5 Best Illinois Scholarships

Updated February 4, 2022 | BestCollegeReviews.org Staff

Search Programs

Discover Illinois Best Scholarships

Scholarships for Illinois Universities and Colleges online or in person can unite college students in the "Land of Lincoln" with backing for their American dream. Positioned in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, Illinois is the 25th largest state and ripe with opportunity for its nearly 12.9 million residents. According to Forbes, Illinois ranks 12th nationally for best "Quality of Life." From the hustle and bustle of Chicago to the rural outskirts of Carbondale, Illinoisans can choose from 148 diverse colleges. High-ranking picks include Illinois State University, DePaul University, College of DuPage, Northwestern University, and Southern Illinois University. In fact, the University of Chicago was deemed the third best national college by the U.S. News. Harvest the funds you'll need for post-secondary study in Illinois with these 5 free scholarships.

Finding financial aid is essential to avoid entering the Illinois job market with overwhelming debt. On average, attending Illinois colleges costs $8,556 in-state and $18,515 out-of-state each year. Hefty tuition prices have skyrocketed in the last year by an unprecedented 17.9 percent. Many universities are charging significantly more; for example, the Illinois Institute of Technology presently sets yearly undergraduate tuition at $43,500. Luckily, the "Prairie State" administers millions of dollars to help educate its young adults. These 5 scholarships for Illinois offer an excellent starting point for your financial aid search.

Know of a scholarship available specifically for Illinois students that we missed? Contact us.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

1. Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

Established in 2009, the Anhelo Project offers its Dream Scholarship based on financial need to undergraduates and graduates who are undocumented immigrants. Selected recipients will exhibit academic achievement, community leadership, and perseverance with challenging obstacles. The only stipulation is students must commit 20+ hours paying it forward as Anhelo Project volunteers. Apply before January 13th with two recommendations, a resume, and proof of income.


  • Take at least 12 credits at accredited Illinois institutions
  • Exhibit academic merit with a cumulative GPA above 2.5
  • Hold leadership positions in extra-curricular activities
  • Lack citizenship and be ineligible for federal financial aid

Scholarship Website

2. Alpha Delta Kappa XI Education Scholarship

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) in Rockford has gifted over $85 million in approximately 400 regional funds since 1953, including the Alpha Delta Kappa XI Education Scholarship. Undergraduate and graduate students intending to teach in Illinois classrooms should apply before February 1st. Applications must include a 500-word personal essay describing your qualifications and achievements.


  • Permanently reside in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties
  • Attain at least sophomore standing at accredited Illinois universities
  • Declare elementary, secondary, or special education majors
  • Display leadership skills in school/professional involvement

Scholarship Website

3. Amanda Reed Memorial Scholarship

Another of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois’ (CFNIL) funds is the Amanda Reed Memorial Scholarship, which was named for a Boylan Central Catholic High School track star who died tragically in an abusive relationship. It’s intended for Illinois teens who are actively undertaking service projects that help curtail domestic violence. Applicants need to submit a one-page essay about their project before February 1st.


  • Be graduating from high schools in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties
  • Enroll full-time in accredited post-secondary institutions in Illinois
  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better
  • Exemplify Amanda’s caring nature in school/community leadership

Scholarship Website

4. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Scholarship

Fighting for housing rights since 1980, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) offers renewable $2,500 scholarships each June. Funded by the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, the program is currently helping 20 formerly homeless youth graduate with bachelor’s degrees. Before the April 15th deadline, interested students must submit a transcript, two references, shelter verification, and FAFSA forms.


  • Be college-bound seniors or graduates of Chicago or suburban high schools
  • Have experienced homelessness and received CCH services before age 22
  • Show acceptance into an accredited two or four-year nonprofit college
  • Maintain academic excellence with a minimum weighted GPA of 2.5

Scholarship Website

5. Dan L. Meisinger, Sr. Memorial Learn to Fly Scholarship

Named after the founder of Executive Beechcraft in Kansas City, the Dan L. Meisinger, Sr. Memorial Learn to Fly Scholarship is presented by the National Air Transportation Association. This renewable $2,500 award assists future pilots with affording tuition and fees for initial or primary flight training. Application materials must arrive before November’s last Friday. Recipients are also featured in NATA’sAviation Business Journal.


  • Legally reside in Kansas, Missouri, or Illinois
  • Currently enroll full-time at accredited flight schools
  • Show academic achievement with a minimum “B” average
  • Be recommended by an NATA-member aviation professional

Scholarship Website

Recommended Reading

See all posts