Illinois Scholarships and Grants

Illinois scholarships and grants can help Illinois residents pay for college without having to take out too many student loans. Students who are interested in going to college within their home state will be more likely to get grants and scholarships from the state and non-government organizations based in Illinois. If you’re interested in Illinois financial aid, here are several awards you might want to look at:

  • Illinois Bonus Incentive Grant

The Illinois Bonus Incentive Grant – BIG – is one way that Illinois helps students and parents save for college. To qualify for the grant, parents or students must buy an Illinois College Savings Bond and hold it for at least twelve months before the date of maturity. At least 70% of the proceeds of the bond must be used for incidental costs for college enrollment within an academic year. These costs may include tuition, educational fees, room, board, books, transportation, and certain personal expenses. Seventy percent of the bond’s value must not be more than the cost of attendance at the student’s chosen college for the year.

The amount of the bonus incentive for bond holders will vary from $40 to $440 per $5,000 of bong. Grant amounts can vary by year, but they can be a helpful way to add to your college savings. You can find out more about the Bonus Incentive Grant <a href= target=_blank>at this website</a>.

  • Merit Recognition Scholarships

These scholarships vary from year to year, depending on the availability of funds. Students who are in the top five percent of their classes by the end of the third semester before graduation may be eligible for this award. Students who receive a top five percent combined score on the ACT, SAT, or Prairie State Achievement Exam may also be eligible.

This award, which varies in amount from year to year, is good for attendance at a Military Service Academy or certain Illinois colleges and universities. Students must enroll in college at least half time, and they must claim the scholarship within a year of graduating from high school. If you think you may be eligible for this scholarship, you can find out more <a href= target=_blank>here</a>.

  • General Assembly Scholarship

In Illinois, each member of the General Assembly for the state is able to elect one to four students from his or her district per year to receive a General Assembly Scholarship. Legislators can each give four years’ worth of scholarships. If the legislator chooses one candidate, that candidate will get a four-year scholarship. Two students could get two separate two-year scholarships, or four could each get a one-year scholarship.

These full-tuition waivers can be used at state-supported universities, including Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois, and Western Illinois University.

To apply, students should contact that office of the legislator of their district for an application form. Legislators can then complete nomination forms for the recipients of a General Assembly Scholarship. The requirements for nomination vary from one legislator to the next, but in general, legislators look for academic achievement and leadership qualities. For more information, you can check out <a href= target=_blank>this website</a>.

  • Illinois National Guard Grant Program

This program is for members of the Illinois National Guard. Students may be eligible to receive benefits for tuition and certain fees for both undergraduate and graduate study. These Illinois scholarships can only be used at two and four year public colleges and universities in Illinois. The grant can be used for up to four years of full-time enrollment.

To find out how much you are eligible to receive through this grant, you should contact your National Guard unit and the financial aid office of the university you are going to attend.

  • Illinois Veteran Grant Program

Veterans who are Illinois residents and who have served at least a year of federal active duty in the armed forces and who were honorably discharged or who are currently serving in the armed forces are eligible for this grant. The grant is available through the General Assembly and Illinois state funds. It can be used at any Illinois public two or four year university or college.

This grant does not cover incidental fees related to schooling, but it will waive most or all tuition at a college or university. The grant will also cover mandatory educational fees, although the student will be responsible for books, supplies, and such. In order to qualify for this award, veterans need to either have been a resident of Illinois or attending an Illinois public college or university at the time of entering the service, and they must have established residency within Illinois within six months of leaving active duty. The award is also available for spouses of military personnel who apply for the grant within six months after the spouse was stationed in Illinois or who are planning to establish residency within Illinois in the near future.

<a href= target=_blank>This website</a> will tell you more about the Illinois Veteran Grant Program and will give you information on applying for the award.

  • Chicago Scholars Program

This program is for marginalized high school students who have many problems to overcome in order to graduate college within four years and achieve a good working position or a position in graduate school after college. Although the program does take financial need into consideration, it’s about more than just poverty. Students in this program may have problems to overcome because of disabilities, culture, or other hurdles.

This long-running program starts when students are Juniors in high school, when the Chicago scholars are chosen. Throughout the program, students are exposed to many networking opportunities and are helped with university applications. Students are then given assistance with paying for college, as well as opportunities like paid summer internships. Throughout their college career, these scholars are mentored so that they have a better chance of success in college. To read more about the program, check out the website at




Leave a Reply