Embarking on your college journey is an exciting adventure! You shouldn't have to feel overwhelmed by financial concerns. While the FAFSA may seem daunting, rest assured, we're here to provide you with valuable assistance. The majority of our students receive financial aid, and our dedicated staff is committed to guiding you and your family through the entire process, ensuring a smooth and worry-free experience!
In order to be eligible for financial aid, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Be accepted/enrolled as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in college
- Not be in default on a federal student loan
- Have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent
As part of the Rise Act, undocumented and transgender students can apply for state grants using the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.
- Financial Aid Office
- (815) 921-4150
- (815) 921-4169
Did you know? Your registration status with Selective Service no longer affects your eligibility to receive federal student aid.
Due to the Department of Education’s (ED) efforts to expand eligibility for federal student aid and streamline the application process, the 2024/25 FAFSA launch has been delayed. The 2024-25 FAFSA will launch in December 2023. Once the exact launch date is determined, an email will be sent by ED to students (and parents of dependent students) who applied on the 2023-24 form reminding them to apply for 2024-25. If you’ve not previously applied, please check back here for updates.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
- Apply to Rock Valley College.
- Create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID for yourself and parents if you are a dependent student. The FSA ID allows you to sign the FAFSA electronically.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2023-2024 FAFSA covers Fall 2023/Spring 2024 and depending eligibility Summer 2024. The 2023-2024 FAFSA is based off of 2021 Tax Information. Please be as accurate as possible by using the tax forms and W2's while completing the FAFSA. Complete your FAFSA using our school code 001747 and sign it using your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).
- Once FAFSA information has been received by the RVC Financial Aid Office, communication regarding additional financial aid paperwork will be communicated via Self Service. Requested documents may include tax information or other verification documents. Access Financial Aid Forms.
FAFSA Resources & FAQs
StudentAid.gov Account (formerly FSA ID)
When creating a StudentAid.Gov Account, the username and password will be used by students and contributors to access federal student aid websites. If you already created a Federal Student Aid Identification Account (FSA ID) previously, you are good to go! It will be just a change of name.
- All students and contributors must create an account if they are:
- Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form
- Signing your Master Promissory Note (MPN)
- Applying for repayment plans
- Completing loan counseling
- Using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool
To create an account, go to StudentAid.gov and click "Get Started." You will need to provide:
- Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
You will also need to create a memorable username and password and complete challenge questions and answers to retrieve your account information if you forget it.
You can create an account at StudentAid.gov at any time, but it is recommended that you create it at least a week or two before you start filling out the FAFSA form. This will give you time to verify your account and make sure that it is working properly.
Access the Federal Student Aid Guide on Creating and Using the FSA ID for help with detailed information.
Two-step verification is a security feature that helps protect your StudentAid.gov Account from fraud. When you enable two-step verification, you will have to enter a code from your mobile phone in addition to your username and password when you log in to your account.
Yes. Each contributor must have a unique phone number or email for multi-factor authentication.
This depends on the family's situation. For example, if a student has married parents filing taxes separately, both parents will need to create an account.
There is no impact if the student and parent already have an FSA ID.
No, they do not need to create another StudentAid.gov Account, just ensure they are verified and ready to use when the FAFSA 2024-25 opens sometime in December 2023.
Contributors Starting FAFSA 2024-25
A contributor is anyone required to provide consent and approval for obtaining federal tax information needed to complete a student's FAFSA. If applicable, it may include:
- Student's spouse
- Biological or adopted parent
- Parent's spouse (stepparent)
Contributors are not:
- Foster parents
- Legal guardians
- Brothers or sisters
- Aunts or uncles
The student's or parent's answers to certain questions on the FAFSA form will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Email address
- Personal and financial information
- Receive an email informing you that you've been identified as a contributor.
- Create a StudentAid.gov account if you do not already have one.
- Log in to your account using your FSA ID account username and password.
- Review information about completing your section of the FAFSA form.
- Provide the required information on the student's FAFSA form.
- The parent who provides the most financial support should complete it.
- If one parent pays child support, that parent should complete the FAFSA if the child support amounts to more than half of the student's support.
- If a dependent student's parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will need to complete the FAFSA as contributors.
- If the parent who provides most financial support is remarried, that parent and the stepparent's income should be on the FAFSA, even if they were not yet married on the requested tax year.
Consent Starting FAFSA 2024-25
The FUTURE Act requires all contributors on the FAFSA to provide consent to share their tax information with the IRS. This consent is necessary for the Department of Education to request federal tax information from the IRS and to use that information in the federal student aid application process.
