Requesting Tips on Applying for Grants, Scholarships, Etc. for College

Updated on October 24, 2008
S.S. asks from Lockport, IL
4 answers

I have a 17 year old stepson who recently informed his Dad & I that he wants to attend a 4 yr. college next fall. Our plan was to have him stick around & get his basics done at a nearby community college & then transfer to a 4 year college for his last two years. I'm overwhelmed at where to start, what grants & scholarships are available, which ones aren't legit, etc. Are there any parents out there that have gone received grants & scholarships for their children? My husband & I really don't want to rely just on student loans. My stepson hasn't decided which college he wants to attend, yet. Another factor is that my stepson has Celiac, which means he's on a gluten-free diet. Does anyone know of colleges that cater to students with special diets? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

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answers from Chicago on

Go to for lists of several grants and scholarships. It was formally the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). I went into special education and received a tuition waiver for all four years of school from a state university (with the understanding that I would then teach in an IL school for 2 years--an easy trade off). The site may be overwhelming, but if you sift through it slowly, you may find several things for your stepson to apply for.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Talk to your stepson's high school guidance counselor. Many high schools provide special seminars in planning for college including financial aid. Also check out FAFSA - this is a form that gets filled out as you are submitting your taxes and lets the government know that you are asking for eligibility for government loans (your high school guidance counselor should have the information on this topic). Many students do start with a community college to help decide their interests and then transfer to a four year college.

Many of us tell our kids to work during summer and christmas break to raise spending money to use during college.

BTW - my youngest daughter is at Bradley in Peoria and they did tell us on a college visit that they have special plans for people needing special diets...I have heard this at other college visits.
C. L
mom of 3 (two are currently college students)



answers from Chicago on

You can start with FAFSA first. Then try his high school website. I know they offer scholarships. is a good place for scholarships, too has much to offer, as well as the college websites themselves. Try to narrow it down to some colleges he may be interested in and start applying for the money. Now is the time to start doing that.

Grants can be found at the school websites - not sure if the other two sites I mentioned offer the grants. We, unfortunately did not qualify for grants. They look at the mom and stepdad's income together which is my case as well.

The student applies to the college, gets denied or accepted for grants, applies for the Stafford Loans that are offered and gets some money. The parents go through the process of applying for the loan,( I think you are also able to forego this process and just tell the school he is on his own) then you either get accepted or denied...either way you can tell the school that he is on his own, you are not taking a loan out. This will give him more Stafford Loan monies.

My son worked at Jewel part time and saved a lot of money toward school. Just to give you an idea, he goes to Western Illinois - where the tuition amount remains the same all 4 years. We did the above steps, and he ended up getting his room paid for the first year, and received about $10,000 in loan money. The remainder he was responsible for was about $125.00 per month for the year, plus books which were $700.00. We told our son he is responsible for the first two years of college, we will pay for the last two years. That way if he messes up, it is on his dollar, not ours.

Not sure about the accomodations for special diets (I am familiar with Celiac's Disease), but quite possible he could get money toward school if this is considered a type of disability.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

C. T.



answers from Chicago on

Hi S.,

Like others have said, FAFSA first. After that look up it is another scholarship source.

Good luck,

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