Financial Aid Resources

Financial Aid Timeline

The Financial Aid Office encourages families to keep track of all financial aid activity. Following this checklist may help reduce some of the frustration that accompanies the financial aid process. Keep all copies of documents that you sign and/or submit.

Dates New Students Returning Students Details
  • Complete and submit FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st each year
  • Pursue outside scholarships
  • Update FAFSA as necessary(using IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if possible)
  • Review Student Aid Report (SAR) for accuracy and correct any errors
  • Receive and review financial aid award letter for upcoming academic year
  • Return all additional information requested, if applicable, to the Financial Aid Office
  • Registration for fall semester opens
  • Submit any new information with regard to new ACT or transcript information
  • Complete Master Promissory Note (for first-time borrowers) and online Loan Entrance Counseling (all new students to Eureka College)
  • Arrange Tuition Management System payment plan (12-month plan begins May 15), if desired
  • Complete financing options: Parent PLUS application, alternative loan application, or Tuition Management payment plan (10-month plan begins July 15)
  • Review billing statement and solidify financing
  • Complete insurance application or waiver, as appropriate
  • MAP recipients: enroll in at least 15 semester hours for each semester to qualify for full MAP Grant award

Download a PDF version

Federal/State Financial Aid Programs

State and federal financial aid programs can be an important part of a student’s financial aid package. Several of these programs are summarized here.

The MAP Grant program is provided by the State of Illinois to legal residents of Illinois based on financial need. Eligibility is based on information reported on the FAFSA. MAP Grants do not need to be repaid. Each year the State of Illinois has a deadline by which the FAFSA needs to be filed to be considered for this grant. We encourage you to file the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if possible.

The Federal Pell Grant provides aid to students with very high need. The amount of the Federal Pell Grant is based on the Expected Family Contribution as calculated on the FAFSA. The Federal Pell Grant never has to be repaid.

The Federal SEOG is awarded to Pell Grant recipients with the highest financial need. The amount of SEOG is determined by Eureka College based on available funding levels. These funds are limited, and not all students who qualify can be assured that they will receive an SEOG grant. The Federal SEOG never has to be repaid.

Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be eligible to borrow through the Federal Direct Loan Program. Depending on the financial need will determine if the student qualifies for a Subsidized or Unsubsidized loan. These loans must be repaid with re-payment beginning 6 months after a student graduates, leaves school or falls below half-time. The interest rate and processing fees are determined annually. The federal government charges processing fees before disbursing the loan proceeds to Eureka College. To view interest rates and processing fees visit the Federal Student Aid website.  Eureka College will request and receive the loan funds directly from the Federal government, half in each semester.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan:

The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is based on financial need. The federal government pays (or subsidizes) the interest that accrues on this loan during the time the student is consistently enrolled. No interest is charged and no payments are required on the principal during the student’s enrollment period.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan:

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on financial need. Unlike the subsidized loan, interest is charged while the student is enrolled. Therefore, the interest that accrues on the loan during the enrollment period is the student’s responsibility.

There are maximum borrowing limits for students that are determined based on the student’s class standing and earned credits.  These are outlined below.

Maximum Subsidized Addt’l Unsubsidized Total Loan Eligibility Class Standing *Additional Eligibility
$3,500 $2,000 $5,500 Freshman Up to $4,000
$4,500 $2,000 $6,500 Sophomore Up to $4,000
$5,500 $2,000 $7,500 Junior Up to $5,000
$5,500 $2,000 $7,500 Senior Up to $5,000

Steps to Complete Your Federal Direct Student Loan(s)*Additional eligibility for Direct Loans exists for Independent Students or for Dependent students whose parent has been denied a Federal Parent (PLUS) Loan. For more information regarding Parent Plus Loans, view Plus Loan section or call the Financial Aid Office at (309) 467-6310.

