20+ Scholarships for Illinois Students

Illinois is home to a long list of state-specific scholarships. BestColleges spotlights some award options for Illinois residents and students.

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Published August 8, 2022

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20+ Scholarships for Illinois Students
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Each year, public and private sources award nearly $50 billion worth of scholarships. In the face of rising tuition rates, scholarships provide access to financial assistance that students — both online and on-campus — do not need to repay.

A deep roster of college scholarships is available for Illinois residents and students. This page highlights Illinois scholarships, their requirements, and when to apply. Whether you're a high school graduate pursuing a STEM degree or a graduate student tackling an accounting master's, odds are a scholarship exists for you.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Keep reading to find scholarships and see which Illinois scholarships make our list.

Illinois Resident? 11 Scholarships for Illinois Students

CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation CSBG Scholarship

Deadline: April 1, 2023
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. Applicants must provide documentation of family income from the 90 days before applying and include official high school transcripts.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.cefseoc.org/education-services

Corporate Relocation Council Scholarship

Deadline: January 1, 2023
Amount: $1,000

The Corporate Relocation Council offers an annual $1,000 scholarship for high school seniors who relocated to the greater-Chicago area at some point during their high school experience. Applicants typically 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.

Apply to this scholarship: https://crcchicago.org/Scholarship

Fred S. Bailey Scholarship Fund

Deadline: February 28, 2023
Amount: $3,000

The YMCA at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana is home to the Fred S. Bailey Scholarship, which offers a $3,000 award for undergraduate degree-seekers who demonstrate a dedication to serving their community. Prospective award-winners must show strong academic performance as well as financial need.

Apply to this scholarship: https://universityymca.org/bailey/undergrad/

George M. Pullman Educational Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: February 1, 2023
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. Applicants must also plan to attend an accredited, four-year college or university.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.pullmanfoundation.org/apply/

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

Deadline: April 1, 2023
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. Scholarship applicants must receive designation as a Golden Apple Scholar, enroll at a participating Illinois institution, and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.isac.org/students/during-college/types-of-financial-aid/scholarships/golden-apple-scholars-of-illinois.html

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.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.hopechicago.org

Jill Doherty Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: May 2, 2023
Amount: Varies

Based in Chicago's Northside, the Edison Park Community Council facilitates the Jill Doherty Memorial Scholarship. This award targets high school seniors, high school graduates, and first-year college or trade school students. Award amounts vary. At the time of application, students must reside in Edison Park and submit a 500-word essay.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.edisonparkcc.com/jill-doherty-memorial-scholarship

Kendall-Grundy Community Action Scholarship

Deadline: April 22, 2023
Amount: Varies

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

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.kendallhealth.org/community-action/

Kinnett Scholarships for College/Further Education

Deadline: April 3, 2023
Amount: $1,000

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

Apply to this scholarship: https://sites.google.com/site/nssedfoundation/collegeeducation

Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 1, 2023
Amount: $7,500

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission offers the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) scholarship program. Scholarship applicants must belong to a racial minority or have qualified bilingual minority status and be enrolled or accepted into in 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.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.isac.org/students/during-college/types-of-financial-aid/scholarships/minority-teachers-of-illinois-mti-scholarship-program.html

Wentcher Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: February 2023
Amount: Up to $40,000

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, applicants must include academic transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and answers to two short essay prompts.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.wentcherfoundation.org/apply/

4 University-Specific Scholarships for Illinois Students

Chicago Police and Fire Scholarship - UChicago

Deadline: January 2023
Amount: Full Tuition

The Chicago Police and Fire Scholarship offers full tuition for graduating seniors hoping to attend the University of Chicago. Applicants must be children 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.

Apply to this scholarship: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/documents/chicago-police-and-fire-scholarship

Loyola University Catholic Heritage Award

Deadline: December 1, 2022
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.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.luc.edu/finaid/scholarships/undergraduate/

McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship

Deadline: February 1, 2023
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.

Apply to this scholarship: https://illinoisstate.edu/admissions/scholarships/mclean-county/

UChicago Promise

Deadline: Annual
Amount: Varies

The UChicago Promise offers extensive college prep, admissions, and financial aid opportunities for public and charter school students in Chicago. UChicago ensures that those who gain admission into this program graduate debt-free. The school assesses students' financial needs and replaces loans with grants.

