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Financial Aid





The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid

Beginning in January 2020, two applications for students to receive financial aid became available: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.


FAFSA vs Alternative App.001


More information is available through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission  (en español) and through this FAQs document (en español).

Illinois Student Assistance Commission

Monica Masini             
[email protected]
(847) 636-1259                     

Hello! My job is to assist students in the college going process. That means that I am able to work with you on career exploration, college selection, test preparation, scholarship searches, application completion, and the financial aid process. If you prefer to meet during school hours I have office hours at Maine West on Tuesdays from 10:06 a.m. (3rd period)-1:33 p.m. (6th period). I can also meet you outside of school if needed.

To schedule an appointment, you can:



Overview of Financial Aid Process


Types of Financial Aid


About Financial Aid

Financial Aid is a federally funded program.  To qualify, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The federal government prefers the online version, and you will get a faster response if you file online.  You can fill out the FAFSA beginning October 1st of your senior year. 
IT IS BEST TO COMPLETE THE FAFSA BEFORE THANKSGIVING BREAK!  Do not wait until April to complete your FAFSA.  Many colleges have deadlines for financial aid, and the money will get allocated to those who apply early.  Thus, you and your parents will need to use ESTIMATES of your income. 

Click on the video below to learn more about the FAFSA:


Steps to Getting Started

1. Create a FSA ID – The FSA ID is your electronic passport to federal student aid online​​. An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). In order to create an FSA ID, please go to:

To access an instructional video on how to create a FSA ID, click below:

2GO TO FAFSA.GOV – Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as October 1st of your senior year. 

Click below for a video on how to fill out the FAFSA:






Financial Aid Events

You don’t need to figure this all out on your own!  We have numerous district programs to help understand the financial aid process.  Parents can plan to begin attending these programs during their children’s freshman and sophomore years in order to prepare appropriately for college.


District Financial Aid Programs for 2019-20 @ Maine West
Wed., March 4, 7-8:30 p.m.
Need help with financial aid?  Attend the Maine Township programs to get a clear understanding of what financial aid involves and how to apply. 


Financial Aid Application Completion Workshops
For seniors and their parents only

Oct. 3 at Maine East High School – 5-7 p.m., Room 018

Oct. 17 at Maine West High School – 8:20 a.m.-3:19 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., Room H106

Oct. 21 at Maine South High School – 6:30-8:30 p.m., Library

Oct. 26 at Maine East High School – 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Room 230

Nov. 7 at Maine West High School – 4-7 p.m., Room H106

Feb. 6 at Maine West High School – 4-7 p.m., Room H106



Tuesdays in the CCRC:  10:06 a.m.-1:33 p.m.
Assistance will be available in English and Spanish (Spanish by appointment). Financial Aid Officers will be available to help students and their parents complete the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid or the FAFSA. Students may come during their free periods. They may also request a pass from a teacher to attend.  A representative from ISAC will be available to answer questions and assist with your FAFSA.







Materials to bring for Financial Aid Application Workshops

  • 2018 federal income tax returns (1040 or 1040-EZ), W-2’s, and other records of money earned (for student and a guardian/parent)
  • Bank statements and records of businesses, farms, and other investments (if applicable, for student and a guardian/parent)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable, for student and a guardian/parent)
  • Current mortgage statements for properties other than the family’s principal residence (if applicable)
  • List of up to 10 colleges you would like to attend


  • Social Security Number or an Alien Registration Number
  • FSA ID (
  • Driver’s License (student)
  • If guardian/parent is a U.S. citizen or has an Alien Registration Number, the guardian/parent’s Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number


  • Be prepared to provide the student’s Social Security Number in the pre-screening section of the application


Important Websites – The Federal Government’s website for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission – The Department of Education’s informational website for planning for and funding post-high school education – The State of Illinois’ website for students and parents.  It has resources on many different topics related to college planning and paying for college. – Get your FSAID for the FAFSA. – How much debt is safe for college loans?  Look at this website for information. – A comprehensive guide about the federal student aid programs.  It is available in English and Spanish.
College Resources for Hispanic Students Provides a variety of resources for students and their parents.  These include scholarships, undocumented students, first-generation students, and more.