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Top 73 Illinois Scholarships in April 2024

Written by Cece Gilmore

Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

Full Bio

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and Kayla Korzekwinski

Kayla Korzekwinski is a Scholarships360 content writer. She earned her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied Advertising/PR, Rhetorical Communication, and Anthropology. Kayla has worked on communications for non-profits and student organizations. She loves to write and come up with new ways to express ideas.

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Edited by Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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Updated: April 4th, 2024

Illinois scholarships can help lighten the financial load of attending school in the “Land of Lincoln.” The state is home to some of the most renowned colleges in the Midwest. From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to Northwestern, there is a college for all students!

There are many great private Illinois scholarships included on the list below, including the Chicago Engineers Foundation High School Graduate Award and the Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship. You can also help pay for your education by applying for state grants, which are typically less competitive and are often guaranteed to students who meet financial requirements. The Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) and Illinois Commitment Program are just two examples of state funding students can receive.

Keep on reading to learn more about the top Illinois scholarships including deadlines, award amounts, and eligibility requirements!

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Scholarship Review Process

The Scholarships360 Research Team reviews all scholarships individually and strives to exclude any scholarship where any of the below applies:

  • The scholarship requires a fee to apply
  • The scholarship provider’s privacy policy allows for the misuse of student data
  • The scholarship requires paid membership in an organization (with certain exceptions for reputable trade organizations and others)
  • Student are required to sign up for a site or service to apply*
  • The scholarship seems primarily used for lead generation** or idea harvesting purposes***
  • The scholarship website has many grammatical errors and/or advertisements
  • The scholarship or scholarship providing organization seem untrustworthy
  • There is no evidence the scholarship was previously awarded
  • The scholarship has not been awarded in the past 12 months
  • There is no available contact information

If you believe a scholarship has been published in error, please reach out to [email protected] and we’ll take a look!


* There are certain exceptions to this, for example if the sponsoring organization is a major corporation or nonprofit with its own scholarship application system.
** Lead generation scholarships will require students to sign up for an app or website and require minimal (if any) application requirements.
***Idea harvesting scholarships will require students to submit blog posts or other materials that companies may use for marketing purposes.

Learn about our editorial policies
All Scholarships
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73 scholarships
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ISAC Monetary Award Program (MAP)

Offered by Illinois Student Assistance Commission

Multiple awards worth Varies
Expected deadline April 2025
Grade Level College Students

Offered by Illinois Student Assistance Commission

Are you an Illinois resident who is enrolled in a minimum of 3 hours per term at an approved Illinois college and has accumulated less…Show More

Are you an Illinois resident who is enrolled in a minimum of 3 hours per term at an approved Illinois college and has accumulated less…Show More

Are you an Illinois resident who is enrolled in a minimum of 3 hours per term at an approved Illinois college and has accumulated less than 135 MAP Paid Credit Hours so far? If so, the ISAC Monetary Award Program (MAP) may be a great opportunity for you! Each year, the scholarship is awarded to multiple Illinois residents who are enrolled in a degree or certificate program in Illinois. Applicants must also have not yet earned a bachelor's degree. The amount that applicants are eligible to earn will be prorated based on the number of credit hours in which they are enrolled. To be considered for this scholarship, interested students must complete either the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid or the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If this sounds like a good opportunity for you, we encourage you to apply! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

Multiple awards worth Varies
Expected deadline April 2025
Grade Level College Students
Get Started

$10,000 “No Essay” Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by Scholarships360

Exclusive
1 award worth $10,000
Deadline Jun 30, 2024
Grade Level All Grade Levels

Offered by Scholarships360

Exclusive

The Scholarships360 $10,000 “No Essay” Scholarship is open to all students who want some extra help paying for their education. Whether you are a high…Show More

The Scholarships360 $10,000 “No Essay” Scholarship is open to all students who want some extra help paying for their education. Whether you are a high…Show More

The Scholarships360 $10,000 “No Essay” Scholarship is open to all students who want some extra help paying for their education. Whether you are a high school student who hopes to go to college, a graduate student who’s in a master’s program, or an adult learner who wants to return to school, you are eligible for our no essay scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded to students who get the most out of Scholarships360 scholarships and content. You will be a strong applicant if you apply to scholarships with the Scholarships360 platform. Finalists for this scholarship will be interviewed about their process for funding their education.Show Less

1 award worth $10,000
Deadline Jun 30, 2024
Grade Level All Grade Levels
Apply

$2,000 Sallie Mae Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by Sallie Mae

Easy Application
1 award worth $2,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level HS Upperclassmen, College & Graduate Students

Offered by Sallie Mae

Easy Application

Sallie Mae will award $2,000 each month to eligible entrants. No essay or account sign-ups, just a simple scholarship for those seeking help paying for…

Sallie Mae will award $2,000 each month to eligible entrants. No essay or account sign-ups, just a simple scholarship for those seeking help paying for…

Sallie Mae will award $2,000 each month to eligible entrants. No essay or account sign-ups, just a simple scholarship for those seeking help paying for school.

