Harper College

Financial Aid in Times of Uncertainty

Many of us have faced difficult challenges and times of uncertainty during these past couple of years. Financial stresses were at the top of the list for many families. Follow these tips to keep your college goals on track.

Start with the FAFSA.
It’s more important than ever to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. The FAFSA opens the doors for you to be considered for federal and state grants, federal loans, federal work-study, and scholarships. Your financial aid eligibility can vary from year to year so you need to apply!

Aggressively look for scholarships.
There are unlimited numbers of scholarship opportunities. First, look at scholarships offered by your college. Harper College is fortunate to have institutional and donor-sponsored scholarships for our students. In addition, private scholarships are available from businesses, civic groups, religious organizations, etc. Scholarships are free sources of funds and may be renewable to use again the following year.

Was there a major change in the household income?
Major changes could be a job loss, reduced working hours, divorce or separation, high out-of-pocket medical expenses or the death of a parent or spouse. Talk to a financial aid specialist to take a closer look at your situation and see if your financial aid eligibility can be adjusted as a special circumstance.

Should I borrow to cover college costs?
Before considering loans, families are urged to exhaust all free sources of financial aid in grants and scholarships. A student can also be employed part-time in a federal work study job before borrowing. Then if you need to borrow, look at the Federal Direct Loan before a private loan. Loan terms are typically more favorable with a federal loan. Borrow only what you need. You must repay the loan with interest.

Many families are eligible for financial aid. We are here to help you explore your options.

Request an Appointment with a Financial Aid Specialist. A specialist can meet with you in person or by phone.

Last Updated: 3/14/24