If you, as a student, or a spouse or parent, don't provide consent on the FAFSA, you will not be eligible for any federal aid.
Providing consent allows the Department of Education to use your name and social security number to match with the IRS so the IRS may share your tax information with the Department of Education to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid.
Every contributor still needs to provide consent on the FAFSA, so the IRS can confirm to Federal Student Aid (FSA) that you, your parents, or spouse didn't file taxes.
Starting 2024-25, all parties must complete the FAFSA application online. If a signature is missing, the parent or the contributor that needs to complete their section and/or sign the application must obtain an FSA ID, get into the application, and complete their section.
Federal Taxes, Assets, & Financial Data
No. Starting FAFSA 2024-25, the DRT will no longer exist. Federal Student Aid (FSA) will now directly transfer Federal Tax Information (FTI) from the IRS into the FAFSA form as long as you have provided FSA with the consent to do so.
Yes. Starting with the Simplified FAFSA, students will determine which parent to report based on which one provides the most financial support. The reported parents will provide consent to transfer their taxes data even if they do not claim the student on their taxes.
Yes. If the parent providing more financial support is remarried, the stepparent's tax information is required.
We cannot provide tax advice, but a member of the Financial Aid Team can offer to talk directly with the parent or stepparent to explain why the Department of Education requires their information.
Yes, but you still need to provide consent. We recommend you choose FAFSA provide your income from IRS taxes. If your situation has changed from the required tax year, please contact our office to request an appeal.
Students whose parents were not required to file a federal income tax return will automatically receive a SAI of -1500.
Starting 2024–25 award year, some financial information previously considered income or previously excluded from asset reporting will be required as assets instead. These include:
- Annual amount of child support received.
- Net worth of all businesses, regardless of the size or number of employees.
- Net worth of farm including the value of a family farm (family primary's residence is still excluded). This includes the fair market value of land, buildings, livestock, unharvested crops, and machinery actively used in investment farms or agricultural or commercial activities, minus any debts help against those assets.
- For dependent students, education savings accounts will only be counted as parental assets if the account is designated for the student.
Student Aid Index (SAI) & Pell Grant
The SAI is a measure of a student's financial aid need. It is calculated using information the student (and contributors, if required) provides on the FAFSA form.
The SAI is replacing the EFC starting in the 2024–25 award year. The main difference between the two is that the SAI does not consider the number of family members in college.
Students may qualify for a maximum Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income (AGI), poverty guidelines, and tax filing status. Students with a negative or 0 SAI are eligible for the maximum Pell Grant.
- Students with a negative SAI are eligible for the maximum Pell Grant.
- Non-tax filers receive automatic -1500 SAI. The maximum EFC was 0 (zero).
- AGI, household size, and federal poverty guidelines determine Pell Grant eligibility.
Professional Judgment & Appeals
Unusual circumstances are when a student is unable to contact a parent or where contact with the parent poses a risk to the student. Examples include human trafficking, legally granted refugee or asylum status, parental abandonment or estrangement, and student or parental incarceration.
To be considered an independent student, you must meet one of the following criteria and provide documentation:
- Born before January 1, 2001
- Married (and not separated)
- A graduate or professional student
- A veteran
- A member of the armed forces
- An orphan
- A ward of the court
- Someone with legal dependents other than a spouse
- An emancipated minor
- Someone who is unaccompanied and homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
Other types of professional judgment appeals include:
- Appeals for changes in income or expenses
- Appeals for changes in dependency status
- Appeals for changes in cost of attendance
For more information, please review the How to File an Appeal section on this page.
Upcoming Financial Aid Deadlines
Types of Financial Aid
Nearly half of our students receive some financial assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and student employment programs. Several local organizations and individuals offer private scholarships. The amounts of awards vary and can help defray the costs of your courses, books, and living expenses.
Learn about military education benefits, for service members, veterans, and eligible family members.
Students experiencing an unexpected financial crisis may receive support through Emergency Relief Funds.
Take the time to explore your financial choices now, so that you can have a bright financial future ahead of you.
Financial Aid Mission Statement: To assist students and families seeking resources to finance a post secondary education by administering comprehensive federal, state and institutional aid programs in a student centered environment.
Rock Valley College is here to support your college journey. To provide fair and equitable financing we want to provide a clear understanding of options for federal aid appeals. If you believe your federal aid award does not reflect your current circumstances, please review the appeal information below and contact our office. Remember, we have a full team of dedicated staff ready to help you along the way.
- Significant Reduction in Earnings: If you have had a significant loss in your income, you may file an appeal.
- For 2023-2024 applications, changes in income since 2020 will be considered.