1 award worth $2,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level HS Upperclassmen, College & Graduate Students
Apply

AAF-Greater Evansville Student Scholarship Award

Offered by American Advertising Federation – Greater Evansville

Multiple awards worth $5,000
Deadline Apr 19, 2024
Grade Level High School Seniors & College Students

Offered by American Advertising Federation – Greater Evansville

Are you a current or incoming college student from Illinois, Indiana, or Kentucky studying advertising, marketing, graphic design, or public relations? If so, you may…Show More

Are you a current or incoming college student from Illinois, Indiana, or Kentucky studying advertising, marketing, graphic design, or public relations? If so, you may…Show More

Are you a current or incoming college student from Illinois, Indiana, or Kentucky studying advertising, marketing, graphic design, or public relations? If so, you may be eligible for the AAF-Greater Evansville Student Scholarship Award! Each year, the scholarship is awarded to multiple current and incoming college students who are majoring in advertising and related fields and from select parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Eligible counties include Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey, Gibson, and Pike counties in Indiana, Edwards, White, Wabash, and Wayne counties in Illinois, and Henderson, Union, and Daviess counties in Kentucky. If you're from an eligible county and have a passion for advertising, marketing, public relations, or graphic design, don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to pursue your dreams and make a difference in your field! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

Multiple awards worth $5,000
Deadline Apr 19, 2024
Grade Level High School Seniors & College Students
Get Started

$40,000 Build a College List Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by The College Board

Easy Application
Multiple awards worth up to $40,000
Deadline Jun 30, 2024
Grade Level High School Junior

Offered by The College Board

Easy Application

Create a college list with six schools you're considering - no minimum GPA or essay required!

Create a college list with six schools you're considering - no minimum GPA or essay required!

Create a college list with six schools you're considering - no minimum GPA or essay required!

Multiple awards worth up to $40,000
Deadline Jun 30, 2024
Grade Level High School Junior
Apply

Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund

Multiple awards worth up to $1,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level College Students

Offered by Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund honors the legacy of Elaine Chapin by providing financial support to students impacted by multiple sclerosis, whether directly or…Show More

The Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund honors the legacy of Elaine Chapin by providing financial support to students impacted by multiple sclerosis, whether directly or…Show More

The Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund honors the legacy of Elaine Chapin by providing financial support to students impacted by multiple sclerosis, whether directly or as a family member. Applications are accepted from November 1st to April 30th, with scholarships up to $1,000 awarded to deserving students. To be eligible, applicants must be US citizens who are currently or will soon be enrolled in an accredited college, university, vocational, or technical school within 300 miles of Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship Fund's St. Louis (Missouri) offices. Recipients will be chosen based on financial need, academic standing, and the impact of multiple sclerosis on their lives. If you're an eligible incoming or current post-secondary student whose life has been impacted by multiple sclerosis, we encourage you to apply! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

Multiple awards worth up to $1,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level College Students
Get Started

Niche $25,000 “No Essay” Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by Niche

Easy Application
1 award worth $25,000
Deadline May 31, 2024
Grade Level All Grade Levels

Offered by Niche

Easy Application

Easy scholarship open to all high school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year!

Easy scholarship open to all high school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year!

Easy scholarship open to all high school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year!

