Illinois Student Loans And Financial Aid Programs
Illinois has several private student loan and financial aid programs that can help you pay for college. If you're going to be attending college in Illinois, you need to be looking to take advantage of these programs.
These programs are designed to help make college more affordable - so that you can get the education you need. These programs can include scholarships, grants, and student loans.
Don't forget that there are Federal student loan programs available as well. You can find out more on how to get a Federal student loan here.
There is also a specific order of operations to pay for college that we recommend students follow. These programs specific to the State of Illinois can help you to avoid borrowing more money than you need to.
Illinois Student Loan Programs
Illinois doesn't have any unique student loan programs to help it's students pay for college. However, there are still Federal student loans available to students who attend college in Illinois.
If you're just looking for private student loan options, we recommend:
Illinois Scholarship Programs
Illinois has several scholarships available to students who want to attend school in the state.
Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois
The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program encourages academically talented Illinois students, especially minority students, to pursue teaching careers, especially at high-need, hard-to-staff schools by providing tuition assistance (tuition, fees and room and board or commuter allowance) at one of the participating colleges. You may qualify for up to $2,500 as a freshman or sophomore, and up to $5,000 as a junior or senior.
As part of the application process, you must agree to teach, on a full-time basis, for a period of not less than five years at nonprofit Illinois public, private or parochial preschool, or an Illinois public elementary or secondary school considered a School of Need. You must begin teaching within two years of the completion of your degree or certificate program for which the assistance was awarded. If the teaching commitment is not fulfilled, the award will convert to a loan, which must be repaid, with interest.
Learn more about the Golden Apple Scholars program here.
Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program
If you plan to teach at a nonprofit Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool, elementary school, or secondary school, for which the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has determined that no less than 30 percent of the enrolled students are African American/Black, Hispanic American, Asian American, or Native American; and you are of African American/Black, Hispanic American, Asian American or Native American origin, then you may qualify for up to $5,000 per year as part of the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program.
Learn more about the Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship program.
Nursing Education Scholarship Program
If you are pursuing a certificate in practical nursing, an associates degree in nursing, a hospital-based diploma in nursing or a bachelor’s or graduate degree in nursing and demonstrate the greatest financial need among qualified students, you may be qualified to win the Nursing Education Scholarship.
This scholarship provides financial aid anywhere from one to four years. If awarded, you must begin full- or part-time employment as a licensed practical or registered nurse in Illinois within six months of graduating, and remain employed for a period equivalent to the educational time supported by the scholarship. If you terminate studies, or fail to become employed, you will be required to repay the full scholarship amount, plus seven-percent interest per year.
Learn more about the Nursing Education Scholarship Program.
Illinois Grant Programs
Illinois also has a grant program to provide need based financial aid to Illinois residents.
Grants are one of the best forms of financial aid because, in most circumstances, you don't have to pay the money back.
Monetary Award Program
The Monetary Award Program (MAP) provides grants, which do not need to be repaid, to Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need, based on the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).
You are not required to submit high school grades or test scores when applying for a MAP grant. MAP grants are not limited to traditional college-aged students. If all eligibility requirements are met, adult and non-traditional students (older than recent high school graduates) may also qualify. MAP grants can be applied only toward tuition and mandatory fees.
You can learn more about the Monetary Award Program.
Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program
If you are a member* of the Illinois National Guard, you may be eligible to receive the Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant. This grant can pay for eligible tuition and certain fees (i.e., registration, graduation, general activity, matriculation and term fees) for undergraduate or graduate study.
If you have GI Bill Benefits, you can use benefits under both plans.
Learn more about the Illinois National Guard Grant Program.
Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program
If you have served at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States; or served on federal active duty service in a foreign country during a time of hostilities in that country and were honorably discharged after each period of federal active duty service; and/or are honorably serving you may be eligible for the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program.
Qualified applicants are encouraged to submit an IVG Program application if they anticipate attending college at any point in the future. While program eligibility can be confirmed for qualified applicants at any time, funds will be disbursed only for terms in which you are enrolled at an Illinois public college or community college.
Learn more about the Illinois Veteran Grant here.
Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Fighters
If you are the spouse or child of an Illinois police or fire officer who was killed or became at least 90 percent disabled in the line of duty, you may be eligible for the Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Officers.
This grant provides assistance toward college tuition and mandatory fees* for undergraduate or graduate study at an approved Illinois college. You may receive assistance for a maximum of the equivalent of four academic years (eight semesters or 12 quarters) of full-time enrollment.
Learn more about the Grant Program for Dependents of Police or Fire Fighters.
If you already have student loans and are looking for options as a Illinois resident, check out our Illinois Student Loan Forgiveness Program page. That page has all the different options available to Illinois residents to potentially get some of your student loan debt forgiven.
You might also look at refinancing your student loans and saving money in interest while also potentially lowering your payment. Check out our guide on the Best Places To Refinance Your Student Loans.
If you're looking for ways to save for college in Illinois, check out our Illinois 529 Plan and College Savings Guide.
Finally, check out the other student loan and financial aid programs by state.