The Best Scholarships in Illinois

College provides the best opportunity for advancement in almost every profession. Research indicates that those who graduate from accredited colleges and universities earn more and are more likely to find employment than those who only hold a high school diploma. Yet, for some people, attending college may be difficult due to financial constraints.

For those who live in Illinois, there are many scholarships available that can help ease the financial burden of college, allowing those who may have financial obstacles to achieve their higher education goals.

1. AAUW Return to Learning Scholarship 

The AAUW Return to Learning Scholarship is for people who live in Lombard, Villa Park, Oakbrook Terrace, Wheaton, Addison, Glendale Heights or Glen Ellyn and who are continuing their education after a significant interruption. The applicant must be pursuing certification, undergraduate or graduate degrees, but the scholarship is not available for those pursuing doctorate degrees. Applicants must provide one letter of reference from a professional, such as a faculty member employer, colleague or minister. They must also provide college transcripts.

You can learn more about the AAUW Return to Learning Scholarship here

2. Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship provides scholarships to Illinois residents who plan to attend an institute of higher learning in Illinois with a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Students must demonstrate leadership through community involvement as well as ineligibility for federal financial assistance and financial hardship. Recipients must agree to commit 20 hours of volunteer service to the Anehlo Project during the academic year after they receive their award.

You can learn more about the Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship here

3. Back 2 School Illinois Scholarship 

The Back 2 School Illinois Scholarship provide $2,500 for a high school senior who demonstrates leadership skills in academia and the community. Only residents of Illinois are eligible to apply for the scholarship. In addition to the application, students must send an official high school transcript and standardized test scores. Two letters of recommendation are also required as well as an essay that describes their community service activities.

You can learn more about the Back 2 School Illinois Scholarship here

4. BLM Squared Scholarship 

The BLM Squared Scholarship offers a scholarship to minority students who are permanent Illinois residents. The applicant must be a high school senior and must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The maximum scholarship given is $1000.

You can learn more about the BLM Squared Scholarship here

5. Bruce Fishkin Fund

The Bruce Fishkin Scholarship Fund offers scholarships to high school seniors in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs with amounts that vary based on the need of the student and the cost of attendance at their college of choice. The student must be entering their senior year of high school and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. They must also have achieved a score of 22 or higher on the ACT and plan on attending an institute of higher learning in order to earn at least a bachelor’s degree. The successful candidate is determined by their essay content as well as their academic achievements and records. Finalists must submit to a personal interview.

You can learn more about the Bruce Fishkin Fund here

6. Buster Lindsay Memorial

The Community Foundation of Illinois awards more than $200,000 scholarships each year, each created by an individual or organization who recognizes the importance of higher education. In order to apply for the Buster Lindsay Memorial Scholarship, students must be graduating from Jefferson High School and have participated in high school sports for a minimum of three years. The student must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and must plan to earn a two- or four-year degree.

You can learn more about the Buster Lindsay Memorial here

7. Carle Auxiliary Health Care Center

The Carle Auxiliary Health Care Center College Scholarship is a $1,000 award given to students enrolled full-time in a healthcare curriculum. There are between 12 and 18 awards given each year to students who are permanent residents of Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Dewitt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Platt, Richland, Shelby or Vermillion County, regardless of where they plan to attend college. Applicants must submit three references on the scholarship reference forms that must be printed, completed and mailed. Applicants must also provide official transcripts, letter of acceptance to an approved healthcare curriculum and a personal statement of their professional goals and qualifications for their chosen profession.

You can learn more about the Carle Auxiliary Health Care Center here

8. Carolyn Wones Recruitment Grant

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois offers the Carolyn Wones Recruitment Grant to a female graduating from a high school within Boone or Winnebago Counties who plans to pursue a degree in secondary teaching. The applicant must exhibit academic potential and have participated in a number of high school activities.

You can learn more about the Carolyn Wones Recruitment Grant here

9. CBC Spouses Education Scholarship 

The CBC Spouses Education Scholarship is for students who attend high school in a CBC member district. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and exhibit leadership ability as well as participate in community service activities. Applicants must be an African-American or black student. Students must supply a persona statement of 500 to 1,000 words that address four topics along with two electronically submitted letters of recommendation. It is suggested that one letter comes from a community or public service leader. Students must also provide an electronic copy of their SAR, a resume and a recent photograph that is suitable for publication.

You can learn more about the CBC Spouses Education here

10. CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts

The CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship is for full-time students who are in the performing arts including, but not limited to, drama, music, dance, opera, marching band or other types of musical ensembles. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, exhibit leadership ability and participate in community service activities. Applicants must be qualified African-American or black students who attend a school in a CBC member district.

You can learn more about the CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts here

11. CBCF General Mills Health Scholarship Program

The CBCF General Mills Health Scholarship has a $2,000 maximum and is designed to increase the number of minority students pursuing degrees in medicine, engineering, technology, nutrition and other health-related studies. The applicant must be African-American or black and lie in a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) district. Applicants must be high school seniors or graduates pursuing a secondary degree in the healthcare field. They must have a 2.75 GPA and must provide a current photo.