Apply to this scholarship: https://promise.uchicago.edu

Know Your Major? 12 Subject-Specific Scholarships

Chicago Engineers Foundation Awards for Graduating HS Seniors

Deadline: April 1, 2023
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, applicants 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, students must provide documentation of acceptance into an ABET-accredited, four-year engineering program.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.chicagoengineersfoundation.org/awards/

CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois

Deadline: April 1, 2023
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. Additionally, the CPA Endowment Fund offers funding for high school graduates and first-year racial/ethnic minority students who intend to major in accounting.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.icpas.org/advocacy/cpa-endowment-fund-of-illinois/programs

David C. Lizárraga Fellowship

Deadline: February 26, 2023
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. Scholarship applicants must enroll in a business or engineering graduate program and must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants should have strong leadership skills and demonstrate financial need.

Apply to this scholarship: https://telacu.com/telacu-education-foundation/graduate-school-support/david-c-lizarraga-fellowship/

DuPage Medical Society Scholarships

Deadline: April 30, 2023
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. Applicants should include academic transcripts, financial information, a letter of recommendation, and proof of acceptance into a healthcare-related program.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.dcmsdocs.org/index.php/scholarship-application

Friends of Moraine Hills State Park Scholarship in Environmental Studies

Deadline: April 30, 2023
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. Applicants also include official transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a short essay outlining their interest in environmental studies.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.friendsofmorainehillsstatepark.org/general-8

Illinois CPA Society Accounting Scholarship

Deadline: April 1, 2023
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. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA and must demonstrate both financial need and strong academic performance.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.icpas.org/future-cpa/college-students/scholarships

Illinois AMVETS Sad Sacks Nursing Scholarships

Deadline: March 1, 2023
Amount: Varies

The Illinois AMVETS organization's Sad Sacks scholarship offers financial support for nursing students in their second year or later. Applicants should demonstrate both financial need and strong academic performance. When applying, applicants must provide proof of acceptance into a nursing program, official transcripts, and financial information and must be the child or grandchild of a veteran.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.ilamvets.org/scholarships

IWEA Environmental Career Scholarship

Deadline: January 31, 2023
Amount: $500

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

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.iweasite.org/environmental_career_scholarsh.php

Karen George Chicago Speech Therapy Scholarship

Deadline: May 1, 2023
Amount: $2,500

The Karen George Chicago Speech Therapy Scholarship offers a scholarship for graduate students accepted or enrolled in a speech-language pathology program. Applicants must attend a Midwest college or university and plan to work with children in private practice. Additionally, applicants must submit a personal essay and three letters of recommendation.

Apply to this scholarship: https://chicagospeechtherapy.com/speech-therapy-scholarship/

Leopold Education Project Scholarship Program

Deadline: February 15, 2023
Amount: Varies

The Leopold Education Project Scholarship Program offers financial assistance for students tackling an undergraduate degree in forestry, ecology, or environmental sciences. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED with plans to attend a two-year or four-year college or university. Additionally, applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA and live in northeast Illinois.

Apply to this scholarship: https://www.aldoleopold.org/teach-learn/leopold-education-project/

Quad City Engineering and Science Council Scholarship

Deadline: January 25, 2023
Amount: Varies

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

Apply to this scholarship: https://qcesc.org/for-students/

Robert Sherman Fine Art Scholarship

Deadline: March 30, 2023
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. Applicants must reside in Glenview and attend an area high school. They must also submit a digital portfolio of artwork and proof of admission into a visual arts program.

Apply to this scholarship: https://glenviewartleague.org/events/art-scholarship-program/

Scholarship Guides for Different Identities

Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Scholarships

What GPA do you need to get a full-ride scholarship?

Just as scholarships are wildly diverse, so too are the requirements. GPA requirements can vary significantly between scholarships, but a common number is 3.0 or higher. And while academic performance is often a part of award decisions, scholarship committees may also take a look at community involvement, financial need, and extracurricular activities.

In addition to GPA benchmarks, scholarships typically require applicants to submit a completed application, letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts. Scholarship applications often include an essay prompt that can significantly influence the likelihood an applicant secures funding.

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

Because not all scholarships cover tuition in full, students should first search for scholarships that offer that level of financial support. Full scholarships are exceptionally competitive, and while that should not discourage students from applying, they should consider additional scholarship options.

Rather than focusing solely on full-ride scholarships, adding a substantial list of smaller awards can increase the odds of securing a scholarship. Even securing a scholarship of a few hundred dollars can cover the cost of books for a semester. Securing a few smaller, less competitive scholarships can quickly make a dent in the cost of college.

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

Each scholarship has its own set of rules and expectations for applicants. Some groups award scholarships just for Illinois residents, but countless scholarships exist for national applicants. Additionally, some scholarships are even more selective, only accepting applications from specific regions, counties, or cities.

When reviewing potential scholarships, applicants should ensure they meet all of the necessary residency requirements. As with other applications, submitting an incomplete application is often grounds for immediate rejection.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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