- For 2024-2025 applications, changes in income since 2021 will be considered.
- Below are situations that can be considered for this appeal:
- Employment change
- Job loss or downgrade
- Loss in financial benefits
- Divorce or legal separation
- Death of a spouse or parent
- Other situations may also merit review
- The following circumstances may not qualify:
- Temporary reductions in income due to fluctuating markets (permanent reductions may be considered)
- Consumer (non-medical) debt
- Refusal of a parent to provide financial support to the student
- Supporting documentation will be required and may include:
- Signed statement that explains the loss of income and its current impact on your (or your family's) ability to pay for school
- IRS Tax Transcript – Note: If your IRS tax transcripts do not reflect a significant
reduction in income, we may require documentation that shows at least six months of
- For the 2023-2024 year, please include your 2020 IRS Tax Transcript.
- For the 2024-2025 year, please include your 2021 IRS Tax Transcript.
- Paycheck stubs
- Unemployment benefits
- Other financial assistance received
- Divorce or legal separation decree
- Death certificate
- Projected income table
- Other documentation that helps your case
- Letter from most recent employer verifying your start and end dates of employment.
Special Circumstance Appeal – Potential Outcomes
- In some cases, the appeal will result in additional Federal Pell Grant eligibility.
- In other cases, the appeal may result in more Subsidized and less Unsubsidized Loans.
- In some cases, the appeal may result in additional state MAP grant eligibility.
- In some cases, a significant loss of income may not affect overall eligibility.
- If you already have a low EFC/SAI, a Special Circumstance Appeal may not be warranted.
- For 2023-2024 applications, the EFC will be considered.
- For 2024-2025 applications, the SAI will be considered.
Other situations may also qualify for a special circumstances appeal. Please email the Financial Aid Office and we will respond to discuss your options.
Dependency Override Appeal
If you are unable to provide parent information on the FAFSA, you may request a Dependency Override Appeal to explain and document estrangement from your parents or legal guardians. Providing the following information will permit your Financial Aid Office to evaluate your dependency status.
- An explanation of extenuating family circumstances that led to you leaving your parents' household
- Your past relationship with both of your parents
- Your current relationship with both of your parents
- How you are supporting yourself
- The date you last had contact with your parents or date you were last supported/left your parents' household
- Please explain any unusual family circumstances we should consider in making this decision.
Supporting documentation may include two or more of these:
- Official court documents.
- Supporting, signed, and dated letter from individuals with first-hand/direct knowledge of the situation who are not relatives or friends:
- Letters can be from: therapist, counselor, clergy, employer, or credible non-family source.
- Supporting, signed, and dated letters from a family member or friend can be a secondary source of verifying your situation.
The conditions below would not qualify as unusual circumstances:
- You are completely self-supporting.
- Your parent(s) no longer claim you on their taxes.
- Your parents refuse to help you with your educational expenses.
- Your parents are unwilling to help you complete your FAFSA or provide requested documentation.
- Incomplete or missing documentation may delay the appeal process
- Submission of an appeal does not guarantee approval
- Appeals are approved or denied based upon the professional judgment of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee
- After initial review, additional documentation may be required
- Appeal decisions are final and cannot be overturned or re-appealed
- Please allow 3-4 weeks for the appeal to be reviewed and processed before a result
- You may appeal for the same extenuating circumstance no more than once
- Students waiting for an appeal decision should be fully prepared to assume responsibility for account balance payments, regardless of the appeal decision
- The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to modify the appeal policy at any time
- Appeal approvals may result in required FAFSA corrections and notifications
- Any changes to financial aid awards will be contingent on the types of funds available, eligibility policies, and regulations
Frequently Asked Questions
You can access Self Service to stay notified and up-to-date on refunds.
Note: The 2023-2024 FAFSA launch has been delayed. Instead of launching Oct. 1 as in previous years, this year's FAFSA is anticipated to launch in December 2023. Please check often for updates.
No. You can apply for the FAFSA beginning October 1st each year for the following academic year. However, you must be admitted to RVC before the financial aid office can receive and process your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the Department of Education. To actually receive funds you must be enrolled and attending classes at RVC.
The six-digit federal school code for RVC is 001747.
One form does it all! The form you need to complete is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and it can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This online version is also available in Spanish.
The FSA ID serves as your identifier to let you access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. It's like the Personal Identification Number you get from your bank that enables you to access your account. The FSA ID also allows you to sign your federal student aid application online and allows you to correct your application data online. You can apply for an FSA ID online.
