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Consumer Information for Financial Aid

Consumer Information for Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Process

Below you will find information regarding the application process and institutional policies for receiving financial aid, as well as other important information regarding financial aid eligibility.

  • To learn how to begin the financial aid application process, click here.
  • For a comprehensive list of eligibility requirements for financial aid, click here.
  • To learn how to maintain your financial aid eligibility, click here.

PLEASE NOTE: Foundational Studies (Pre-Credit), Adult Education, Audited Courses, and Continuing Education Courses are NOT eligible for Financial Aid. ALSO, a student can only receive financial aid for courses that satisfy the requirements of his/her academic program.


Effective with the 2013/14 Academic Year: All correspondences regarding your financial aid will be sent to your student email account.  However, you have the right to opt-out of receiving electronic correspondences. If you wish to opt-out, please visit your college Business Office to complete the "Opt-Out Request Form." 


Types of Financial Aid


The Financial Aid Office is required to provide information concerning federal, state, and local need-based and non-need-based financial aid programs that are available to our students.  information regarding private education lending is also required. 

  • To learn about types of need-based aid (grants) available, click here.  
  • To learn about types of non-need-based aid (loans) available, click here.
  • For information regarding the City Colleges' Private Education Loan Cerification Policy and Disclosures, click here.
  • For information regarding internal and external scholarship opportunities, click here.

The Federal Work Study Program provides a student with an opportunity to earn money for school expenses by working part-time while enrolled at one of the City Colleges. The hourly rate starts at the state-approved minimum wage. Most jobs are located on campus. You must have a valid FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on file, and meet other eligibility criteria, in order to be qualified for Federal Work Study.  Federal Work Study students work 10 to 20 hours per week. Positions are limited and offered to students who are enrolled at least half-time on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.  To find out more about the application process, click here, or contact your Financial Aid Office.


Student Loan Exit Counseling


Students are required to complete loan exit counseling upon graduating or dropping below six credit hours. Exit counseling must be completed at


The loan counseling will review a variety of information concerning the borrower's loans, including:


  • ​the terms and conditions of the loan
  • an example of/or actual monthly payments
  • available repayment plans
  • deferment and forbearance options
  • loan forgiveness and cancellation provisions
  • the ability to accelerate repayment without a prepayment penalty
  • the pros and cons of consolidation, such as the impact on minimum monthly payments, loan terms and loan benefits (e.g., the loss of the grace period and forgiveness options)
  • the consequences of default, including damaged credit, litigation, referral to a collection agency, wage garnishment, offset of income tax refunds, the deduction of collection charges of up to 25% from payments, nonrenewal of professional licenses, and the loss of deferment and forbearance options
  • availability of tax benefits, such as the student loan interest deduction



Census Date


The Census Date determines the student’s enrollment status for the semester. The enrollment status is used to determine the hours the student is enrolled in for the semester for financial aid purposes. These hours, along with the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), will determine the student’s financial aid award. Please note: a student must be enrolled at least half-time at the time of their loan disbursement in order to qualify to receive the funds. For the upcoming terms, the Estimated Census Date is as follows:


  • Fall 2015- 10/26/2015

PLEASE NOTE: A student CANNOT receive grants from two separate colleges for the same period (term) of enrollment.


Return of Title IV Funds


If a student officially withdraws or is administratively withdrawn from all of his/her classes prior to completing 60% of the period of enrollment, the student will be required to return a portion or all of the federal funds received. A federally regulated calculation is performed by the Financial Aid Office to determine any unearned funds that may have been overpaid to the student. The City Colleges of Chicago will return both the student portion and the school portion of any overpayment to The Department of Education. If this return of funds creates a balance on the student’s account, the student is responsible for that balance.


Rights and Responsibilities of Financial Aid Recipients


Student responsibilities are as follows:

  • ​Must complete all requested forms accurately
  • Must use all financial aid received solely for educational expenses related to attending the City Colleges of Chicago
  • Must submit in a timely manner all additional documentation requested by the Financial Aid Office
  • Must meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policies--information about Satisfactory Progress may be found by clicking here


Students have the to:



  • ​​Know how financial need was determined
  • Know how financial aid will be distributed
  • Have the right to request an explanation of programs in the financial aid package
  • Refuse any aid offered
  • Request an explanation of the City Colleges of Chicago's refund policy
  • Know what portion of financial aid must be repaid and what portion is a grant. If a loan has been received, have the right to know the interest rate and loan repayment options and procedures
  • Examine the contents of aid records provided a written request is made to the Financial Aid Office. Students may not review confidential records submitted by parents without the written consent of the parent whose information has been submitted.



Financial Aid Disbursements and Refund Policy


Financial aid is disbursed at different times throughout the academic year.

  • For the Fall and Spring terms, multiple disbursements of financial aid dollars will occur throughout the payment period/term. The first half of the disbursement will be scheduled 4-6 weeks after the term begins and the remaining disbursement will be scheduled two weeks after mid-term. For the Summer term, 100% of the disbursement will be scheduled 2 weeks after mid-term. To find out about the refund process at the City Colleges of Chicago, click here.

The scheduled disbursement dates for the following terms are:

  • Fall 2015 (1st 50%)--10/2/2015
  • Fall 2015 (2nd 50%)--11/6/2015
  • Spring 2016 (1st 50%)--2/20/2016
  • Spring 2016 (2nd 50%)--3/19/2016


Please Note: The scheduled disbursement date is the first date in which the City Colleges can begin the process of requesting the necessary internal authorizations and approvals from the Department of Education to begin to post aid to a student's account. Students can typically expect    1-3 weeks from the disbursement date for their financial aid awards to be posted to their Student Account. The refund process will take place within 14 days after disbursement has been posted to your account. You can view the status of your financial aid and account balance by visiting


Book Vouchers


Book Vouchers are usually ready a week before classes begin for the semester. A financial aid student’s book voucher is available when that student has a Pell Grant and/or a Federal Direct Loan that exceeds his/her charges for the term. A student must complete a one-time book voucher authorization on the student portal ( in order to use the book voucher on our on-line book store.  The dates and times for book vouchers will be posted in the Financial Aid Office.  Please visit the Financial Aid Office for additional information on book vouchers.



The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy


Students are required to maintain good academic standing and meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements according to City Colleges of Chicago policy to remain eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. For help understanding the SAP Policy, click here.

No Show Policy


A student who does not attend at least one of the first two class sessions of a class that meets twice a week will receive a No Show Withdrawal (NSW). If the student does not attend the first class session of a class that meets once a week, he or she will receive a NSW. A Student cannot receive financial aid for a class in which he/she receives a NSW, but will be required to pay for the tuition and fees for that class.


If a student decides not to attend their respective college or a particular class, the student should officially withdraw from the class during the add/drop period to avoid being charged for that class. 




Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. To find out more, and to print from the web, click the link below.


Consumer Information

Additional Consumer Information can be found at the Consumer Information link under About Us:

Academic Information (including programs of student and transfer of credit policies)
Textbook Information
Gainful Employment Disclosures
Graduation and Retention Rates
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Information
Equity in Athletics Disclosure
Cleary (Campus Security) Act
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