1 award worth $25,000
Deadline May 31, 2024
Grade Level All Grade Levels
Apply

ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship

Offered by ISL Education Lending

Multiple awards worth $1,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level High School Senior

Offered by ISL Education Lending

The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship awards ten $1,000 college scholarships to high school seniors residing in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin who will…Show More

The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship awards ten $1,000 college scholarships to high school seniors residing in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin who will…Show More

The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship awards ten $1,000 college scholarships to high school seniors residing in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin who will attend an eligible U.S. college in the Fall following their high school graduation. To be eligible, applicants must be legal United States residents and be set to attend college in the U.S., physically or virtually, following their high school graduation. There are no income, grade point average, or class rank requirements. If you're a college-bound high school senior residing in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin, we encourage you to apply! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

Multiple awards worth $1,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level High School Senior
Get Started

PAPA Flight Training Scholarship

Offered by Palwaukee Airport Pilots Association

Multiple awards worth Varies
Deadline May 1, 2024
Grade Level College Students

Offered by Palwaukee Airport Pilots Association

Are you a Chicago Executive Pilots Association (CEPA) member looking to complete flight training? If so, the PAPA Flight Training Scholarship may be a great…Show More

Are you a Chicago Executive Pilots Association (CEPA) member looking to complete flight training? If so, the PAPA Flight Training Scholarship may be a great…Show More

Are you a Chicago Executive Pilots Association (CEPA) member looking to complete flight training? If so, the PAPA Flight Training Scholarship may be a great opportunity for you! Each year, the scholarship is awarded to CEPA members looking to complete flight training. To be considered, simply complete an application, and provide a copy of your current FAA medical certificate and pilot certificate, a copy of your current legal ID, the last three pages of your pilot logbook, an essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. If you're a CEPA member, don't miss out on this chance to further your aviation career! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

Multiple awards worth Varies
Deadline May 1, 2024
Grade Level College Students
Get Started

$25k “Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by Bold.org

Easy Application
1 award worth $25,000
Deadline May 1, 2024
Grade Level All Grade Levels

Offered by Bold.org

Easy Application

Open to high school students, college students, community college students, and graduate students.

Open to high school students, college students, community college students, and graduate students.

Open to high school students, college students, community college students, and graduate students.

1 award worth $25,000
Deadline May 1, 2024
Grade Level All Grade Levels
Apply

Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarships

Offered by Illinois Restaurant Association

Multiple awards worth Varies
Deadline May 8, 2024
Grade Level College Students

Offered by Illinois Restaurant Association

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarship is offered to students who are accepted or planning to apply to an accredited culinary or hospitality school,…Show More

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarship is offered to students who are accepted or planning to apply to an accredited culinary or hospitality school,…Show More

The Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarship is offered to students who are accepted or planning to apply to an accredited culinary or hospitality school, college or university whose major is or will be culinary, restaurant management, foodservice or another related program. Must be a permanent resident of Illinois enrolled as a full-time or substantial part-time student, taking a minimum of 9 credit hours each term and enrolled as a full-time or substantial part-time student, taking a minimum of 9 credit hours each term. If this sounds like a good opportunity for you, we encourage you to apply! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

Multiple awards worth Varies
Deadline May 8, 2024
Grade Level College Students
Get Started

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarship

Offered by Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

24 awards worth $4,000
Deadline May 10, 2024
Grade Level High School Senior

Offered by Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarship annually rewards $4,000 to approximately 24 graduating high school seniors in Chicago who succeeded in school while experiencing…Show More

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarship annually rewards $4,000 to approximately 24 graduating high school seniors in Chicago who succeeded in school while experiencing…Show More

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarship annually rewards $4,000 to approximately 24 graduating high school seniors in Chicago who succeeded in school while experiencing homelessness. "Homelessness" includes lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence, and includes students living in a shelter, car, motel, doubled-up situation, or places not meant for human habitation, or lacking permanent housing. Applicants must be planning on attending a post-secondary institution, and may study any field of their choice. If you're a Chicago high school senior who has experienced homelessness, we encourage you to apply and take a step towards a brighter future. Keep on reading to learn more!Show Less

24 awards worth $4,000
Deadline May 10, 2024
Grade Level High School Senior
Get Started

$10,000 CollegeXpress Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by CollegeXpress

Easy Application
1 award worth $10,000
Deadline May 1, 2024
Grade Level High School Freshmen, Sophomores & Juniors

Offered by CollegeXpress

Easy Application

Annual $10k scholarship from CollegeXpress open to all high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

Annual $10k scholarship from CollegeXpress open to all high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

Annual $10k scholarship from CollegeXpress open to all high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

1 award worth $10,000
Deadline May 1, 2024
Grade Level High School Freshmen, Sophomores & Juniors
Apply

CABAA Maintenance Committee Financial Award

Offered by Chicago Area Business Aviation Association

1 award worth $8,000
Deadline May 25, 2024
Grade Level High School Seniors & College Students

