Understanding Financial Aid 

QCMP knows how confusing the college process can be. 

  This section will highlight key resources to help your family navigate applying for Financial Aid and searching for Scholarships. 



The federal and state governments provide many opportunities for students and families to fund their educational journey through loans, grants and work-study programs. 


In order to be considered, STUDENTS must complete the FAFSA which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.


There is absolutely NO CHARGE to complete the FAFSA!  

This application is available October 1st for Senior families to submit early while they are also exploring colleges.




Step 1: 

                   Gather the required documents



Sending your FAFSA to a school does not guarantee admission but allows that institution to determine if your family qualifies for assistance. 


Some schools also use the FAFSA to determine need-based scholarships which is why it's important to submit early. 


We suggest you have this done before Thanksgiving Break. 

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Step 2:

Create a Student FSA ID and a Parent FSA ID 

The FSA ID serves as your login and official signature when you complete the FAFSA

Step 3: 

Students & Parent or guardian can login using their FSA ID 

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Once logged in students will complete the following sections of the FAFSA

  • Student Demographics

  • School Selection 

  • Dependency Status

  • Parent Demographics

  • Financial Information

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available for parents who have filed and can transfer their transcripts directly from the IRS website. 

*This option may not be available for everyone which is why it's important to have a copy of tax transcripts. 


Step 4:

After all sections are completed, both the student and parent must sign & submit electronically using their FSA ID.  


January-April of Senior year, students will begin receiving Award Packages in the mail or email from the colleges they've applied to and sent their FAFSA.


Award packages indicate the total amount of financial aid a student should expect to receive from that institution. Grants, loans and work-study are often included together.   

Please note: All colleges and universities handle award packages differently.  Make sure you contact the Financial Aid Office at the college you plan on attending if you have questions 

Click ​the links below for further assistance

Did you know many Illinois high schools have ISAC Reps who assist families throughout the year with Financial aid?  Encourage your student to ask their Counselors if they have an ISAC Rep! 

Iowa has a similar program called ICAN! These programs are also incredible resources for Scholarships! 

Navigating Scholarships 



Scholarships can come from many different sources including local community organizations, financial institutions, employers and more!


There are scholarships available for a wide variety of reasons so don't count yourself out.  You'll never know if you don't apply. 

High School Counseling Offices are a great start to search for specific scholarships aimed at students within a specific school district.  If you haven't already, check if your local high school Counseling Office has a Scholarship page. 


In the Quad Cities region, the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend offers a wide variety of scholarships to local students. 

Click on the images below for local opportunities and start applying!


  Remember, scholarships are year-round and have different deadlines so apply early and often each year that you're in college.