not receive Pell from more than one school at a time. For 2019-2020, the maximum Pell award is $6,195 and the maximum expected family contribution considered Pell eligible is $5,576.

Eligibility
A student must meet all general eligibility criteria listed above. However, students cannot be considered for Pell if s/he:

  • Is currently defaulted on a federal student loan;
  • Owes money due to an overpayment of a federal student grant;
    Earned a bachelor’s degree;
  • Meets the maximum lifetime eligibility units for Pell;
  • Is incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution or subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon a completion of a period of incarceration for forcible or non-forcible sexual offense.

Award Determination
Pell is considered to be the first source of aid to the student. Pell amounts awarded are always based on full-time enrollment, the payment schedules published by ED, the student’s expected family contribution (EFC), and the cost of attendance as determined by IECC. However, the amount of Pell disbursed towards a student’s tuition, fees, and other applicable institutional charges is determined by the student’s enrollment status and the student’s period of enrollment.

Disbursements
Prior to disbursing Pell, the institution will confirm that the scheduled disbursement will not cause the student to exceed lifetime eligibility units. Disbursements are made each semester approximately two weeks following mid-term and before sixty percent of the semester. Dates are determined by the Financial Aid Officers committee and published on the student’s award notice.

NOTE: If a student enrolls full-time (12+ credits) and receives the full Pell amount for fall and spring, s/he must enroll at least half-time (6 credits) during the summer semester to receive an additional Pell payment. If a student enrolls part-time in fall or spring, there is not a minimum credit hour requirement to receive additional Pell in the summer semester.

The Lifetime Eligibility Units (LEU) are earned based on the percentage of award disbursed to the student each term. Each semester’s full award is equivalent to approximately 50.000 units and is prorated with the student’s level of enrollment. Students may not receive more than 600.000 LEU which is equivalent to 12 full time semesters.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) provides need-based grants to low-income, undergraduate students to assist with financing a higher education. FSEOG is a campus-based program, which means a limited allocation of funds is received from ED to support the program.

Eligibility
A student must meet all general eligibility criteria listed above. However, students cannot be considered for FSEOG if the student:

  • Is currently defaulted on a federal student loan;
  • Owes money due to an overpayment of a federal student grant;
  • Earned a bachelor’s degree;
  • Has met the maximum lifetime eligibility units for Pell;
  •  Is incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution or subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon a completion of a period of incarceration for forcible or non-forcible sexual offense;
  • Has no unmet need following Pell and all other resources

Award Determination
Priority for FSEOG is given to students that are receiving a Pell grant, have unmet need, and the lowest EFC ($0). Should funds remain after priority students have been considered, then awards will be made to Pell-eligible students with the next lowest EFC in order of lowest to highest. Any funds remaining after all Pell-eligible students have been awarded will be applied in the same manner as Pell-eligible students. FSEOG will be awarded until the program’s funds are depleted.

The annual maximum award for a student is $800, or $400 per semester. The minimum award is $200, except for the purpose of spending remaining funds. Students with the lowest EFC are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis with the goal of awarding 80% of funds awarded prior to the Fall disbursement, and the remaining 20% to be awarded by the Spring disbursement.

Disbursements
Disbursements are made each payment period approximately two weeks following mid-term and before sixty percent of the semester on the same date as the first Pell disbursements. Disbursement dates are determined by the Financial Aid Officers committee and published on the student’s award notice. Awards are then prorated based on a student’s level of enrollment at the time of disbursement. The day prior to the first published FSEOG disbursement date, enrollment is locked for all eligible students and a final review is done to ensure students are Pell eligible and that they are being disbursed aid based on the appropriate enrollment status. Students that are locked at an enrollment that is less-than-half-time will not receive a disbursement of FSEOG.

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)

The Federal Work Study Program (FWS), much like FSEOG, provides a limited amount of campus-based funds for the institution to operate a part-time employment program to help students with need earn money to pay for educational expenses. Students are generally employed in approved positions on campus, but they may also be employed by a federal, state or local public agency with an approved agreement.

Eligibility
A student must meet all general eligibility criteria listed above. However, students cannot be considered for FWS if the student:

  • Is currently defaulted on a federal student loan;
  • Owes money due to an overpayment of a federal student grant;
  • Has no remaining unmet need after Pell and all other resources.

Students must also complete the required employment paperwork for the Financial Office PRIOR to working or submitting hours for payment.

Award Determination/Selection Process
All students that are eligible will be considered for an FWS award. Because funds are limited, students should express interest in working in an FWS position on the FAFSA, upon receipt of a High Expected Family Contribution Letter, and/or when completing the Institutional Data Sheet/Financial Aid Contract. Students will be mailed an application for FWS with their first award notice and should return the application as soon as possible.

Upon receipt of a student’s application, the institution will evaluate the student’s unmet need, class schedule, the available positions, and any other factors that might affect the hours a student could work each week to determine the appropriate award amount. At most, a student will be awarded for up to 20 hours per week during enrollment periods and 30 hour per week in eligible periods of non-enrollment.

