Financial Aid for College

Paying for College

When it comes to college, there are so many things you’ll have to consider – location, what programs and majors are offered, and how much will it all cost – just to name a few. This can all be really overwhelming. However, just like with anything in life, the more information you have, the more informed of a decision you can make. If you’re a student of any age or a parent overwhelmed by the costs of college or confused by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), we can help! Our trained staff members and volunteers will help you complete and submit the application to secure the financial aid you’re eligible for.

College Success Track


The College Success Track is delivered in 5 parts:

    • An overview of the financial aid process for students and parents.  Schools may schedule in the fall for seniors and in the spring for juniors.
    • The hardest part of college shouldn’t be paying for it. If you are thinking about continuing your education at a community college, vocational school, or four-year university, you could be eligible for thousands of dollars in financial aid to help pay for it. Ladder Up provides free assistance to individuals completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a critical application produced by the U.S. Department of Education, and now a prerequisite to obtain a high school diploma in the state of Illinois. In addition, every student planning to attend college must complete the FAFSA in order to qualify for grants, loans, work-study programs, and, in many cases, private scholarships.  Ladder Up helps students and their families submit the FAFSA on time and accurately.
    • The FAFSA Video Series offers short online modules that support parents/students in completing each step of the FAFSA process.  Please click the button below to register and be able access these video modules.


    • A workshop that helps students understand and distinguish between the different types of awards, grants, and loans.
    • A workshop that helps students dissect and decipher award letters, navigate the student loan process, and understand budgeting and financial responsibility during the first year of college.
    • An interactive workshop to help support students as they start their college experience with money management skills.

For questions, or to schedule any of these workshops, contact us at:


Loan Resources:

Federal Student Aid – Student Loan Repayment

Consumer Finance (CFPB) – Repay Student Debt

Mapping Your Future – Student Loan Repayment Calculator

Scholarship Resources

College Greenlight,

Chicago Public School Scholarships,

Additional Resources

Free online tool for college selection, student loan management, and financial literacy. Create an account at iontuition and include referral code ladderup10

Affordable Colleges Online

Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)
Detailed information about financial aid including EFC calculators, financial aid program overviews, and much more:

U.S. Department of Education
The Department of Education has many primary resources on everything related to higher education:

You Can Go
Helps you stay on track in your college readiness, make a pledge to go to college and tell others all about:

Programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help low-income, disabled or first-generation college students achieve a college education:



They say money talks and we couldn’t agree more…

“Marwen has partnered with Ladder Up for numerous years to support Marwen students and families with financial literacy and applying for financial aid. Ladder Up’s programs are comprehensive and accessible and their staff is great — each workshop and staff member meets students where they’re at and makes financial topics engaging and fun! They’ve been a great resource for Marwen and have helped us support so many families and students over the years. We look forward to continuing this great partnership.”

“Ladder Up was such a tremendous help in showing our alumni how to successfully compare sample award letters, that the next day during a college visit, our students taught their financial aid representative a thing or two!”

“Ladder Up covered pre & post-graduation information that I could not have covered (thoroughly) during the school year. I always give my students my best and bring them the best! Ladder Up is the best…Ladder Up Rocks!!!”