How to Apply for Aid

The cost of an education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago includes more than just tuition—on this section of the site you’ll find a full breakdown, including housing, insurance, and more.

Some types of financial assistance are limited in funding, so the earlier you apply, the better. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) begins issuing financial aid awards for eligible students in January each year. Financial Aid Instructions

Suggested Priority Deadlines

2023–24 Award Year (beginning with Summer 2023)

  • December 1, 2022, for undergraduate Illinois residents (due to State Aid deadlines)
  • January 1, 2023, for all other students.

2024–25 Award Year (beginning with Summer 2024)

  • January 1, 2024, for undergraduate Illinois residents (due to State Aid deadlines)
  • February 1, 2024, for all other students.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Available October 1 before each school year

Introducing the FAFSA [video]

To apply for federal and state aid, as well as SAIC's need-based aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Students and parents should work together to complete the FAFSA at

You can:

  • Learn how to fill out the FAFSA.
  • View state deadlines.
  • Find worksheets: Students and families may want to complete the FAFSA On The Web (FOTW) worksheet before inputting the information online.
  • Learn who is eligible for aid.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for financial aid for college or grad school:- Once the FAFSA is submitted online, SAIC will receive an electronic copy from the federal government, as long as the school code (001753) was included.
  • Learn when and how your aid will be paid out.
  • Make corrections to your FAFSA: Review and submit corrections within five days to ensure accurate financial aid estimates.

Helpful Information and Tools

Your FAFSA ID: You and Your Parent's (if applicable) Digital Signature

You (and your parents if applicable) will need an FSA ID to sign your FAFSA. It is your digital signature used for signing the FAFSA each year, as well as loan applications, online counseling sessions, and other financial aid documents. You can also use it to access your financial history and information at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) allows students and parents who filed a U.S tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA.

If you are eligible to use the IRS DRT, we highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:

  • It's the easiest way to provide your tax return information.
  • It's the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
  • You won't need to provide a copy of your or your parents' tax returns to your college.

Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) in the FAFSA application to transfer your federal tax income data over from the IRS database to your FAFSA. Be sure to use the EXACT address (including abbreviations) as it appears on your federal tax return in order for the transfer to work successfully.

Watch this quick video about using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The FAFSA collects information about the student (and parents for dependent students) regarding income, the number of family members, number of family members in college, and plans for college and determines a level of financial need for the student. SAIC uses the resulting Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as part of a formula to determine the amount of financial assistance to be provided to the student for their education. Although implied by the name, the EFC is not what is expected for the family to pay; it is an index used to determine aid eligibility.

After You Complete the FAFSA

SAIC will receive an electronic copy of your FAFSA for processing (remember to list SAIC's school code 001753) once you have submitted. You will receive an email confirmation that your FAFSA has been processed within 5 days. You must review and submit any corrections at within five days to ensure accurate financial aid estimates.

All degree-seeking students will be sent an official Award Letter packet outlining financial aid options and the next steps required in the process. Typically, the award is based on full-time enrollment/standard enrollment for the program; any deviation from that condition will, most likely, result in a change in the financial aid award and requires notification from the student to Student Financial Services. Most aid sources require the student to be enrolled at least half-time. See the Adjusting Your Aid for Enrollment page for additional details.

If you need to make corrections to your FAFSA they should be made within five days to ensure accurate financial aid estimates.

Students who would like a financial aid estimate including merit scholarships for summer and winter terms must complete a SAIC application and an annual FAFSA for federal financial aid (if eligible).

Upon awarding financial aid eligibility, students are sent by mail initial awards for on-campus classes and email for study trips. Students can view their financial aid in their Self-Service account. Financial aid award updates to awards are sent by email to the student’s SAIC email address.

Financial Aid Forms

Visit Forms and Guides for more information.