20+ Scholarships for Illinois Students

Are you an Illinois student hoping to cut costs in college? Well, you're in luck — check out these 20+ scholarships for Illinois students to start saving.
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  • Whether you're a recent high school grad or returning to school as an adult learner, Illinois has a scholarship for you.
  • Illinois offers numerous scholarships with varying selection criteria, including academic achievement, sports performance, financial need, and academic specialization.
  • Full-ride scholarships are tempting, but applying for multiple smaller awards can enhance the odds of securing funding.

College often requires a significant investment of both time and money, but thankfully there are many scholarship options to help Illinois students dramatically cut the cost of higher education.

From the University of Illinois's 1,500 annual scholarships to millions of dollars awarded annually by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the Empower Illinois initiative, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities for you in the Prairie State.

Read on to see how these scholarships can ensure that you can pursue your academic and career goals at the best colleges in the Land of Lincoln.

Illinois Resident? 10 Scholarships for Illinois Students

Check out this list of scholarships for Illinois students — regardless of what you're studying or what school you attend, these scholarships are for everyone.

CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation CSBG Scholarship

Deadline: July

Amount: $3,712.50+

The CSBG annual scholarship is a merit-based award designed to expand access to higher education for primarily low-income students. This group primarily considers high-performing students interested in pursuing degrees in technology, STEM, and other growing fields.

You must provide documentation of family income from the 90 days before applying and include official high school transcripts.

Corporate Relocation Council Scholarship

Deadline: March

Amount: $2,500

The Corporate Relocation Council offers an annual $2,500 scholarship for high school seniors who relocated to the greater Chicago area at some point during their high school experience. You typically need to have at least a 3.0 GPA. Additionally, those evaluating applications take a holistic approach and consider extracurricular activities and an essay outlining the challenges of relocating to a new school.

Fred S. Bailey Scholarship Fund

Deadline: February

Amount: $4,000

The YMCA at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana is home to the Fred S. Bailey Scholarship, which offers a $4,000 award for undergraduate degree-seekers who demonstrate a dedication to serving their community. You must show strong academic performance as well as financial need.

George M. Pullman Educational Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: February

Amount: $40,000

The Pullman Foundation offers $10,000 per year for four years, for a total of $40,000. Earmarked for high school seniors living in Cook County, Illinois, applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit transcripts showing a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. You must also plan to attend an accredited, four-year college or university.

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

Deadline: April

Amount: Up to $5,000 per year

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission offers the Golden Apple Scholars award for students dedicated to earning a teaching degree. Award recipients agree to teach at a school of need in Illinois for five years after graduation. You must receive designation as a Golden Apple Scholar, enroll at a participating Illinois institution, and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Hope Chicago Scholarship

Deadline: N/A

Amount: Varies

Set aside for students at Chicago public schools, the Hope Chicago Scholarship partners with more than two dozen Illinois schools and offers generous funding for tuition, books, technology, and room and board. After any financial awards, the Hope Chicago Scholarship covers the remainder of college-related costs and includes an annual stipend.

Kendall-Grundy Community Action Scholarship

Deadline: April

Amount: Varies

A community action partnership between Kendall and Grundy counties facilitates these scholarships for economically disadvantaged students. You must reside in Kendall or Grundy County and must hold a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, you must demonstrate a dedication to civic life and complete a short interview with the scholarship committee.

Kinnett Scholarships for College/Further Education

Deadline: April

Amount: $1,000

The Kinnett Scholarships for College/Further Education ease the financial burden of college or vocational school for students graduating from associated high schools. You should submit your application with a list of community service activities, extracurricular activities, academic transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program

Deadline: March

Amount: $7,500

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission offers the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) scholarship program. You must belong to a racial minority or have qualified bilingual minority status and be enrolled or accepted into a teacher education program leading to licensure in Illinois. Award-winners must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and agree to teach at an Illinois school after graduation.

Wentcher Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: February

Amount: Up to $3,500

The Wentcher Foundation Scholarship is available to graduating seniors at Chicago public high schools. Eligible scholarship applicants must have an unweighted 3.0 GPA and provide a FAFSA student aid report. Additionally, you must include academic transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and answers to two short essay prompts.

3 University-Specific Scholarships for Illinois Students

The following university-specific scholarships are for Illinois students who already know where they want to attend college.

Chicago Police and Fire Scholarship - UChicago

Deadline: January

Amount: Full Tuition

The Chicago Police and Fire Scholarship offers full tuition for graduating seniors hoping to attend the University of Chicago. You must be a child of active Chicago firefighters, police, or University of Chicago police. Applicants who lost a parent in the line of duty are also eligible for consideration.