Offered by Chicago Area Business Aviation Association

The CABAA Maintenance Committee Financial Award annually awards $8,000 to one high school senior or current college-level student who will be seeking a degree in…Show More

The CABAA Maintenance Committee Financial Award annually awards $8,000 to one high school senior or current college-level student who will be seeking a degree in…Show More

The CABAA Maintenance Committee Financial Award annually awards $8,000 to one high school senior or current college-level student who will be seeking a degree in aviation maintenance. Scholarship funds will be paid to the student and college or university in which the recipient is enrolled and are to be used to pay tuition or fees for aviation-specific programs. Applicants must include at least three letters of recommendation, with at least one being from an individual currently involved in business aviation (non-professors preferred). Preference is given to Chicagoland/Illinois area residents and students, followed by residents and students of surrounding states. If this sounds like a good opportunity for you, we encourage you to apply! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

1 award worth $8,000
Deadline May 25, 2024
Grade Level High School Seniors & College Students
Get Started

Jenner AG Furthering AG Education Scholarship Program

Offered by Jenner AG

Multiple awards worth Varies
Deadline Jul 31, 2024
Grade Level HS Seniors, College Freshmen, Sophomores & Juniors

Offered by Jenner AG

Are you a high school senior or college freshman, sophomore, or junior from Illinois or Indiana who has a passion for agriculture? If so, the…Show More

Are you a high school senior or college freshman, sophomore, or junior from Illinois or Indiana who has a passion for agriculture? If so, the…Show More

Are you a high school senior or college freshman, sophomore, or junior from Illinois or Indiana who has a passion for agriculture? If so, the Jenner AG Furthering AG Education Scholarship Program may be a great opportunity for you! Each year, the scholarship is awarded to multiple Illinois and Indiana residents who are currently or will soon be pursuing an agriculture degree. If this sounds like a good opportunity for you, we encourage you to apply and sow the seeds towards success! Keep on reading to learn more, and watch your dreams blossom.Show Less

Multiple awards worth Varies
Deadline Jul 31, 2024
Grade Level HS Seniors, College Freshmen, Sophomores & Juniors
Get Started

$1,000 Appily Easy College Money Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by Appily

Easy Application
Monthly awards worth $1,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level High School Freshman, High School Sophomore, High School Junior, College Freshman & College Sophomore

Offered by Appily

Easy Application

This easy scholarship from Appily is open to U.S. high school students (Class of 2025, 2026, 2027) and college transfer students. One scholarship will be…Show More

This easy scholarship from Appily is open to U.S. high school students (Class of 2025, 2026, 2027) and college transfer students. One scholarship will be…Show More

This easy scholarship from Appily is open to U.S. high school students (Class of 2025, 2026, 2027) and college transfer students. One scholarship will be awarded each month.Show Less

Monthly awards worth $1,000
Deadline Apr 30, 2024
Grade Level High School Freshman, High School Sophomore, High School Junior, College Freshman & College Sophomore
Apply

Nick & Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship

Offered by Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans

Multiple awards worth up to $6,500
Deadline Nov 1, 2024
Grade Level College Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors

Offered by Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans

The Nick & Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship annually awards up to $6,500 to multiple college sophomores and upperclassmen of Italian heritage who reside in Illinois.…Show More

The Nick & Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship annually awards up to $6,500 to multiple college sophomores and upperclassmen of Italian heritage who reside in Illinois.…Show More

The Nick & Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship annually awards up to $6,500 to multiple college sophomores and upperclassmen of Italian heritage who reside in Illinois. Preference will be given to those who (a) are pursuing a degree in music or education or (b) were orphaned or raised in a foster home. If you're a college student of Italian heritage from Illinois, and you are pursuing a degree in music or education or were orphaned or raised in a foster home, we encourage you to apply. Keep on reading for more application details!Show Less

Multiple awards worth up to $6,500
Deadline Nov 1, 2024
Grade Level College Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors
Get Started

Act Six

Offered by Act Six

7 awards worth up to Full Ride
Deadline Nov 28, 2024
Grade Level High School Seniors & College Underclassmen

Offered by Act Six

Are you a college-bound high school senior, high school graduate, or current two-year college student with a passion for making your community and the world…Show More

Are you a college-bound high school senior, high school graduate, or current two-year college student with a passion for making your community and the world…Show More

