Federal Grant and Award Programs

The federal government provides grants for students attending college. Most types of grants, unlike loans, are sources of financial aid that generally do not have to be repaid. Some grants listed below, such as the Federal Pell Grant and Federal SEOG are awarded only to students who have not completed a four-year degree and demonstrate financial need. If you are interested in those grants, or in any federal student aid, start by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is a need-based grant program mainly for undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or graduate degree. In some limited cases, students might receive a Pell Grant if enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certificate program. 

Eligibility: Eligibility is determined by the information the student and the parents (if the student is dependent) provide on the FAFSA form, the resulting estimated family contribution (EFC), and the number of credits for which the student is enrolled. Awards are limited to 12 full-time semesters.

2023–24 Award amount: $761–6,735

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need—those with the lowest EFC.

Eligibility: Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority for FSEOG awards. Grants are made to all applicants who meet the award criteria on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. This typically includes all undergraduates with an EFC of zero, including those enrolled part-time.

2023–24 Award amount: $100–4,000

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a post-service benefit earned by individuals who complete an approved term of national service in AmeriCorps programs. It is a government program that offers educational benefits to people who complete a term of intensive community service in a variety of areas.

Eligibility: Students who have worked in the AmeriCorps program may use their award toward tuition and related expenses at SAIC for degree courses, and tuition and fees, as charged on the student's SAIC account, for non-degree courses only. Students have up to seven years after their term of service has ended to claim the award.

The award will appear as anticipated aid on Self-Service, invoices, and statements in two disbursements per semester; one at the beginning of the term, and the second is sent to SAIC after the mid-point of the term. Anticipated aid is deducted from the amount due to the school. When the funds are received, they are disbursed directly to the student's account.

To use a Segal AmeriCorps Award, log on to MyAmeriCorps and complete an online payment voucher. An electronic request will be sent to the Segal AmeriCorps representative in the SAIC Office of Student Financial Services to be certified. If approved, the request will be electronically certified, and the funds will be sent to SAIC by ACH electronic payment.

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program 

Qualifying students admitted to a degree program at SAIC will be eligible to receive up to $1,000 per year for a maximum of $4000 for undergraduate students, and $2,000-$3,000 for graduate students depending on their course of study. The actual amount of the award received is dependent upon the total number of credit hours taken at SAIC to complete the degree requirements. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, when combined with other grants/scholarships and other gift aid dollars, will be limited to tuition only.

Veteran Benefits

If you are a veteran of US military service, or an eligible dependent under the Dependents Educational Assistance Program, you may qualify to receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for your attendance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

SAIC's Registrar and Student Financial Services Office (Chapter 31 and Chapter 33 benefits) process degree-seeking students’ applications for the VA education benefit programs below:

  • The Montgomery GI Bill ®   (Chapter 30)
  • The Dependents Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35)
  • The Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chapter 31)
  • The Selected Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 1606)
  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill, including the Yellow Ribbon Program

To determine your eligibility for veteran's benefits, you visit the VA website at gibill.va.gov, or contact them at 1.888.GIBILL1 (442.4551). If you have any questions about this process, please contact the SAIC Registrar at 312.629.6700.

Post 9/11 Program

Once you have determined your eligibility, completed the VA application process, and received your certificate of eligibility, you should visit the SAIC Registrar, Certifying Officer for SAIC, to submit your paperwork and discuss the details of the process. You should provide a copy of your certificate of eligibility to the SAIC Registrar. Upon receipt of this information, the Registrar will certify your enrollment and the Student Financial Services office will review your financial aid package for the inclusion of your VA benefits to be used for your attendance at SAIC.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. Degree-granting institutions in the United States voluntarily enter into an annual agreement with the VA to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Eligible veterans admitted and enrolled in a degree program at SAIC may receive a maximum of $7,500 from the school in Yellow Ribbon funds. The actual amount of the benefit will be based on the number of credit hours taken and charged each semester. Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, the VA will match SAIC’s contribution to eligible veterans for each academic year that SAIC participates in the program. The VA matching funds is a maximum of $7,500 at SAIC.

2022-23 Federal Student Aid Program Summary [PDF]
2022-23 Financial Aid Glossary [PDF]

State Grant and Award Programs

The State of Illinois has several programs and services that deliver financial aid to students in Illinois. Below are some of the state financial aid programs that, dependent upon annual appropriations (i.e., funding levels), may be available at private non-profit institutions such as SAIC. Additionally, a number of financial aid programs such as the federal grants, loans and work-study are offered by the federal government and are listed in other sections of the SAIC website and publications. 

