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Do you know in the state of Illinois how aid is based? On your taxable income with out reference to your assets or on your taxable income with your assets included?

I could be totally wrong, but my collection is that both federal and state aid calculations are base on FAFSA, and I'm pretty sure that neither home equity nor retirement savings factor in (I don't think they even ask you for that info.)

Other assets do have to be listed (stocks, bonds, etc.), but I don't think I've ever read anything about how your "need" is actually calculated or if state and federal is calculated differently.

Go take a FAFSA without actually completing it (I think there are some sample FAFSA programs) and you can see what kind of info you have to furnish.

A personal comment...I would NEVER assume that there would be a heck of a lot of state aid from Illinois given the state of the states finances.

One final thing...not sure how far you are into this process or how much you know about it, but what most people just starting out are totally unaware of is that most federal and state "aid" that available is in the form of (with grant-in-aid being dead last):

* work study
* subsidized loans (interest deferred until graduation)
* unsubsidized loans (interest starts accumulating immediately)
* parent loans
* grant-in-aid

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