Scholarships for Students from Illinois


Scholarships for Students from Illinois

ducu59us / Shutterstock.com

Many states offer scholarships to their residents, and Illinois is not the exception. There are numerous options for students who are interested in pursuing postsecondary education in their home state. Remember, though, that this list is not all inclusive. There are plenty of options that are highly specialized and may be your perfect fit. Use these scholarships as your starting off point and then do some searching of your own to find others for which you may qualify.

Scholarships for all Illinois residents:

Higher Education License Plate Program

Award Amount: Varies

A rather unique program, the Higher Education License Plate Program awards funding to students who attend an Illinois institution for which there exists a specialty license plate. Each year, profits from the purchases of specialty license plates are returned in part to the schools that are represented on them to form an award that is then distributed to students. Award amounts are dependent on sales. You must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for this program. Contact the financial aid office at your school for more information.

Monetary Award Program (MAP)

Award Amount: Up to $4,968
Application Deadline: ASAP after October 1

If you are an Illinois resident who can demonstrate financial need, you are likely eligible for a monetary award from the state. To apply, you need only to fill out the FAFSA each year (it opens annually on October 1) and list that you are planning to attend or are already attending one of these institutions in Illinois. You must enroll for at least three credit hours each semester. Awards are distributed in such a way that students with more financial need receive more funding. Complete your FAFSA as soon as possible each year for the highest chances of receiving an award.

Scholarships for Illinois residents interested in teaching:

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

Award Amount: Up to $5,000
Application Deadline: February 15, 2018
Letter of Recommendation: Yes
Essay: Yes

The Golden Apple Foundation encourages high-achieving students, particularly minority students, to pursue teaching careers. To be eligible for the award, you must agree to teach for five years at a high-needs school in Illinois. Award amounts change depending on your year in school; freshman and sophomores are eligible for $2,500 in tuition assistance, while juniors and seniors are eligible for $5,000. To apply, fill out an application online and submit your ACT or SAT scores, two letters of recommendation, and two essays. Students must be attending or planning to attend one of these Illinois schools.

Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver Program

Award Amount: Full cost of tuition and fees
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

If you are a high school graduate, will graduate from high school this spring and are in the top half of your class, have a teaching certification for a subject other than special education, or are attending or plan to attend a public, four-year institution in Illinois and pursue a special education teaching credential, you may be eligible for this program. Once enrolled to pursue your credential, you must maintain continuous enrollment and commit to teaching after graduation. You must teach special education in Illinois full time for at least two years to avoid having to repay your award. Apply here.

Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship

Award Amount: Up to $5,000 annually
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

If you’re interested in teaching and you’re a minority (African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, or Native American) you may be eligible for up to $5,000 for each year of your postsecondary education. You must be enrolled in or accepted to an institution in Illinois at which you will pursue a teaching credential that will result in your becoming a qualified preschool, elementary, or secondary school teacher. While in school, you must maintain at least half-time enrollment and a 2.5 GPA. Furthermore, you must commit to teaching at a school where at least 30% of the students are minorities; you must teach one year for each year you receive this award or you will have to repay your scholarship. This award is renewable for up to four years. Apply soon; awards are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply here.

Scholarships for Illinois residents who are affiliated with the military:

Children of Veterans Scholarship

Award Amount: Full cost of tuition

If you hope to attend the University of Illinois and one of your parents served in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or in the military anytime after August 2, 1990, you may be eligible for up to four years of free tuition. Each county in the state can award one such scholarship each year. Contact the financial aid office at the University of Illinois for more information.

Illinois National Guard Grant

Award Amount: Partial coverage of tuition and fees
Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

If you are currently serving with the Illinois National Guard (and have served for at least one year) or served for at least five years and are within 12 months of discharge, you may be eligible for this grant. You must have had your education interrupted by a call to active service if you meet the conditions of the latter. Depending on how long you have served, you may be eligible for up to six years of educational benefits. The Illinois National Guard Grant may be used in conjunction with other military educational benefits to help you afford the cost of attending a public two- or four-year institution in Illinois. Contact the financial aid office at your school, your National Guard unit, or the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs for more information.

Illinois Veterans’ Grant

Award Amount: Up to the full cost of tuition and some fees

If you served on active duty in the military for at least one year and have since been honorably discharged, you may be eligible for funds from the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help with the cost of college. You must have been an Illinois resident within six months of entering the military and returned to Illinois to establish residency within six months of being discharged. Aid is available at public two- and four-year colleges in Illinois. This grant may be used in conjunction with other military educational benefits. Contact the financial aid office or the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs for more information.

MIA/POW Scholarship

Award Amount: Up to the full cost of tuition and some fees

If your parent or guardian was an Illinois resident when they entered active duty service with the military and is now classified as missing in action or a prisoner of war, or if they became 100% disabled or died as a result of a service-connected disability, you may be eligible to have your tuition covered by this scholarship. It takes a lot of effort to apply; you will be asked to send a lot of information to the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (e.g., your birth certificate, your parent’s or guardian’s disability report or death certificate, etc.). You must plan on attending a public school in Illinois to take advantage of this scholarship.

Other scholarships for Illinois residents:

Chicago Community Services Block Grant

Award Amount: Up to $3,000
Essay: Yes

If you are a resident of Chicago, attend a institution of higher education in Illinois, and can demonstrate financial need, you may be eligible for a grant from the Department of Family and Support Services. The 2018-2019 scholarship has not yet been released, but typically becomes available in the spring; check the website frequently.

Oak Park Area Arts Council Scholarships

Award Amount: $1,000

The Oak Park Area Arts Council offers two scholarships. The Fine Arts Scholarship provides $1,000 to multiple high school students who are planning to study any type of art in college (including performance). The Russell C. Lissuzzo Scholarship provides $1,000 to one high school senior who lives in either Oak Park, Forest Park, or River Forest and plans to study architecture in college. Contact the council for more information on how and when to apply.

Nursing Education Scholarship

Award Amount: Up to $15,000 (approximately)
Application Deadline: April 30, 2018

If you have lived in Illinois for at least one year and established residency, plan to pursue a degree in nursing, and can demonstrate financial need, this scholarship is the one! You must be attending or planning to attend an approved institution in Illinois. While you can apply here, you will also need to complete the FAFSA and obtain a Student Aid Report to prove that you have financial need. Priority is given to students who have at least a 3.0 GPA, but it is not a requirement. The award amount depends on whether a student is attending a two- or four-year institution and on the length of the nursing program. Students must agree to work in Illinois for two years for each year the scholarships is received to be chosen for an award.

There are many other scholarships and grants available to Illinois residents, including the Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers and the Grant Program for Dependents of Correctional Officers. Doing an internet search for “Illinois scholarships” or “scholarships for students from Illinois” might help you find more opportunities for some college cash!


About Megan Clendenon

Megan C. is obsessed with Cincinnati-style chili, Louisville basketball, and Scandinavian crime fiction. She has lived in six different states and held 12 different jobs since beginning her undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 2008. The wanderlust abated somewhat in recent years, as Megan settled in Texas from 2013 to 2016 to finish a master’s degree in geosciences, write a thesis on the future horrors that stem from climate change, and get married. During her free time, you will find Megan sitting on the couch, cheering for her Louisville Cardinals, planning future adventures abroad, and snuggling with her dog, Tiger. She currently lives outside of Washington D.C.

Leave a comment