Are you a college-bound high school senior, high school graduate, or current two-year college student with a passion for making your community and the world around you a better and more accepting place? Further, do you reside in and are willing to attend an Act Six Program College in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Tacoma-Seatlle, Yakima Valley, Portland-Salem, Spokane (WA), Chicago, or Indianapolis? If so, you may be eligible for Act Six! Act Six is a leadership and scholarship program that brings together diverse, multicultural cadres of young people who want to use their college education to make a difference on campus and in their communities at home. Each year, they award multiple full-ride scholarships to help the top applicants thrive in college and beyond. To apply, interested students must complete the Act Six Interest Form, then add "Act Six" to their "My Colleges" List on the Common Application, and submit the Common Application. If this sounds like a good opportunity for you, we encourage you to apply! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

7 awards worth up to Full Ride
Deadline Nov 28, 2024
Grade Level High School Seniors & College Underclassmen
Get Started

$5,000 Christian Connector Scholarship

This scholarship has been verified by the scholarship providing organization.

Offered by Christian Connector

Easy Application
1 award worth $5,000
Deadline May 31, 2024
Grade Level High School Freshmen, Sophomores & Juniors

Offered by Christian Connector

Easy Application

Students applying to the $5,000 Christian Connector Scholarship must be current high school students (Class of 2025, 2026, or 2027) interested in attending a Christian…

Students applying to the $5,000 Christian Connector Scholarship must be current high school students (Class of 2025, 2026, or 2027) interested in attending a Christian…

Students applying to the $5,000 Christian Connector Scholarship must be current high school students (Class of 2025, 2026, or 2027) interested in attending a Christian university or college.

1 award worth $5,000
Deadline May 31, 2024
Grade Level High School Freshmen, Sophomores & Juniors
Apply

Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois

Offered by Illinois Student Assistance Commission

Multiple awards worth $2,500 - $5,000
Deadline Varies
Grade Level College Students

Offered by Illinois Student Assistance Commission

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois encourages academically talented Illinois students, especially minority students, to pursue teaching careers, especially at high-need, hard-to-staff schools by providing…Show More

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois encourages academically talented Illinois students, especially minority students, to pursue teaching careers, especially at high-need, hard-to-staff schools by providing…Show More

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois encourages academically talented Illinois students, especially minority students, to pursue teaching careers, especially at high-need, hard-to-staff schools by providing tuition assistance at one of the participating colleges. College underclassmen may qualify for up to $2,500, and college upperclassmen may qualify for up to $5,000. As part of the application process, applicants must agree to teach, on a full-time basis, for a period of not less than five years at nonprofit Illinois preschools, or Illinois public elementary or secondary schools considered a "School of Need." Recipients must begin teaching not more than two years after completing their degree or certificate program, and if this commitment is not fulfilled, the award will convert to a loan requiring repayment with interest. If you're an Illinois postsecondary student enrolled in a course of study leading to teaching licensure, we encourage you to apply! Keep on reading to learn more.Show Less

Multiple awards worth $2,500 - $5,000
Deadline Varies
Grade Level College Students
Get Started
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How to win Illinois scholarships

Illinois is home to the third largest city in the United States (Chicago!) as well as countless universities and colleges. Therefore, it is no surprise that winning Illinois scholarships is on the top of list for many students. In order to win Illinois scholarships, you should focus on the uniqueness of yourself as well as Illinois as a state. Scour the internet and Scholarships360 for available scholarships that align with your interests. Once you find these perfectly catered scholarships, you should then respond using aspects from your Illinois life to give you a leg up on the competition. 

Scholarship application resources for Illinois scholarships

It may be necessary to write an essay about yourself in order to win Illinois scholarships. Therefore, read over our Scholarships360 ultimate guide to finding and winning scholarships to help ensure you are prepared to win Illinois scholarships! Anything you could need is at your fingertips with Scholarships360 from guides on how to start a scholarship essay to how to write a scholarship resume. So, be sure to check out our other resources to help you win Illinois scholarships!

Illinois college loan debt snapshot

According to the Department of Education, Illinois residents owe $61.6 billion in federal student loan debt, with student borrowers owing an average of $37,757 each (this does not include private loans). In Illinois, 54.5% of student loan borrowers are under the age of 35. As you are starting your higher education journey, remember that scholarships allow students to take less loans. Make sure that you apply to as many as you qualify for. 

