Financial Aid: A Parent's Guide

They’re in! Your student just got accepted to their dream college or university, but now it’s time to talk financial aid and you start to think, 

“I just don’t understand the financial aid process.”

If figuring out financial aid has ever intimidated you, you’re not alone. We're going to help demystify some of the process and show you that the right education for your student is not only possible, but it can also be affordable.

Before checking out the FAQs below, here are some important things to remember:

  1. Ask questions. As you go through the admissions and financial aid process, it is okay for you to be full of questions. Admissions counselors and financial aid advisors WANT to help you find the best options for your student’s education.
  2. Your family is unique, and so is your financial aid. At GU, the financial aid process is incredibly individualized, and we tailor our aid to help best fit YOUR family’s needs.


1. How soon after applying can my student expect to see their financial aid package?

Trick question! Once they gain acceptance AND fill out the FAFSA, your student can expect to see their financial aid package in a week.

2. What can we expect to see in that package?

  • State or federal scholarships such as the Illinois MAP or PELL grants
  • Financial aid from the university in the form of scholarships or grants
  • Federal student loans
  • Parent Plus loans

3. What are we supposed to do once we get a financial aid package?

  1. Have your student go to their Portal account (we set up this account when they apply to GU), and review their package.
  2. Write down any questions or concerns you have.
  3. Set up a financial aid call with your student’s admissions counselor; review your aid and ask questions.
  4. Have a little celebration!

4. Can we change our financial aid package?

You’re probably going to want to keep the grants and scholarships, but you can definitely change loan information if desired. We will show you the max amount of loans available for your student, and you all can decide how much you want to take advantage of those.

5. If we’re comparing packages, what should we compare (other than the obvious amount)?

Compare similar costs. Are the tuition rates similar? What about room and board? Check out fees (athletic, general, parking, etc.). Add these costs and fees (total cost) and subtract your grants and scholarships (total aid). That will give you an out-of-pocket cost to compare.

Financial Aid Graphic

6. Are there other financial options available?


  1. You and your student can always look for outside scholarships, and we encourage you to do so. Have your student make an account on Fastweb where they can research different scholarships. You can set up an account as a parent as well.
  2. Check with your local organization and churches (not just your own!). Many have scholarships for local students.
  3. If your student earns a scholarship from a church, we match those up to $1,000. Their admission counselor will have an application and deadline for that opportunity.
  4. ALWAYS have your student talk to their guidance counselor about their college goals and financial aid opportunities, including scholarships. They have a wealth of information.

What are some helpful tips for paying for school?

  • Sign up for a monthly payment plan. The earlier you start, the better. For GU, there’s a fee to enroll in a payment plan, but you won’t accrue any interest while you pay.
  • Make sure your student’s bill looks correct and finalized. Note: their bill may change based on decisions they make at school. The bill could increase because of a good choice, like taking a really great lab course with a course fee. Or, it could increase because of a poor decision, like getting parking tickets for parking in the wrong spot for a week.
  • Overestimate the cost instead of underestimating.
  • Apply for as many external scholarships as you can. The $500 scholarships can really add up!
  • Get used to checking your email…a lot. That’s how financial aid offices communicate.
  • Unexpected life events can happen. The FAFSA is only a snapshot of your family’s financial situation. For unexpected life events which warrant a review of your financial aid package, notify financialaid@greenville.edu.

We can’t stress it enough—every family is unique. Explore what options are available to see YOUR student through four years of learning, growth, and preparation.

GU Scholarships