  1. For new students, if you wish to accept the loan(s), sign and date your FA Award Letter and return to the Financial Aid Office.  For returning students, view your FA Award Letter online through your student sonis web account.  If no change is needed, no action is needed.
  2. New borrower: Complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note at You will click the log in button and login using your newly created FSA ID and password. If you don’t already have an FSA ID, you will be prompted to create one. You will choose ‘Complete Master Promissory Note’ then ‘Subsidized/Unsubsidized’. Continue entering your information until the Promissory Note is signed and you receive an on-screen confirmation of completion.
  3. New borrower: Complete Entrance Counseling at You will sign in (or continue on from signing your Master Promissory Note) and click on ‘Complete Entrance Counseling’. Continue reading the content and answering the questions until you see “Congratulations, you are finished”.

Electronic-Signing the MPN and completing entrance loan counseling are federal requirements for all student loan borrowers and must be completed prior to the loan being disbursed. Once you have finished the steps above, the Eureka College’s Office of Financial Aid will be notified and will proceed with processing your loan electronically with the Federal Government. All disclosures and legal documents for the loan will be provided directly from the Department of Education, Direct Loans.

The Federal PLUS Loan is available to creditworthy parents and is not based on financial need. Parents of students who need additional help in financing their student’s education and who have filed the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), have the option to borrow through the Federal Parent Plus Loan Program. The interest rate and processing fees are determined annually. The federal government charges processing fees before disbursing the loan proceeds to Eureka College. To view interest rates and processing fees visit  Eureka College will request and receive the loan funds directly from the Federal government, half in each semester. Repayment begins immediately after the last disbursement of the loan is made for the school year. This means that the parent must begin repayment while the student is still in school, although deferment is an option.

Steps to Complete Your Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

First time Parent Plus loan borrowers must complete the following two steps. Continued Parent Plus loan borrowers only need to complete step one.

  1. Complete a PLUS loan application at by clicking the Log in button. Log in using your (the parent) recently created FSA ID and password. If you do not have a FSA ID and password, you will be prompted to create one. After you have successfully signed in, click on ‘Request a PLUS Loan’. The loan type will be the Parent PLUS. Fill in all the requested parent data and submit according to the instructions provided. You will need to specify the dollar amount or choose the maximum amount you wish to borrow for the entire year. The credit decision is given immediately on the last page of the application. If your credit is denied, it is NOT necessary to complete step 2.
  2. ‘Complete a Master Promissory Note’ for a Parent PLUS loan while you are already signed in at Fill in all the requested parent data and submit. The Financial Aid Office will be notified electronically, normally within 48 hours, when it is complete.

Once a parent has completed the steps, the Financial Aid Office will process the loan electronically with the Federal Government. 

This federally funded program is based on financial need. To receive this award, a qualifying student must obtain a campus job. Federal Work Study dollars will fund the student’s paycheck and therefore will not be reflected on the EC student account. It will be the responsibility of the student to determine how to use these funds wisely. Federal Work Study is not a guarantee of job placement. Federal Work Study awards are not required for students to obtain on campus jobs.

Alternative and Private Loans

Alternative and private educational loans are additional loan opportunities available to our students through commercial lenders. Alternative loans may be used as a source of financial aid in addition to Eureka College, state and federal assistance. These loans are subject to credit analysis and usually require a co-signer.

Since federal loan programs are typically less expensive than private loans, students should consider alternative loans last when developing a strategy to pay for their education at Eureka College. Other financing options include a home equity line of credit, which may have tax benefits for some families, or another type of collateralized loan. You may want to discuss these with your financial advisor.

Below are some links to alternative loan lenders. You may select any lender that participates in the Alternative Loan Program. Eureka College does not have a preferred lender list and has not entered into a preferred lender arrangement with any lender. Borrowers are not limited to the lenders listed below.

Alternative Loan Lenders for Students:

Sallie Mae
Alliant Credit Union
Citizens bank
Commerce Bank
Union Federal

Alternative Loan Lenders for Parents:

Sallie Mae

*The Sallie Mae Parent Loan gives a parent or any creditworthy individual (including spouses, family members, and guardians) another option for financing college expenses for their student.