Financial Aid: Frequently Asked Questions
The priority deadline to complete the FAFSA each year is March 1 at fafsa.gov and February 15 for Illinois residents. Students can still apply for financial aid after the priority deadline, however, they risk losing some financial aid funds.
Student Financial Services has two timelines at the beginning of each awarding year. Awarding for admitted freshmen begins March 1 and, for continuing students, mid-April. Once SAIC receives the FAFSA from the Department of Education, and depending on your awarding timeline, it can take one to two weeks to be awarded financial aid.
If additional documention is required to complete the awarding process, the student will receive a notice requesting the needed document(s). Students can also view a listing of any requested documentation on their "To Do List" in SAIC Self-Service to avoid any delays in processing.
Please remember that March 1 is our priority deadline (February 15 for Illinois residents) in order to receive the maximum in financial aid for each academic year. Please complete the FAFSA using your best estimate even if you have not filed the tax return. After you have filed, please review the FAFSA and the tax information, and if corrections are necessary, please make the appropriate changes to the FAFSA at fafsa.gov
A completed FAFSA and an SAIC Institutional Financial Aid Application are required for federal student aid recipients for winter and summer term classes. For merit-only students, only the SAIC Institutional Financial Aid Application is required for these terms. The application is for on-campus classes only and should be downloaded and submitted to Student Financial Services. Winter and summer SAIC Institutional Financial Aid Applications are available on the Financial Aid section of the SAIC website or in the Student Financial Services Office, 36 South Wabash Avenue, suite 1200.
If you would like to apply for aid to attend a study trip, do not use the SAIC Institutional Application. To apply for summer and/or winter Study Trip Financial Aid—students must go to SAIC Self-Service and apply.
Once logged into SAIC Self-Service navigate to: Resources > Student life and services > Study abroad > Study trips
What if I want to apply for both the summer/winter study trip and also enroll in a summer/winter on-campus class?
To apply for an on-campus class, download and submit a SAIC Institutional Financial Aid Application to Student Financial Services.. Winter and summer Institutional Financial Aid Applications are available on the Financial Aid section of the SAIC website or in the Student Financial Services Office, 36 South Wabash Avenue, suite 1200.
If your finances have changed due to a loss of employment, loss of untaxed income, separation, divorce or death, you should discuss your concerns with a Student Financial Services Advisor who might recommend that you submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Appeal Committee with documents supporting your appeal request. You can contact a Student Financial Services Advisor by visiting our office at 36 South Wabash Avenue, suite 1200, by email at email@example.com, or by calling 312.629.6600.
Only certain information can be released and disclosed to parents regarding their son's/daughter's financial or academic records, beginning with their first day of classes. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) exists to protect your son's/daughter's right to confidentiality and limits our release of information about your file or award(s). Students may give the Student Affairs written consent to release the information to the parents and/or others by completing the FERPA—Authorization to Release Financial Records form. Only then can Student Financial Services disclose financial records as defined by FERPA.
Students must complete the FASFA to determine if they are eligible for Federal Work-Study. Unfortunately, students are not guaranteed a job if they are found to be eligible for Federal Work-Study, and they should contact the Career and Co-op Center at 312.629.6820 to discuss job opportunities. You can also search our job database, SAIC Launch.
Students need to submit an I-9 Verification form with appropriate identification documentation located on the SAIC Student Payroll webpage. A complete I-9 packet is located at the front desk of our office; Student Financial Services Office, 36 South Wabash Avenue, suite 1200.
The Federal Government randomly selects students for Federal Verification. This process requires the school to request federal documents to verify the completed information listed on the FAFSA. If you are chosen for Federal Verification. please look at your To Do List on SAIC Self Service and submit the requested forms. Continuing students are not awarded financial aid until these required documents are received and the verification process is complete.
I have been awarded a Federal Direct Stafford loan, so how do I accept my loan or is it automatically accepted?
To accept your Federal Direct Stafford loans please visit StudentLoans.gov to complete:
- Federal Direct Stafford Entrance Counseling
- Federal Direct Stafford Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN)
Please remember these processes are only required once during your enrollment here at SAIC.
To cancel or reduce the amount of a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, students can submit their written loan adjustment request to the Student Financial Services Office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may reduce or cancel the amount of your Federal Direct Stafford or GPLUS loan(s) at no cost until you have Federal Direct Stafford or GPLUS proceeds credited to your Tuition Account. If you wish to reduce or cancel any of the loan proceeds, you must submit immediately in writing, ALL of the items noted below to your SAIC Student Financial Services advisor.
