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Financial Aid FAQs

Select a link if you have questions about:

Application
Academic Progress
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General
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How do I check my financial aid application status?
• Log into my.parkland.edu.
• Select Financial Aid.
• Select My Documents.
• Click on any item not complete. It will either take you to the form to print, complete and submit to
our office. Or, it will take you to an explanation of what is needed.
• If everything is showing as completed, proceed to Financial aid award letter to see if you have been awarded.
NOTE: You can check the my.parkland on your own. However, we will send an email to your Parkland Student email account if we need something from you, as well as when your awards are posted to the system.

How do I get help filling out my FAFSA online?
Bring your tax return copies and any other required paperwork to the Financial Aid Office. If you already have a FAFSA PIN, bring it with you. Normally, there will be someone to help you between 8 am - 5 pm at the computers across from the front counter.

I was selected for verification. What does that mean? Did I do something wrong?
The Department of Education is required to select 30% of all financial aid applicants for verification. If selected for verification, you will have to submit tax documents and other information to the Parkland Financial Aid Office. If necessary, our office will make corrections to the data, and when the corrected information is received, we will continue to process your financial aid file.

How will I know when and how much financial aid I will receive?
When your financial aid file is complete, and you’re eligible for financial aid, the maximum amounts will be automatically offered to you. Once the awarding process is complete, you’ll be notified by paper letter and at your Parkland student email account notifying you to access your award amounts on my.parkland.edu. If you’re offered a Federal Direct Student Loan or Federal Work-Study, you must accept and/or reject these awards on  my.parkland.edu. If you don’t accept and/or reject these offers in a timely manner, they will be cancelled.

How do I check to see if I’ve been offered financial aid?
• Go to my.parkland.edu and login.
• Select Financial Aid.
• Select Financial Aid award letter to view the amounts you have been awarded.
• If you see Federal Work-Study or a Student Loan, you will need to accept or reject them under Accept or reject my financial aid awards option. The ability to do that will show immediately on your screen. NOTE: You can check my.parkland.edu on your own. However, we will mail you a letter and send you an email to your Parkland Student email account if we need something from you, as well as when your awards are posted to the system.

Why am I only getting a student loan, and not financial aid?
There are three forms of financial aid:
• Grants or scholarships that don’t have to be paid back
• Student Loans that do need to be paid back after you get out of school
• Federal Work-Study that you earn as you work in a department or office at Parkland during the semester.
The types of financial aid that you’re eligible for are based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number, which is calculated based on the financial information you provided on your FAFSA. The higher your EFC number is, the lower the amount and types of aid you’re eligible for. Students with higher EFC numbers are only eligible for student loans.

Can I use my financial aid to buy my books?
Financial aid can be used to buy books and supplies at the Parkland Bookstore. If you have enough financial aid to pay all of the charges on your Parkland student account, money left over can be used to buy books.  Beginning approximately two weeks before the semester starts: If your financial aid has been offered/accepted and it pays all of the charges on your Parkland student account, with money left over, a bookstore credit will automatically be available to you.

How do I check to see if I have a Bookstore Credit authorization for the Parkland Bookstore?

• Go to my.parkland.edu and Login.
• Select Financial Aid.
• Select Account Summary By Term.
• If you show a negative balance (your aid exceeds your charges), you will be eligible for a bookstore credit up to $750.  If your negative balance is smaller than $750, that balance is the amount you will be authorized to spend in the bookstore.
NOTE: The bookstore credit is NOT additional financial aid.  By charging items in the bookstore, you are reducing the amount you will receive in your refund.  We encourage you to spend wisely.

What do I have to do to make me independent from my parents for financial aid?
The Federal government has very strict standards that determine whether you are dependent or independent for financial aid. If you don’t meet their definition of independent for financial aid, our office can (in certain circumstances) make you independent of your parents. You must speak to a financial aid advisor in our office if you feel you have special family circumstances.

My parents are divorced. Do I have to list both of their incomes on the FAFSA?
If you’re considered a dependent student when you apply for financial aid, you give information for only the parent you live with, or lived with last. If that parent is remarried, you must include your stepparent’s information.

One of my parents died since last year’s taxes were filed. Do I have to list both of my parents’ income on the FAFSA?
If you’re considered a dependent student when you apply for financial aid, list information for only the living parent.

I’m a working adult. Will I be able to qualify for financial aid?
• Almost everyone can qualify for student loans, even if you can’t qualify for grants.
• If there has been a reduction in your family’s income in the past year, you must speak with a financial aid advisor to see if you qualify for a Special Circumstances. NOTE: You should always complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and let us determine what you might be eligible for. Also, some scholarships require that you have applied for financial aid before you apply for their scholarship.

I’m an adult student with children of my own in college. Will I be eligible for financial aid?
• Almost everyone can qualify for student loans, even if you can’t qualify for grants.
• If there has been a reduction in your family’s income in the past year, please advise our office, and we will see if you qualify to apply for Special Circumstances. NOTE: You should always complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and let us determine what you might be eligible for. Also, some scholarships require that you have applied for financial aid before you apply for their scholarship.

I’ve heard that most of the scholarships offered are for younger students. As an adult student, should I even try and apply for any scholarships?
Most scholarships don’t have an age requirement. If you go to the Parkland Scholarship Search on my.parkland.edu, you should be able to find a number of scholarships to apply for. You can also complete the Fast Web scholarship search. You’ll answer a series of questions, and Fast Web will give you a list of scholarships you may be eligible to apply for. Applications for Parkland Foundation scholarships should be obtained by printing the form linked through the Parkland Scholarship Search.

How do I check to see if I’m making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes?
If you have any questions regarding satisfactory academic progress, you must see one of our advisors during walk-in hours (Monday-Friday, 9:00-11:30 AM or 1:30-4:00 PM).  You will be alerted at your Parkland Student E-mail account if you enter financial aid warning, suspension, or are nearing your maximum time-frame for your degree.
 
I haven’t received anything in the mail from your office about my financial aid. When can I expect to hear from you?
We rarely contact a student via postal mail. After your initial award letter, we only contact you, the student, at your Parkland Student E-mail account. If you haven’t activated your Parkland Student E-mail account yet, please do so, and check it regularly. When your award amounts are on the system, we’ll e-mail you at your Parkland Student E-mail account.
We also send out important informational e-mails about your satisfactory academic progress and other important notices, so check your Parkland e-mail regularly.

Why do I owe money back to Parkland?
There can be many reasons why you owe money to Parkland. For more information, please contact the Parkland College Business Office at 217-351-2233.

I looked up my information on the my.parkland, but I don’t understand what it means. What do I do now?
• Take your time and read everything carefully.
• Click on any links to help clarify information.
• If you still don’t understand something, contact our office.

Why won’t you give my financial aid information to my parents or spouse?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects your rights. Under the law, we aren’t allowed to release any financial aid information to anyone other than students. We can only release information to students in person. The only way we can release information to someone else is if you, the student, waive your rights under FERPA by filling out the Permisson to Rlease Student Record Information form and providing a notarized signature. In order for us to be able to give information to the person you authorize, they must have a picture I.D. when they come to our office. NOTE: We can only give information to you, the student, or someone you authorize, in person and not over the telephone or by e-mail. You, the student, or your authorized representative must have a picture I.D. with them before we can give out any information.
 

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2400 West Bradley Ave | Champaign, IL 61821 | 217.351.2200 | 800.346.8089
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