The number of scholarships and grants made through these programs (administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission/ISAC), as well as the individual dollar amount awarded, are subject to sufficient annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor.

Illinois State Grant—Monetary Award Program (MAP Grant)

Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grants are awarded to Illinois residents attending colleges and universities in Illinois. The award is restricted to tuition and mandatory fees. 

Eligibility: Students who are Illinois residents attending colleges and universities in Illinois are eligible to apply for the MAP Grant by submitting a FAFSA form each year by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced deadline date. Award Amount: Award amounts are determined based upon available state funding as determined by the Illinois General Assembly and date the annual FAFSA is submitted each year.

By applying for financial aid and agreeing to share that information with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) you have been considered for the State of Illinois (IL) Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant. All MAP-approved institutions are required by the State of Illinois to announce MAP Grant awards to students who are enrolled or intending to enroll at their institution. An award amount is included in your financial aid package if you have met the eligibility criteria. 

The MAP Grant award amount is an estimate made by the financial aid office and is identified as a "State of IL MAP Grant (Est)". Please be aware that the number of available MAP Grants is limited by funding levels approved by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor, and reductions to estimated or actual MAP Grants are possible. 

There are also limitations to how long you can continue to receive a MAP Grant. Usage is tracked by the number of credit hours for which you've received MAP benefits and is referred to as MAP Paid Credit Hours (MPCHs). The maximum number of MPCHs that can be received is 135, which is equivalent to approximately four and a half years of full-time enrollment. for your refrence, and to learn more about MPCH limitations, you may access a record of your MPCHs, as well as other student resources, through ISAC Student Protal at studentportal.isac.org.

Eligibility for the need-based MAP Grant award may indicate that you are eligible for assistance with expenses such as food, housing, or child care for dependent children. If you have dependent care expenses, ask the financial aid office about the federal dependent care allowance. For eligibility and application information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Child Care Assistance Program, contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at 800-843-6154 or www.dhs.state.il.us. Contact the Illinois Hunger Coalition Hunger Hotline at 800-359-2163 or www.ilhunger.org.

The Rise Act Alternative Application: Illinois State MAP Grant

The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act allows eligible undocumented students and transgender students disqualified from federal financial aid due to failure to register for Selective Service to apply for all forms of state financial aid. The RISE Act provides a way to apply for ISAC gift assistance programs—including MAP, the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program and others—to those who meet the RISE Act criteria and each program’s eligibility requirements. The RISE Act does not exempt applicants from meeting existing program eligibility criteria. The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid provides a way for these qualified students to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, the state's largest need-based grant program for low-income college students. Click here for details.

Applying for Other ISAC Programs

Students who want to learn about and apply for ISAC programs other than MAP can access program information and the applications through this site, in the Students, During College area. The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid is for MAP consideration only.

The Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program

If 1) you plan to teach at a nonprofit Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool, elementary school, or secondary school, for which the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has determined that no less than 30 percent of the enrolled students are African American/Black, Hispanic American, Asian American, or Native American; and 2) you are of African American/Black, Hispanic American, Asian American or Native American origin or are a qualified bilingual minority applicant, then you may qualify for up to $7,500 per year as part of the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program. 

Funds from this program may be used to pay for tuition, fees and room and board, or commuter allowances, if applicable. This scholarship may be received for a maximum of the equivalent of four academic years (eight semesters or 12 quarters) of full-time enrollment. Click here for details.

Golden Apple Program

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program encourages academically talented Illinois students, especially minority students, to pursue teaching careers, especially at high-need, hard-to-staff schools by providing tuition assistance (tuition, fees and room and board or commuter allowance) at one of the participating colleges. You may qualify for up to $2,500 as a freshman or sophomore, and up to $5,000 as a junior or senior.

As part of the application process, you must agree to teach, on a full-time basis, for a period of not less than five years at nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool, or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school considered a School of Need. You must begin teaching within two years of the completion of your degree or certificate program for which the assistance was awarded.  If the teaching commitment is not fulfilled, the award will convert to a loan, which must be repaid, with interest. See details on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission website and the Golden Apple website.