- Name and SAIC ID Number
- Revised gross Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized or PLUS loan amounts represented in whole dollars.
- Your signature and date.
You are strongly advised to meet with your SAIC Student Financial Services advisor at the time you submit your loan reduction or cancellation request to the SAIC Student Financial Services office.
Due to federal regulations, SAIC Student Financial Services may not be able to reinstate, at some later date, a Federal Direct loan that has been reduced or cancelled.
Warning: SAIC Student Financial Services cannot process incomplete loan reduction or cancellation requests.
Parents must complete a PLUS Request at StudentLoans.gov. Secondly, the parent must complete a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (eMPN) at StudentLoans.gov. Please remember that these loans are credit-based.
Once our office receives the certification request form from your lender, asking us to certify that you are a student at SAIC and that the loan amount is correct, it usually takes five to 10 days to certify your loan. Please remember that these loans are credit-based.
Refunds resulting from financial aid being disbursed to student accounts will be processed within two weeks after financial aid has disbursed and a credit balance has been created. As most financial aid awards are not disbursed to student accounts until after the end of the add/drop period for each semester, refunds are not issued until this time.
Since full refunds cannot be issued until financial aid has disbursed and a credit balance has been created on the student account, students should respond quickly to any documentation requests from Student Financial Services as these requests may need to be fulfilled and reviewed prior to financial aid being disbursed and prior to any refund being issued. Any delay in the submission of requested documentation to Student Financial Services could result in a delay of a financial aid refund being processed.
Refunds resulting from personal payments being applied to a student account will be processed 30 days after the credit balance has been created unless the student has signed up for eRefund through SAIC Self-Service. If the student has signed up for eRefund, the refund will be processed within two weeks of when the credit balance is created on the student account.
Due to federal regulations, SAIC does not carry credit balances into the next semester. Credit balances must be processed for a refund after the add/drop period has ended for that semester.
I can't wait until the add/drop period is over to receive my refund, I need money now at the beginning of the semester, what can I do?
Students can request an advance of their estimated semester refund on SAIC Self-Service, no earlier than August 15 for the fall semester, January 15 for the spring, and May 15 for the summer.
To waive SAIC health insurance for the fall and/or spring semesters, students must log into SAIC Self-Service and complete the online waiver form. Navigate to: Finances > My Account > Health Insurance. You will need to provide contact and coverage information for your current health insurance provider.
Note: You must complete the health insurance waiver form at least once every year if you choose the "Entire Academic Year" option and every semester if you choose "Fall Only or Spring Only." This should be completed by July 20 each year to ensure the first fall invoice reflects the waiver. The final waiver deadline is the first day of class.
The SAIC payment plan offers a four month payment plan for each fall and spring semester. There is also a three month payment plan available for summer. There is an initial $50 processing fee to enroll in a payment plan, and you can pay with a credit card or automatic check payment (ACH). If you pay with a credit card, please keep in mind that there is a 2.75 percent convenience fee for every credit card payment made. If you pay with an ACH (electronic check), there is no fee. Signing up for the payment plan must be done online via SAIC Self-Service each semester.
Payments can be made:
- In person:
SAIC Bursar's Office
37 S. Wabash Ave., suite 245
Hours: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday
- By Mail:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
37 S. Wabash Ave., suite 245, Chicago IL 60603
- Via Wire Transfer:
See wire transfer instructions on our website (scroll about halfway down the page).
- Via CASHNet (Self-Service):
Payments can be made by personal check or credit card (Discover, MasterCard, or American Express). A service fee (based upon amount of payment) is charged by all credit card payments.
Need help accessing CASHNet? If so, follow this path: SAIC Self-Service > Finances > CASHNet
What are the requirements for being an independent student according to the federal government for federal student aid?
In order to be considered independent by the federal government, a student must be able to answer "yes" to at leat one of the student dependency questions on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Federal Work-Study jobs are only available to students who have received Federal Work-Study eligibility based on their FAFSA. The Federal Work-Study eligibility amount is the maximum amount a student can earn once they find a job on campus. A teaching assistant job is not part of Federal Work-Study. Graduate students and Post-Baccalaureate students can apply for TA positions through the Career + Co-op Center.