You can learn more about the CBCF General Mills Health Scholarship Program here

12. CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation CSBG Scholarship

The CSBG Scholarship si designed in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to assist low-income and disadvantaged students who wish to attend college. The scholarship can be used for occupational training or formal education at an accredited Illinois college or university. Particular consideration is given to those who choose high technology or other occupations experiencing high growth.

You can learn more about the CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation CSBG Scholarship here

13. Champion Scholars

Champion Energy provides $5,000 scholarships to three high school seniors who are residents of Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

You can learn more about the Champion Scholars here

14. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless provides college scholarships of $2,500 to students who have experienced an episode of homelessness while in high school. Applicants must be from Chicago and suburban schools. The school must verify that the student was homeless at some point during their high school attendance.

You can learn more about the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless here

15. Chicago Foodservice Marketing Club Educational Scholarship Fund

The Chicago Foodservice Marketing Club Scholarship is for any student pursuing a degree related to restaurants, food service or hospitality. Applicants must be Illinois residents and plan to attend school in Illinois.

You can learn more about the Chicago Foodservice Marketing Club Educational Scholarship Fund here

16. Chicago Police and Fire Scholarship

The University of Chicago, in honor of the service provided to the school by Chicago Police and Fire personnel, provides full-tuition scholarships to children of active Chicago firefighters and police officers. Applicants must be natural or legally adopted children of a firefighter or police officer who plan to remain active throughout their child’s attendance at college. Students who are awarded the scholarships must make satisfactory academic progress while attending college.

You can learn more about the Chicago Police and Fire Scholarship here

17. Chicago Police and Firefighter Training Academy Scholarship

The Chicago Police and Firefighter Training Academy awards a two-year scholarship for cadets who enter the four-year program. The four-year program requires two years of study while in high school and two years after graduation. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 upon completion of the two-year high school program and must have a 90 percent attendance rate throughout the high school program. Applicants may not have any driving suspensions or revocations and must submit to a drug screening. Applicants must complete an online application and complete the consent form that is emailed after the application is received. Along with the consent form, applicants must provide two recommendations, one from a school official and one from a community leader, as well as a current physical, copy of their driver’s license or state identification card and a copy of their high school transcript.

You can learn more about the Chicago Police and Firefighter Training Academy Scholarship here

18. Chicago Public Schools Scholarship 

The University of Chicago offers full-tuition, four-year scholarships to a select number of Chicago Public School graduates. To qualify, they must be outstanding students who demonstrate high potential for contributing to academic, extracurricular and community life. Financial need is not criteria for the scholarships.

You can learn about the Chicago Public Schools Scholarship here

19. Church’s Chicken Community Scholarship Program

Church’s Chicken offers a $1,000 scholarship to high school seniors living in 16 eligible states that include Illinois. Applicants must be graduating seniors and plan to enroll either part- or full-time. They must plan to attend the entire academic year without interruption at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational school in the United States. They must have a minimum GPA of 2.7.

You can learn more about the Church’s Chicken Community Scholarship Program here

20. Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship

Two $1,000 scholarships are awarded to high school seniors through the Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship. To apply, students must register and complete two online financial literacy tutorials as well as an assessment. They may also be required to complete a short essay. Applicants must live in states contiguous with Iowa, including Illinois and must plan to attend college in the fall. Applicants must be at least 13 years old when they begin the application process.

You can learn more about the Come 2 Iowa Senior Scholarship here

21. Corporate Relocation Council

The Corporate Relocation Council provides $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who relocated to the Chicagoland area between grades 9 through 12. Two one-time awards are given based on the strength of the overall application. Students must be a senior in good standing at a Chicago-area high school and relocated more than 50 miles during their high school years. They must have a 3.0 overall GPA. Students are evaluated on academic performance, extracurricular activities and their essay on challenges associated with relocating during their high school years.

You can learn about the Corporate Relocation Council here

22. The Crystal Fund

The Crystal Fund provides up to $4,000 to young people who are in severe financial difficulty, hoping to break the cycle of poverty and allow them to grow into positive influences in the community. The scholarship is only available to the Chicago area. They are only available for students aged 11 to 19.

You can learn more about The Crystal Fund here

23. Dan L. Minger Sr. Memorial Learn to Fly Scholarship

The Dan L. Meisinger Sr. Memorial Learn to Flay Scholarship offers up to $2,500 to a college student enrolled in an aviation program with a “B” average or better. Applicants must be recommended by an aviation professional, although direct applications are also accepted. Applicants must be a resident of Illinois, Missouri or Kansas.

You can learn more about the Dan L. Minger Sr. Memorial Learn to Fly Scholarship here

24. Dr. Loomis/Rockton Lions Club Scholarship

The Dr. Loomis/Rockton Lions Club offers a student graduating from Hononegah High School a scholarship who can demonstrate financial need. The student must rank in the top third of their class and have a stated career goal. They must also be involved in community service, and additional consideration is given to students who are active in Lions Club activities.