The Financial Aid Office will work with the supervisors of the available position(s) to place a student for employment. The supervisor is responsible for making the final hiring decision. FWS awards made to non-employed students will be removed at the midpoint of the term. Awards may be added back when or if a student is able to be placed with a supervisor later on.

Disbursements
Before FWS disbursements can be made, a student must first complete a work study packet. FWS disbursements are made on a bi-weekly basis to students as work is performed. Students must complete a timesheet each week that is reviewed and signed by the appropriate supervisor. The hours documented on the timesheet(s) for the pay period are reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid and the Business Office at each campus before being reviewed by the payroll department. Hours worked on the timesheet(s) are multiplied by the current minimum wage to determine the gross pay for the student. The net pay is then deducted from the award amount each pay period to determine the remaining award amount. Students cannot be paid more than the amount of their award.

Disbursements must be made in the appropriate aid year. Disbursements for the 2019-2020 will begin on July 1, 2019. A student must be awarded FWS for Fall 2020 to remain eligible to work after June 30, 2020.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans) provides low-interest loans to assist students with financing a higher education. Loans are borrowed funds from the U.S. Department of Education that must be repaid with interest regardless of the completion of a student’s educational goal or a student securing a career in the field of study following graduation. IECC is able to provide three different types of loans.

Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. The amount a student can borrow is determined by the school and cannot exceed his/her unmet need. There is a maximum eligibility period for subsidized loans. Students may not receive a Direct Subsidized Loan for more than 150 percent of the published length of his/her current program. The Department of Education covers the interest while students are enrolled at least half-time, for the six months after they leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, and during a period of deferment. Repayment begins approximately six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 is 4.53% and is fixed for the life of the loan. There is also an origination fee, 1.062% before October 1, 2019 and 1.059% after, which is paid to the Department of Education upon disbursement.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students that may not have financial need as determined by the expected family contribution and cost of attendance. The amount a student can borrow is determined by the school based on the cost of attendance and any other financial aid and resources. The student is responsible for paying the interest during all periods. If the student chooses not to pay the interest while in school and during any non-payment periods (grace, deferment, or forbearance), the interest of the loan is capitalized, or added to the principle balance of the loan. Repayment begins approximately six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 is 4.53% and is fixed for the life of the loan. There is also an origination fee, 1.062% before October 1, 2019 and 1.059% after, paid to the Department of Education upon disbursement.

Direct PLUS Loans are available to eligible parents of undergraduate students, as well as graduate and professional students. Parents must apply for the loan at studentloans.gov and should not have an adverse credit history. The amount a parent can borrow is the cost of attendance determined by IECC less any other financial aid and resources received by the student. Repayment begins right away. However, parents may have the option to defer payment until approximately six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 is 7.08% and is fixed for the life of the loan. There is also an origination fee, 4.248% before October 1, 2019 and 4.236% after, paid to the Department of Education upon disbursement.

Eligibility
To determine if a student is eligible for Direct Loans, the student must complete a Loan Request form by the deadline for the term. Parents must also complete a Loan Request form for PLUS loans.

  • Deadline for the Fall semester is November 1.
  • Deadline for the Spring semester is April 1.
  • Deadline for the Summer semester is July 1.

A student must meet all general eligibility criteria listed above. However, students cannot be considered for Direct Loans if the student:

  • Is currently defaulted on a federal student loan;
  • Owes money due to an overpayment of a federal student grant;
  • Meets the annual and/or aggregate loan limits;

In order to be disbursed loan funds, first-time borrowers must go to studentloans.gov and:

  • Complete Entrance Counseling to ensure s/he understands their obligation to repay the loan;
  • Sign a Loan Agreement, the Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan.

Parents must go to studentloans.gov to complete the PLUS loan application for a review of their credit history.

Award Determination
Direct Loan amounts awarded are determined by the institution regardless of the way a student may split the amounts on the Loan Request form. IECC will use the student’s request as a guide to ensure the student receives the best and most appropriate award package.

The amount of loans awarded to a student will not exceed the annual or aggregate loan limits. The total annual combined student Direct Loan award for a dependent Freshman is $5,500 and for a dependent Sophomore is $6,500. The total annual combined Direct Loan award for independent students (and dependent students for those whose parents cannot get a PLUS loan) is $9,500 at the Freshman level and $10,500 at the Sophomore level.

Aggregate loan limits for dependent students are up to $23,000 subsidized, but not more than a combined total of $31,000. Aggregate loan limits for independent students (and dependent students for those whose parents cannot get a PLUS loan) are $23,000 subsidized, but not more than a combined total of $57,500.

Disbursements
At the time of disbursement, the institution confirms the student is still enrolled at least half-time, has met the entrance counseling requirement, and has a valid, linked MPN.

Loans are disbursed in two disbursements, generally one disbursement in the Fall semester and the second disbursement in the Spring semester. Single term loans will be disbursed in two payments. The second disbursement cannot be made until the student has reached the calendar midpoint. The first disbursement date for the Fall and Spring semester is at least 30 days following the first day of classes. Students that request a loan or complete loan requirements following the first disbursement date will be checked for eligibility, and funds will be disbursed at that time.

The amount applied to the student’s account is reduced by the amount of the origination fee. The net amount is applied to a student’s outstanding tuition, fees, and other applicable institutional charges.

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