Merit scholarships at Illinois colleges and universities

University of Chicago 

  • Eligibility: Determined based on outstanding academic achievement, extracurricular achievement, demonstrated leadership and commitment to your community 
  • Amount: At least $2,000
  • Deadline: Admission to University of Chicago

University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

  • Eligibility: Variety of merit-based scholarships for incoming first-year students, both residents and non-residents
  • Amount: $2,000 up to full tuition
  • Deadline: Admission to UIUC

Northwestern University

  • Eligibility: Northwestern University scholarships are based on financial need and decision is made based on admission application
  • Amount: $250 up to $40,000
  • Deadline: Admission to Northwestern

University of Illinois – Chicago

  • Eligibility: Must be an Illinois resident and senior graduating from an Illinois high school. Be ranked 1st in your graduating class or have a 3.8+ GPA
  • Amount: up to $10,000 per year
  • Deadline: Early December

Illinois Institute of Technology

  • Eligibility: Incoming first-year students to IIT who display outstanding academic and extracurricular achievement and leadership
  • Amount: Up to full cost of tuition
  • Deadline: Varies 

Principia College

  • Eligibility: Incoming first-year students to Principia College with a 3.6+ GPA
  • Amount: $5,000 up to $25,000 
  • Deadline: Admission to Principia College

Consider in-state tuition and tuition reciprocity 

In-state tuition provides students with a lower cost compared to out-of-state tuition rates. Additionally, many universities and colleges reserve scholarships and financial aid for in-state students, which helps reduce the cost of attending college for those who live there.

Here are a few well-known Illinois universities and their in-state vs out-of-state tuition costs:

University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

  • In-state tuition: $17,572
  • Out-of-state tuition: $36,068

University of Illinois – Chicago

  • In-state tuition: $10.776
  • Out-of-state tuition: $25,126

How do you get in-state tuition? 

It is clear that in-state tuition is a cheaper option when compared to out-of-state tuition for Illinois public universities. So, to become an Illinois resident for tuition purposes you would need to live in Illinois for one full year for non-educational purposes. Meaning, you cannot attend school during the year you’re establishing residency. Additionally, you will need to establish a domain in Illinois which includes obtaining an Illinois driver’s license or becoming employed in Illinois. Make sure that your intended Illinois college doesn’t have any additional requirements to obtain in-state tuition! 

Read more: How to get in-state tuition as an out-of-state student

Does Illinois have tuition reciprocity?

No, Illinois does not have tuition reciprocity as they longer participate in the Midwest Student Exchange

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Additional resources for Illinois students

Illinois Student Assistance Commission

This organization provides a variety of scholarships funded through annual appropriations by the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor. Scholarships are available for students studying teaching, nursing, and show financial need.

Nursing Education Scholarship Program

Students pursuing a certificate in practical nursing, an associate degree in nursing, a hospital-based diploma in nursing or a bachelor’s or graduate degree in nursing and demonstrate financial need can be eligible for tuition assistance through this program. The application cycle for this scholarship is from March 1 through April 30. 

First Phoenix Scholarship University of Chicago

All first-generation college students will be awarded a $20,000 scholarship over four years as part of the First Phoenix Scholarship program at the University of Chicago. Awards are made to students whose parents did not attain a degree from a four-year college or university. Applicants who qualify will automatically be considered and need not submit any additional materials beyond the application for admission.

FAFSA guide

On October 1st of every year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens nationwide. Illinois students should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to be eligible for federal student aid as well as some scholarships.

Frequently asked questions about Illinois scholarships

Does Illinois offer free college?

The state of Illinois does not have a program that covers full tuition, but several Illinois universities offer scholarships that cover full tuition, including University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northeastern Illinois University, and more.

Do I need to be an Illinois resident to qualify for Illinois scholarships?

Many Illinois scholarships require that applicants be Illinois residents or attend an Illinois public university or college. However, there are some scholarships that are open to non-Illinois residents as well. Ultimately, make sure you are researching your scholarships and ensuring you fit the eligibility criteria for them.

What is the Illinois “Golden Apple” Scholarship?

The Illinois Golden Apple Scholars Program is a teacher preparation/tuition assistance program for Illinois high school seniors and freshman and sophomore Illinois college students who have what it takes to teach at schools in need in  Illinois. Eligible recipients receive up to $23,000 in total financial assistance for college, job placement assistance, mentoring from award-winning teaching faculty, and much more!

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