You can learn more about the Dr. Loomis/Rockton Lions Club Scholarship here

25. Dison Park Community Council Scholarship

The Edison Park Community Council offers three $3,000 scholarships to graduating seniors who are residents of Edison Park at the time of the application. The applicant cannot be the child of a current director or officer of the Edison Park Community Council.

You can learn more about the Dison Park Community Council Scholarship here

26. Elmhurst Garden Club Scholarship

The Elmhurst Garden Club Scholarship is for Illinois residents who are college juniors, seniors or graduate students majoring in horticulture, environmental studies, biology or other related science curriculums. Applicants must submit an official academic transcript and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, one from the majoring department and one from another individual who is not related to the student. Students must submit a cover letter explaining their commitment to their chosen career, extracurricular activities, community service and work-related experience. If awarded a scholarship, they must submit a letter of acceptance and a photo suitable for publication. The applicant must also present a short program on their major at a meeting of the Elmhurst Garden Club.

You can learn more about the Elmhurst Garden Club Scholarship here

27. EMU National Scholars Program

The EMU National Scholars Program offers up to $15,000 in out-of-state tuition differential to new freshmen or new transfer student who is not a resident of Michigan or Ohio. The applicant must have a 3.5 GPA and must live in university housing for the first two years of the award. Students are automatically considered for the scholarship at the time of their admission based on their GPA.

You can learn more about the EMU National Scholars Program here

28. Friends of Moraine Hills State Park Scholarship in Environmental Studies

The Friends of Moraine Hills State Park offer two $1,000 scholarships to students who attend Lake, McHenry, Kane, Cook, DuPage, Kendall or Will County, who plan to attend an accredited college or university to study environmental sciences. Students must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

You can learn more about the Friends of Moraine Hills State Park Scholarship in Environmental Studies here

29. Greater St. Louis Mothers of Twins Club Mary Jane Wolf Memorial Scholarship

The Greater St. Louis Mothers of Twins Club offers two $1,000 scholarships to applicants who are multiple-birth students who live in the St. Louis metropolitan area, including Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair Counties. Awards are based on academic achievement, leadership, citizenship, financial need as well as the applicant’s essay and recommendation.

You can learn more about the Greater St. Louis Mothers of Twins Club Mary Jane Wolf Memorial Scholarship here.

30. Italian Catholic Federation First Year Scholarship

The Italian Catholic Federation offers 200 scholarships of $1,000 each to high school students who are Catholic and attend high school in California, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois. Students must demonstrate outstanding scholastic achievement and financial need. They must have been in a leadership role. References from a faculty member and personal colleague must be provided as well as documentation of extracurricular activities and charitable efforts. The student’s family must also be members of the ICF.

You can learn more about the Italian Catholic Federation First Year Scholarship here

31. Kendall-Grundy Community Action Scholarship

The Kendall-Grundy Community Action Services offers scholarships to students who are income eligible and are residents of Kendall or Grundy County. Funds must be used to secure formal or occupational training at an accredited institution in Illinois. The student must be pursuing short-term training of two years or less. Applications may be obtained from high school guidance counselors in the counties where students are eligible.

You can learn more about the Kendall-Grundy Community Action Scholarship here.

32. Leo & Antonia Gershanov Memorial Student Essay Contest

High school students throughout Illinois are eligible to participate in the Leo & Antonia Gershanov Memorial Student Essay Contest. Students must submit an original, persuasive essay, no longer than 2,000 words, defining what constitutes justice and whether they believe justice after genocide is attainable. Students must support their position with examples from the past and judicial proceedings in recent years related to genocide. Only one entry per student is permitted and are evaluated based on originality, content and writing quality. The essay should include works cited page, and at least one resource must be a non-online resource.

You can learn more about the Leo & Antonia Gershanov Memorial Student Essay Contest here.

33. Papa John’s Pizza A Better Slice of Education Scholarship

Papa John’s Pizza offers five $1,000 scholarships to CCSD high school seniors who have a minimum 3.8 GPA and have provided more than 50 hours in community service. Students must provide verification of college enrollment, and funds must be applied toward tuition, fees or other educational expenses. Disbursements are made over two semesters directly to the college or university.

You can learn more about the Papa John’s Pizza A Better Slice of Education Scholarship here

34. Pointe Pest Control

Pointe Pest Control offers a $750 scholarship to four high school seniors or college freshmen from Illinois. The scholarship is based on need but does not exclude achievement awards. The student must have a 3.0 GPA and must provide official transcripts. Students must also provide a student aid report indicating need and are encouraged to submit recommendation letters as well as resumes. Applications must be submitted electronically using the form found on the website. It is a one-time scholarship.

You can learn more about the Pointe Pest Control here

35.  I Matter Scholarship 

The VILLA “I Matter” Scholarship provides tuition assistance in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for those who live in metropolitan regions with a VILLA store. Applicants must be high school seniors and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. They must be accepted into an accredited college or university as well. Applicants must submit high school transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume and answer specific essay prompts.

You can learn more about the I Matter Scholarship here

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