Paying for college is one of the greatest concerns for many young people and returning students alike. While many students of all ages qualify for some federal financial aid, few receive enough to cover the entire cost of education and are forced to look for other sources of help. That is where scholarships come in. Since scholarships do not have to be repaid, they are essentially free money for college. These scholarships in Illinois can help the state’s residents earn a college degree without worrying about graduating deep in debt. Check out some of these opportunities to help cover the cost of your education:
Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarships
To be eligible for these scholarships, students must be permanent residents of Illinois and be accepted to or planning to enroll in an accredited culinary school, college, or university. Applicants must be taking at least 9 credit hours each term and majoring in a culinary, foodservice-related, or restaurant management program. To apply, students must submit an application along with official transcripts, an essay, and two signed recommendation forms. In addition, students must submit documentation of achievements and honors, a copy of an acceptance letter, verification of work experience, copies of pay stubs, and a letter verifying total work hours by April 29. Applications and further program details are available at www.illinoisrestaurants.org.
Illinois Counties Association Scholarships
These scholarships are valued at $3,000 each and are available to freshman students or those who are master’s level or higher. To be eligible, students must be citizens of the United States and residents of the State of Illinois. In addition, students must continue the complete academic year without interruption, have at least a 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate financial need. To apply for these nonrenewable scholarships, students must submit an application along with a student resume, two letters of recommendation, an endorsement statement from an Illinois County Official, a personal statement, and an essay by May 11. Applications for these scholarships are available at www.illinoiscountiesassociation.org.
Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois
As many as 100 high school and college students are selected each year to become Golden Apple Scholars. Nominees for the program must submit a written application, ACT scores, and transcripts along with completed applications. Applicants chosen as Scholars must earn a bachelor’s degree at a participating Illinois university, obtain Illinois teacher certification, and teach for a minimum of five years in an Illinois state school of need. In addition, Scholars must meet GPA requirements, comply with a code of conduct, and participate in Summer Institutes. Golden Apple Scholars receive up to $2,500 a year for freshman and sophomore years as well as $5,000 per year for junior and senior years. In addition, recipients receive a $2,000 stipend for each Summer Institute and receive advanced teacher preparation. For applications and further information on the program, visit www.goldenapple.org.
Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program
To be eligible for these scholarships, students must be citizens or eligible non-citizens of the United States as well as residents of Illinois. In addition, applicants must comply with Selective Service registration requirements, be minority students, be high school graduates or GED holders, and be enrolled at least half-time as an undergraduate or graduate student. In addition, applicants must be enrolled in or accepted for enrollment in an Illinois college or university to become a certified preschool, elementary, or secondary school teacher. Recipients must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and satisfactory academic progress as determined by your college. To apply, students must submit a completed application along with a Teaching Agreement/Promissory Note, meet college eligibility requirements, and not be in default on any student loans. Applications are due March 1 and can be found at www.asac.org.
Illinois CPA Society Accounting Scholarship Program
The Illinois CPA Society offers scholarships of up to $2,000 to students who show potential to become a CPA and who demonstrate achievement along with financial need. The scholarships cover tuition and fees and may include as much as $500 for books and required materials. To be eligible, students must be non-CPAs enrolled as seniors or graduate students at an Illinois college or university. In addition, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States as well as permanent residents of Illinois with a 3.0 GPA and the intention of sitting for the CPA exam in the state within three years. Applications can be found at www.icpas.org and are due by April 1.
Prospect Heights Dollars for Scholars Academic Scholarship
The Dollars for Scholars program provides six $2,500 one-year scholarships, one $2,500 four-year renewable scholarship, and one $2,500 one-year vocational scholarship each year. Students must be residents of the City of Prospect Heights or the Village of Wheeling who are graduating high school seniors or returning students admitted to a college or university. Recipients are chosen based on academic achievement, financial need, community service and extracurricular involvement, letters of recommendation, and personal essays. Interested students can access and submit the applications between January 21 and April 1 at www.phdollarsforscholars.org.
Edison Park Community Council Scholarship
This $3,000 scholarship is awarded to an Edison Park resident who will be attending a college or trade school in the fall of the award year. To be eligible, applicants must be 21 or younger and a high school graduate, senior in high school, or freshman in college. To apply, students must submit a completed application form along with a copy of driver’s license or other identification, a personal reference, a copy of the college acceptance letter, and a 500-word essay on an assigned topic by February 6. For applications and submission instructions, visit www.edisonpark.com.
Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association Ed Foundation Hospitality Management Scholarship
The purpose of these scholarships is to offer financial assistance to Illinois students who wish to enter a career in the hotel and hospitality industry. Award amounts vary from $1,000 to as much as $5,000 a year. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university hotel or hospitality degree program anywhere in the United States. Alternatively, applicants may be working at least 20 hours in the industry while attending school part-time or may be high school seniors intending to enter a qualifying program in the fall after graduation. In addition, students must be residents of Illinois for at least one year and have at least a 2.5 GPA. To apply, students must submit a typed essay, the scholarship application, and two letters of recommendation by May 1. Scholarship applications are available at www.ihlaef.org.
Regardless of your future career goals or your current circumstances, there are scholarships in Illinois that can help you earn your degree. Apply to these programs early and watch your college funding fall into place.