Executive Director Robin Redmond published an Op-Ed to the Chicago Sun-Times after Maryland passed a law banning scholarship displacement by public universities.

“Some displacement defenders say they need to recapture financial aid resources to disburse it to other students with financial need,” says Redmond. “But the logic here is off and is exactly the opposite of how the real world we are preparing these young people for works.”

Scholarship displacement has been a reoccurring issue for scholars since the 1980s and most likely before.

Read the Op-Ed in its entirety here.

Scholarship displacement in Illinois is becoming a topic of interest. After the Foundation’s Op-Ed was published in the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Public Media contacted Executive Director Robin Redmond for a follow-up interview.

Pullman Scholar Julissa Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2018, joined Executive Director Robin Redmond for an interview on The 21st Show, an Illinois Public Media show, to share what happens when Illinois scholars are awarded financial aid and external scholarships.

Listen to the entire episode here or listen to our 15-minute interview below.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online form that college students fill out annually to identify their eligibility for federal aid. Some of this aid includes Pell Grants, MAP Grants (for students attending college in Illinois), federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. Plus, it helps colleges get a sense of what kind of institutional aid you may qualify for. As a Pullman Scholar, you are required to complete the FAFSA each year so the Foundation can determine your level of financial need. We encourage you to complete your FAFSA as early as possible to maximize your financial aid. There are some major changes for this year’s FAFSA cycle (2017-2018), and we want to make sure you are prepared!

What changes are happening?

Starting with the 2017-2018 FAFSA cycle (October 1, 2016-June 30, 2018), two permanent changes go into effect.

  1. You can (and should!) file the FAFSA beginning on October 1, 2016 (as opposed to January 1st).
  1. You are also required to use prior-prior tax and income information. For this year’s 2017-2018 cycle, you will report 2015 income and tax information.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “But, didn’t I use 2015 tax information when I filed the FAFSA last year?” Yes, you did. For this year, students will use the same tax and income information as they did on last year’s FAFSA. It’s important to note that even though you are using the same tax information as last year (2015), information from your taxes and other finance-related data will not be automatically transferred from the 2016-2017 FAFSA to the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

Here’s a helpful table provided by the Department of Education (information about this year’s FAFSA is bolded and in red):

When You Are Attending College (School Year) You will submit this FAFSA When You Can Submit the FAFSA Which Year’s Income and Tax Information is Required
July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 2015-2016 January 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 2014
July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 2016-2017 January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 2015
July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 2017-2018 October 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018 2015
July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 2018-2019 October 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019 2016


July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 2019-2020 October 1, 2018 – June 30, 2020 2017


What does this change mean?

According to the Department of Education, the major goal is to streamline the financial aid application and receiving processes. They want to make it easier for the students and families who need the funds the most. It is important to note that just because the federal deadline has been modified, this does not mean colleges and universities will or have moved up their financial aid deadlines.

Generally speaking, these FAFSA changes have several implications which may affect students’ financial aid. The earlier filing date may cut down on tax extension requests at financial aid offices and make using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool easier (since taxes will already be filed). It could also constrain financial aid budgets since students and families may have more time to review financial aid awards and appeal these decisions. Some of these benefits are discussed more in the next section.

If you need help moving forward with your FAFSA, reach out to your college’s financial aid office or check out the resources at the end of this article for some direction.  Since this is the first year that the FAFSA is available in October, complications may arise from the shift. Be proactive about keeping up with deadlines and checking in with your college with questions. Please note: if you are required to complete a College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile at your college, check with your financial aid office to find out if this deadline has moved up too.

Tell me the benefits!

“Alignment, certainty and less pressure” are some descriptors the Department of Education is using to characterize the changes and benefits. It is expected that the financial aid application process will be more aligned with college and university timelines. Moreover, it provides a level of certainty for students and families since using prior-prior year tax information prevents you from having to estimate income information. Lastly, the added three months of time is anticipated to give students more time to explore and understand financial aid options, as well as apply for more aid before deadlines.

Some other benefits include no longer needing to go back in and updating your FAFSA with non-estimated income numbers (since you are using tax information that has already been filed). You should be able to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import tax information onto the FAFSA. This is particularly helpful because students will not have to find their tax records or worry about tax information being entered incorrectly.


