Illinois is home to many students looking for higher education opportunities. With prestigious institutions for those who demonstrate academic achievement as well as larger and more accepting institutions, Illinois offers many different options for college students.
Unfortunately, college costs are rapidly rising, making it difficult for low-income or middle-class students to afford their costs. As a result, many undergraduate students and graduates now rely on student loans to finance their education.
In the US alone, 45 million borrowers are paying off student loans and collectively owe $1.71 trillion. Illinois is no exception, with many students struggling to pay their tuition and other educational expenses without taking out debt. Though student loans allow lower-income students to pursue their goals, they can also be difficult to pay off, especially if one takes out private loans with high interest rates.
Student debt can also make it difficult to pursue other life goals, like buying homes, saving for retirement, starting businesses, or even having children. As a result, it can be critical for students with financial need to seek out financial aid other than loans. This aid can include education scholarship opportunities, federal grants, or aid directly from one's college. Keep reading to find exclusive scholarships for students in Illinois.
Illinois colleges have an average acceptance rate of 58.01%. Illinois has some prestigious and highly selective options like the University of Chicago, with a 7.31% acceptance rate. The University of Chicago ranks sixth out of national universities and has 6,989 current undergraduate students.
Northwestern University is another prestigious college in Illinois, ranking ninth out of national universities with 8,194 undergraduate students.
Students looking for a larger and less competitive college experience can consider schools such as the University of Illinois-Chicago. Students who want a smaller college experience can also find great options in Illinois, such as Eureka College with just 511 undergraduate students.
The graduation rate of Illinois students is 65.18%, with women having a higher graduation rate than men, 67.39%compared to 62.55%.
Illinois colleges have a total of 693,740 students, 411,509 of whom are female as compared to just 282,231 men. 536,769of the college students in Illinois are undergraduates and 156,971 are graduates. Of all college students in Illinois, 350,917take fully online classes and another 149,814 take some online courses. As a result, just 193,009 students in Illinois take fully in-person classes.
340,594 Illinois college students are white but there's also a significant Hispanic population in college, with 133,274Hispanic students. Additionally, there are 83,378 Black students, 51,153 Asian students, and 20,402 mixed-race students in Illinois colleges.
The average cost of living is $14,306 for on-campus students and $13,680 for off-campus students. Tuition for in-state students costs an average of $5,475, resulting in living costs being the highest expense for many students. In-state graduate students pay a higher average tuition rate of $12,394.
Out-of-state students pay an average of $40,868 if living on campus and $40,242 if living off campus. For out-of-state students, tuition alone costs an average of $21,070 for undergraduate students and $19,921 for graduate students.
While 66.72% of undergraduate students receive financial aid, the average aid amount is just $8,578, leaving a high remaining cost.
Illinois students, like other students around the country, struggle to pay the astronomical costs of higher education out of pocket. As a result, 57% of Illinois graduates have student debt and 10% have private student loans. The average student debt in Illinois is $28,552, placing Illinois roughly in the middle of average student debt by state and below the national average of $37,693.
When it comes to applying for scholarships, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Each type of scholarship has different advantages and drawbacks but state-based Scholarships in Illinois can be great opportunities. Since fewer students will be eligible to apply for local scholarships, your chance of winning will be higher!
This $2,775 scholarship was created in memory of Deacon William E. Johnson Sr. and seeks to support low-income BIPOC students. High school seniors and undergraduate students who are studying in Illinois can apply for this scholarship by writing about someone who impacted their education journey and their plans for helping their community.
Three winners will be selected and the scholarship closes on April 26th, so don't wait!
In memory of Tina and Danny Rodriguez, this $523 scholarship will award a high school student in Illinois who is interested in a career in law enforcement, fire safety, EMS, or 911 services.
This $8,000 will support four high school students in Illinois who are interested in pursuing careers in nursing. Eligible students can apply by writing a short essay about their inspiration for pursuing nursing and how they'll help the public through their practice.
State-based scholarships like the ones above are a great way to begin your scholarship search, but there are plenty of other scholarships you should consider. Non-local scholarships that are open to students regardless of location can also be worthwhile opportunities. Narrow scholarships with many eligibility requirements can be especially rewarding since you will be up against less competition!
High school is often less demanding than college, so it can be a great idea to begin searching for college scholarships while still in high school. Any scholarships that you win will be held for you until you begin college, so don't wait to start applying! The following scholarships are a great way to get started.
High school freshmen often don't know that they can start applying for scholarships. Additionally, many freshmen haven't started thinking seriously about college and their financial plans, so many don't bother to apply for scholarships. By applying early, you can give yourself extra time to earn college funding, making it easier to afford college when you finally start. Check out the following scholarships that you can apply for as a high school freshman.
Like freshmen, many high school sophomores don't take the time to apply for scholarships. Junior and senior year are often more busy and stressful, between college visits, college applications, AP classes, and standardized tests. Sophomore year can therefore be an excellent time to apply for scholarships like the ones below.
Though junior year may be busy as you consider your college plan and start working on your applications and on ACT or SAT prep, it can still be worthwhile to apply for scholarships. Some high school scholarships are exclusively open to upperclassmen, so consider taking advantage of those opportunities. You can get started with the following scholarships:
High school seniors can benefit from the many scholarships that are only open to high school senior students. Some undergraduate scholarships are also open to high school students who are graduating seniors, resulting in many opportunities for Illinois residents preparing to attend college.
Current college students, including college freshmen, upperclassmen, and even graduate students can still benefit from scholarships. It can be difficult to attend school if you're not from a wealthy family and federal financial aid often doesn't go far enough in financing students' pursuits of higher education.
These college scholarships will support outstanding students working on undergraduate or graduate degrees. If you're a current college student, consider the following scholarships to reduce your tuition costs at an accredited college or vocational school.
Many graduate students think it's too late to find scholarships. However, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities that are available to those pursuing advanced degrees. Additionally, many students pursuing graduate programs have student loans from their undergraduate years, making them eligible for many debt-reduction scholarships.