If you do not have access to a computer elsewhere there are 2 computers available for your use to file FAFSA forms, conduct scholarship searches or gather information relating to financing your college education set up in the financial aid area of the Student Center. There is a printer set up to allow you to print necessary forms. The ERC and computer labs on campus can also be used for filing your FAFSA online. Paper FAFSA's are no longer made available to schools. Paper copies can still be printed by going to www.studentaid.ed.gov or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Forms are available in both English and Spanish.
You must provide your parent's information on your FAFSA form unless you meet one of the following conditions:
- You are 24 years of age or older
- You will be working on a master's degree
- You are married
- You have children that receive more than half of their support from you
- You have dependents other than your children or spouse that live with you and receive more than half of their support from you
- Both of your parents are deceased or you are (or were until age 18) in foster care or a ward of the court
- You are (or were until the age of 18) an emancipated minor
- You are (or were until the age of 18) in legal guardianship
- You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed forces for purposes other than training
- You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
If you do not meet one of these requirements, but consider yourself to have a special circumstance that makes you independent, you may contact the Financial Aid Office for further instructions. Please keep in mind that reasons the Financial Aid Office cannot consider you independent include:
- total self-support,
- your parents refusal to provide the information required to file the FAFSA form,
- your parents refusal to sign FAFSA form, or
- your parents refusal to contribute to the cost of your education.
When you apply for federal student aid, your answers to the questions in Step 3 of the paper FAFSA or the Dependency Status section of the online FAFSA will determine whether you're considered dependent on your parents or independent. If you're considered dependent, your parents' income and assets as well as your own must be reported on the FAFSA. Students are classified as dependent or independent because federal student aid programs are based on the principle that students (and their parents or spouse, if applicable) are considered the primary source of support for postsecondary education.
Note: The 2023-2024 FAFSA launch has been delayed. Instead of launching Oct. 1 as in previous years, this year's FAFSA is anticipated to launch in December 2023. Please check often for updates.
Yes. Every after October 1st you may complete the FAFSA for the next academic year. You must renew on-line or complete a new paper FAFSA.
Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, depending on your circumstances and any regulatory changes. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA. (See the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy).
If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.
If you file your FAFSA electronically you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) in 1-3 weeks. At about the same time you receive your SAR if you listed RVC as one of your school choices on your FAFSA RVC should also be receiving your information to begin processing. You should then receive a communication from the RVC financial aid office explaining what documents are needed to process your aid at RVC. The entire process may take up to 4-6 weeks after you receive your SAR. When your file has been completed you will receive an award letter from the financial aid office indicating what kind of assistance you are eligible for and the amount. Your award letter is also available on your RVC online services account.
While the financial aid office is completing your file you may pay your tuition and fees by cash, check, credit card or FACTS (a deferred payment plan.) To make a payment go to the Accounts Receivable office in the Student Center.
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from private or government sources, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office. The financial aid office must add the scholarship to your award package and make adjustments to your financial aid package as necessary.
How you receive your aid varies by what financial aid program(s) you are eligible for. This information will be mailed to you upon completion of your financial aid file at RVC. In general:
- if you are eligible for a loan, once your account has been paid in full the excess
funds are mailed by check to you. This is done the first week of classes if you applied
early enough for your loan or as soon as your loan funds are transmitted to the school
if you applied later.
- NOTE: Freshmen, first time borrowers, loan disbursements are made 30 days into the semester.
- the state Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant can only be used for tuition and mandatory fees.
- the federal PELL grant and state MAP grant are applied to a student's account approximately 6 weeks into the semester. Any excess funds are mailed to you after your account is paid in full.
Students who are registered in late starting classes and who are eligible for a Pell/MAP refund will not have funds disbursed for these classes until after the class has begun.
- the federal SEOG grant is applied to eligible students accounts about 12 weeks into the semester with any excess funds being mailed to you at that time.
- Scholarships are entered as pending aid until after the 100% tuition refund period and then are applied to a student's account if they have met all the scholarship criteria and are eligible for the funds.
- College Work Study funds are paid bi-monthly by paycheck from the RVC payroll department for hours worked.
Pell/Loan eligible students may have eligibility for help with books one week before classes start. You must have a complete Financial Aid file and be enrolled in classes. Students without a complete file must cover their own book and supply cost. If you have extenuating circumstances that are preventing you from having funds available for books please see the financial aid office one week prior to the start of the term.