Check out the resources below for more information about the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

Twitter: @FAFSA// #AskFAFSA Office Hours (interactive chat sessions scheduled monthly)

Website: Federal Student Aid and Free Application for Federal Student Aid

YouTube: FAFSA Overview video

College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know about the 2017-18 FAFSA Resource Sheet from Federal Student Aid – U.S. Department of Education

Financial Aid Toolkit Email Updates and Web Page

Your college’s financial aid office

For many high school seniors and college students, ushering in the New Year isn’t only about the party hats, sparklers, and resolutions, it also rings in the FAFSA season (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). First-time FAFSA tacklers and even those who’ve completed the form several years in a row can feel the process is overwhelming and confusing.

The good news is that the Federal Student Aid office of the Department of Education has created helpful resources, including infographics, videos, how-to’s, FAQ’s, and articles to navigate you through the process.

If you don’t think you qualify for federal or state aid or you aren’t sure, a great first step is to verify your eligibility. And, there’s NO income cut-off for federal student aid. Everyone who is eligible should fill out the FAFSA. Follow the handy infographic below to get started on your FAFSA journey.

The Financial Aid Process

by FederalStudentAid.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


By Julia Lane, Intern.

It’s that time of year again. The air is crisp, couples dressed in J.Crew knits walk down the street consuming pumpkin-flavored beverages, and recent college graduates receive their first student loan repayment bills.

If you graduated this spring and took out loans to fund your education, which according to the College Board’s 2013 Trends in Student Aid is more than half of you, your six-month student loan grace period is probably about to expire. This means  you will be receiving a bill soon which will mark the beginning of your repayment period. Like Batkid’s fight against crime, repayment is no joke, missing a payment could affect your credit score, your ability to rent an apartment or even your eligibility for a job.

Be smart about your repayment. Here are four things you can do now before your first student loan payment is due:

1. Get Organized

It’s probably been several years since you took out your first student loan, and with finals, graduation, and post-college plans you might have become a little hazy about the details. Since you are going to have to start repaying those loans soon, it’s important that you know how much you owe and what kind of loans you have. You can log into the federal government’s student aid website (studentloans.gov) using your Federal Student Aid pin to view your loan balances, information about your loan servicers, interest rates, and more.

2. Say Hello to your Loan Servicer

While you’re on that website, check out who your loan servicer is. A loan servicer is a company that collects your federal student loans payments on behalf of the U.S Department of Education. Once you’ve found out who your loan servicer is, go to their webpage and make sure your contact information is updated. You don’t want your loan bill collecting dust at your mom’s house because you moved over the summer.

3. When Life Gives you Loans, Make Monthly Repayments

So how big of a bill should you be expecting? Your monthly payment will depend on three main things: how much you borrowed, your interest rate, and what kind of repayment plan you choose. For example, the average student who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2011-12 graduated with $26,500 in debt. If their loans had an interest rate of 6.8% and they chose a standard repayment plan of 10 years, then their monthly bill will be almost $300. Overall, they will end up paying a little less than $10,000 in interest over the course of 10 years. In order to make these payments, it is recommended that they have a yearly income of at least $45,000. Take a look at the chart below for more examples.

Table of loan payment estimatesEstimates were made using Mapping your Future’s Student Loan Repayment Calculator 

4. Create a Game Plan for your Repayment Plan

I know, $300 dollars a month is a lot of money, but before you start bulk-buying Top Ramen; you should consider what repayment options you have available to you. For many recent grads, even minimum monthly payments under the standard 10-year repayment plan may be too much to handle at first (we feel your pain theater majors). Luckily, you’ve got repayment options, such as income-sensitive or extended repayment that may lower your monthly bill. While low or reduced monthly payments might mean that you’ll have a little extra cash for fun things, you will end up paying more in the long-run, as unpaid interest is capitalized, increasing your principle loan amount.

Want more information on student loan repayment? Talk to your loan servicer or your college’s student loan officers for more personalized information and repayment options.

Advanced Readings:

Four Common Student Loan Mistakes

Everything You Need to Know about 7 Student Loan Repayment Plans

Federal Student Aid | U.S Department of Education

Income-based Repayment Calculator | Student Aid. gov

Mapping your Future: Estimate your student loan payment