Loyola University Catholic Heritage Award

Deadline: December

Amount: Full Tuition

Loyola University's Catholic Heritage Award is an annual scholarship that provides full tuition for four years to first-year students who graduated from a Catholic secondary school in the Archdioceses of Chicago or the Diocese of Joliet.

McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship

Deadline: November

Amount: Full Tuition

The McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship program provides full tuition for stand-out graduates from McLean County high schools who plan on enrolling at Illinois State University. Scholarship recipients typically demonstrate strong leadership skills and a dedication to community service.

Know Your Major? 11 Subject-Specific Scholarships

If you already know what you want to study, then check out the following subject-specific scholarships. From engineering to medicine, there's a variety of fields to choose from.

Chicago Engineers Foundation Awards for Graduating HS Seniors

Deadline: April

Amount: Up to $1,500

The Chicago Engineers Foundation offers scholarships for graduating high school seniors and rising college sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Awarding up to $1,500, you must graduate from a high school in Chicago and plan on enrolling in an engineering program in the upcoming fall semester. In addition to a completed application, you must provide documentation of acceptance into an ABET-accredited, four-year engineering program.

CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois

Deadline: April

Amount: Up to $4,000

The CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois provides more than 275 scholarships each year. This fund awards scholarships to top-performing senior and graduate accounting students at Illinois colleges and universities. The CPA Endowment Fund also offers funding for high school graduates and first-year racial/ethnic minority students who intend to major in accounting.

David C. Lizárraga Fellowship

Deadline: February

Amount: Varies

Facilitated by the TELACU — a group dedicated to economic and community development — this scholarship softens the economic burden of graduate school for first-generation college students. You must enroll in a business or engineering graduate program and must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. And you should have strong leadership skills and demonstrate financial need.

DuPage Medical Society Scholarships

Deadline: April

Amount: $1,000

The DuPage Medical Society Scholarships offer financial support for students enrolling in a healthcare-based professional education or training program. Scholarship award winners must demonstrate strong academic performance and financial need. You should include academic transcripts, financial information, a letter of recommendation, and proof of acceptance into a healthcare-related program.

Friends of Moraine Hills State Park Scholarship in Environmental Studies

Deadline: April

Amount: $1,000

The Friends of Moraine Hills State Park provides a $1,000 scholarship to two recent graduates of high schools in Kane, Lake, and McHenry counties. Scholarship applicants must hold a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and must plan to enroll in an academic field related to environmental studies. You should also include official transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a short essay outlining their interest in environmental studies.

Illinois CPA Society Accounting Scholarship

Deadline: April

Amount: $4,000

The Illinois CPA Society offers various scholarships, including a $4,000 tuition scholarship. This scholarship focuses on accounting students who meet the academic requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Illinois within three years. You should have a minimum 3.0 GPA and must demonstrate both financial need and strong academic performance.

IWEA Environmental Career Scholarship

Deadline: January

Amount: $500

The Illinois Water Environment Association's Environmental Career Scholarship assists high school graduates with a $500 award. You must attend an Illinois high school and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Additionally, you must plan to complete a science-based degree and submit a completed application with a personal statement, transcripts, and a letter of recommendation.

Quad City Engineering and Science Council Scholarship

Deadline: January

Amount: Varies

Established in 1994, the Quad City Engineering and Science Council Scholarship offers a one-time award to high school seniors planning to enroll in a STEM program at a two-year or four-year institution. Additionally, the group considers students pursuing various trade certifications. You must reside in Illinois or Iowa counties in the Quad City area.

Robert Sherman Fine Art Scholarship

Deadline: March

Amount: $1,000

Facilitated by the Glenview Art League, the Robert Sherman Fine Art Scholarship awards a $1,000 scholarship to a high school senior who plans on completing a bachelor's degree in visual art. You must reside in Glenview and attend an area high school. And you submit a digital portfolio of artwork and proof of admission into a visual arts program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Scholarships

Is it hard to earn a scholarship in Illinois?

While applying for scholarships in Illinois is often competitive, with some effort and standout applications, they're definitely attainable. Many scholarships have specific eligibility criteria, including academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, or financial need.

By researching and applying for various scholarships that align with your background and experiences, you can increase the chance of securing financial assistance for college in Illinois.

How do you get a full-ride scholarship in Illinois?

You must demonstrate academic achievements, leadership skills, and strong commitment to community service to secure a full-ride scholarship in Illinois.

These scholarships are typically the most competitive, often with thousands of applicants. It's a solid idea to apply to multiple smaller awards that have fewer applicants, thus bolstering your odds of securing funding.

Do I have to be an Illinois resident to earn a scholarship?

Not necessarily. While some scholarships in Illinois require residency, many scholarships are available to non-residents as well. These scholarships vary in size and criteria, and it's vital to explore the numerous scholarships in Illinois to find those that are open to students regardless of residency.