Financial Aid FAQs

Congress has defined the conditions when a student is considered to be independent or on their own without parental financial support. You are considered independent and will not need to report your parents' information if you*:

  • are over age 24,
  • are married,
  • are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training,
  • are a Veteran of the U. S. Armed Forces,
  • are an orphan, and were in foster care, or were a dependent or ward of the court,
  • are or were an emancipated minor,
  • are or were in legal guardianship,
  • are determined to be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless, or
  • have dependents of your own that you provide more than half of their support.

* See the Free Application For Federal Student Aid for the complete definitions of an independent student.

If you ordinarily would report parent information, but are unable to do so because of an unusual situation, you should contact the One Stop to discuss your situation and review your options. You may be asked to document your situation in writing.

If you or your parent(s) has experienced a significant decrease in income due to a job loss, divorce or separation, or has paid unusually large medical expenses this year, you should contact the One Stop to discuss your situation and review your options. You must provide detailed supporting documentation about your situation in writing in order to receive special consideration.

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois student aid regulations, Harper College is required to establish minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for students to meet in order to qualify for federal and state financial aid. Harper College administers a Satisfactory Academic Progress policy to ensure that students who receive aid are making progress toward the completion of their educational program of study.

Students who do not attend or withdraw from classes, defer grades, and perform poorly academically risk not maintaining satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their program of study. The consequence is they become ineligible for financial aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, and federal work study.

Whether or not you received financial aid, the cumulative academic record for each student is reviewed at the conclusion of every semester: fall, spring and summer. Students will be placed on Warning or Suspension status when they do not meet the minimum SAP requirements. 

For more detailed information, read the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and be sure to meet with your academic advisor to monitor the completion of your program of study.

Students who are on Suspension status because of failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) have a right to appeal. All appeals must be complete, provide detailed information and supporting documentation about mitigating circumstances, and must be submitted in writing to the One Stop. Mitigating circumstances include injury or illness of the student or death of an immediate family member.

A student must submit three items as part of the appeal process. Incomplete appeals will not be reviewed.

  1. A SAP Appeal Form with detailed explanation:
    a. Explain why the student failed to complete the academic progress requirements and what has changed in the student's situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress.
    b. Describe the student's educational objectives.
    c. Provide a schedule to indicate how these objectives will be achieved.
  2. Documentation: Submit third party documentation supporting the reason(s) why the student failed to maintain academic progress; i.e., a letter from a mental health professional or police officer, medical or legal documentation, death certificate, etc.
  3. Probation/Academic Plan: Students are required to complete a Probation/Academic Plan with a Student Development counselor.

Appeals must be submitted in the semester that the student is seeking financial assistance. Appeals will be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Assistance and the student will be notified of the decision within three weeks.

Students who have their appeal and academic plan approved will move to Probation/Academic Plan status and will be eligible to receive financial assistance for the approved semester. At the end of the approved Probation/Academic Plan semester, the student must meet all Financial Aid Minimum Academic Standard Requirements and/or meet all requirements set forth in the Probation/Academic Plan in order to maintain eligibility.

Students who do not meet all Financial Aid Minimum Academic Standard Requirements or fail to meet the requirements set forth in the Probation/Academic Plan will go to Cancellation Status and will lose financial aid eligibility. The student may regain eligibility when the student meets the Financial Aid Minimum Academic Standard Requirements set forth in this policy.

Students who have their appeal denied will continue in cancellation and no longer be eligible to receive financial aid until such time when the student meets all Minimum Academic Standard Requirements. All appeal decisions are final.

Students receiving more estimated financial aid than their tuition and fees may be able to use that aid to purchase books.  A book voucher can be used towards purchasing books and supplies at the HarperStore. 

 To use a book voucher:

  • Your total expected aid must be greater than your tuition and fees.
  • Book vouchers are available at the HarperStore up to the expected aid. For example, if your financial aid award is $1,000 and you owe $750 in tuition and fees, your book voucher will be $250.
  • Book vouchers are available at least two weeks prior to the start of a semester.
  • For those students registering within two weeks of the start of the semester, the book voucher will be available the day after registration is completed.
  • You will receive an email with instructions from the Harper College Business Office when your book voucher is available, so keep an eye on your Harper email account.
  • You must present your student ID and let the cashier know you are using a book voucher.

Harper College policy limits your charges to:

  • One computer per student during your enrollment at Harper College.
  • One set of books and supplies per course per term.

All incurred charges are assessed to your Harper College account and deducted from your financial aid. You are responsible for any outstanding balance.

When financial aid funds are disbursed, these are credited directly to your Harper College account through the Business Office. The Business Office offers arrangements for Direct Deposit or will mail you a check for the remaining eligible funds within 10 days from the date the funds are credited to your account.

If there is a problem or you cannot attend a class, talk to your instructor as soon as possible to discuss your situation before withdrawing from the class. Do not simply stop going to class without submitting an official withdrawal!

Need to withdraw from a class? Talk to your instructor, academic advisor AND the One Stop before doing so. Also, any changes in your enrollment can affect Satisfactory Academic Progress.

If you need to withdraw, see these important dates.  Withdrawals can be made by contacting the One Stop, Building A, Room A250, 847.925.6710 or online using the MyHarper Portal. 

In this situation, the mother is considered to be the custodial parent (parent with whom you lived with the most during the last year) and is required to complete the Parent Section of the FAFSA. Be sure to include any child support or money paid on your behalf from your father.

Yes. Your mom must report her marital status as "married or remarried" on the FAFSA. If you are legally adopted by your stepfather, both your mom's and stepfather's financial information (income and assets) is reported when you complete the FAFSA.

Harper College offers funding to our students through more than 150 different scholarship opportunities through the Harper Educational Foundation.  Check out these Scholarships for the awarding criteria, status, and application information.

Private scholarships are a growing source of funding for students. The challenge is where to find them. There are a number of FREE, reputable scholarship search services available. Many awards are based on your specific interests, skills, careers, and affiliations. We have provided reputable sources in Private Scholarships. Be aware of scam scholarship services. The Federal Trade Commission has published guidelines for you to observe. Remember, you should never pay a fee for scholarship assistance and if it sounds too good to be true, consider this as a warning sign.

Congratulations! When you receive a scholarship, review the scholarship announcement to see what you may need to do in order to receive the funds. Be sure to notify the One Stop of your scholarship. In some cases we may be able to reduce your loan amounts, resulting in less money you need to repay.

Good news! There are some great tax advantages in the form of credits and deductions to help you with the expense of higher education. Since some policies may change in different tax years, visit the Internal Revenue Service website for the most current tax benefits for higher education.