Because a significant number of errors can occur on a student's FAFSA they are sometimes selected by the CPS (Central Processing System) to be verified by Rock Valley College. The Department of Education only requires that a portion of the FAFSA filers at RVC be verified. If your financial aid application was selected for the verification process you will be required to submit a verification worksheet, a copy of your IRS Federal Tax transcript (and your parent's if you are a dependent student) or a Statement of Non-Filing from the IRS, and IL state residency verification for state aid. The RVC financial aid office will send a letter requesting this information and you will be given 30 days to return it to the office so we can continue to process the file. Sometimes errors are identified during verification that require corrections. The RVC financial aid office will submit any necessary corrections to the Department of Education. If no errors are discovered your file will be marked complete and an award letter will be sent identifying any aid you are eligible to receive.
IF YOU DO NOT use the IRS download option when filing the FAFSA and are selected for verification, you will be required to provide IRS tax transcripts; per federal regulations we are only able to accept tax transcript as tax documentation.
Every student that applies for financial aid at RVC is asked to read and sign a copy of the Standards of Academic Progress policy. If you are not maintaining these minimum academic standards you will lose your financial aid for the future. If you encountered extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting these requirements you may file an appeal in the financial aid office. The appeal along with required documentation of your situation will be reviewed and if approved you may get your financial aid reinstated. If it is not approved this does not prevent you from taking courses at RVC but you will be responsible to pay for them by means other than financial aid until you have met the Standards of Academic Progress policy.
Not necessarily. You are independent only if you can answer yes to one or more of questions in the Dependency Status section of the FAFSA.
If you are a dependent student as defined by the FAFSA form, it is essential that your parents complete an application for aid with their financial information in order for you to be considered for aid. Explain this to your father. If all else fails, contact the financial aid office. Many times someone from the financial aid office can help explain to parents that this information is necessary and will be kept strictly confidential.
There are many reasons why your friend could have received more aid. For example, the college they are attending may have more aid to offer. There may be more family members in the household that her parents are supporting. They may have earned less money from working than you did. Their family might have experienced unusually high medical expenses. These and other differences in family situations could cause two students to receive different amounts of financial aid. Whatever the reason(s), keep in mind that each student's financial aid package is designed especially for that individual.
If you are under the legal guardianship of someone else you are considered an Independent student and will then provide only your income. Documentation proving guardianship may be required and requested by the Financial Aid Office.
Complete an application for aid with your information and information about the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months. (If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give information about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.)
NOTE: The parent who claims you on their taxes in not always the parent information required on the FAFSA.
Yes. Your mother and stepfather must both supply financial information when you are applying for aid since all resources in the household must be considered.
You may estimate the taxes to file your FAFSA with, however you will have to provide completed federal income tax information along with other verification documents before aid can be awarded.
Only students who have not received 100% of their Pell during the fall and spring terms will have eligibility for summer Pell. MAP funds are not available in summer semesters at this time.
- Stafford Loan: You must be enrolled and attending at least a half-time (6 credits)
- MAP Grant: You must be enrolled and attending at least 3 credits (Not available during summer)
- Pell Grant: If you are eligible for the maximum Pell grant award, you may be enrolled and attending as little as one credit and still receive a portion of the grant funds. If you are not eligible for the maximum award, check the bottom of your award letter for the chart of eligible credit calculations.
- Scholarships: Determined by the scholarship donor. Contact the donor for details.
*Please note that courses registered after the fifth week of the fall/spring semester start dates will not count toward Financial Aid enrollment.
How many credits is full time status?
- Full time: 12 or more credits
- Three Quarter time: 9 – 11 credits
- Half time: 6 – 8 credits
- Less than Half time: 1 – 5 credits
- Full time for MAP grant: The MAP grant is based on 15 credits for full time.
- Tax information: pay attention to line numbers:
- On the Federal IRS 1040: for “Adjusted Gross Income” use line 11.
- Enter a “0” instead of leaving blank fields to avoid miscalculations and application rejection.
- Always round to the nearest dollar, commas and decimals will cause problems.
- Double check social security and driver’s license numbers, incorrect numbers can lead to your FAFSA being rejected.
- Federal income tax paid amount can only be obtained from your Tax Forms NOT your W-2’s.
- The adjusted gross income (AGI), is NOT the same as the total income, make sure you are using the correct lines.
- Only choose yes on marital status if you are actually married at the time of filling out the FAFSA.
- Do not leave the question about drug related offenses blank. If you are unsure, ask before submitting your FAFSA.
- Make sure you put the school code on your FAFSA; otherwise the information will not get to the school.
- Make sure you sign your FAFSA. If filing electronically make sure you and/or a parent obtain a FAFSA ID.
- Make sure you enter the MAILING ADDRESS where you will receive mail all year. Putting the correct address on the FAFSA does NOT automatically change the address at your school.
- Do not send in your taxes unless requested. A copy of your tax form is not needed with your application.