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Illinois has scholarships and grants to suit just about every type of student. However, what you will notice is that if you are a nurse, medical student or teacher, there are a number of attractive incentive programs designed to keep you studying and working within the state.

General Scholarships and Grants

  • The Illinois General Assembly Scholarship is available through your state representative or senator. Each region has its own various criteria, but it is definitely worth the time to investigate.
  • The Merit Recognition Scholarship is a merit-based program designed to reward the most academically talented students. The number of recipients is dependent on current state funding, but awards are typically in the amount of $1000. This is a one time only scholarship. It may be used at any of the Illinois state colleges or universities, or at any of the four United States military academies: Coast Guard, Air Force, Naval, or Military. There is no formal application for this program; participation in a high school standardized exam qualifies for consideration.
  • MIA/POW Scholarships program offers qualified children of POWs or service men and women MIA, disabled, killed or wounded in action full tuition scholarships at any Illinois state college or university. See also: national military scholarships.
  • Honors-level high school seniors should be aware of the federally funded Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships. Awarded to outstanding students nationwide, these familiar awards help defray the tuition costs at colleges and universities anywhere in the United States. Students must be Illinois residents, fall into the top tier in their class, have earned top scores on ACT/SAT tests and possess outstanding leadership characteristics. Final decisions are left up to a board of professional educators. Students must already have been accepted into a college or university program and no military academy is permitted. The $1500 awards may be renewed for an additional 3 years.
  • The Illinois Dollars for Scholars organization specializes in partnering wealthy donors and sponsoring corporations with state chapters and high schools. The goal of the program is to offer students auxiliary scholarship options at a local level and access to more college funding. Check out your local chapter’s available scholarships for more information.

Specialized Scholarships and Grants

The state of Illinois, by virtue of the number of scholarships it offers for specialized students, is proactive in dealing with occupational shortages, such as nurses, medical personnel and teachers. In the recent past both these areas have been emphasized as high-priority and students in Illinois will be pleasantly surprised at the options for loan repayment and scholarships for nurses, medical students and teachers:

  • Minority students – Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American – studying education or teaching, may qualify for the Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program . If you are attending a state college or university and studying preschool or K-12 teaching, you may receive up to $5000 per academic year. Recipients must be willing to maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 and agree to work in a teaching capacity in the State of Illinois for a pre-determined amount of time.
  • The Illinois Future Teachers Corps Program (aka the David DeBoit Teacher Shortage Scholarship Program) is designed to directly address the critical shortages of teachers within underserved areas of Illinois. Any Illinois teaching student attending a state college or university may be eligible. You must prove both financial need and the ability and drive to excel academically. Recipients of tuition scholarships- up to $10,000 per academic year – must be willing to teach in Illinois in underserved areas or in a subject that lacks teachers, such as science or math, for a pre-determined amount of time.
  • Not only are there shortages of general studies teachers, but special education teachers are in short supply as well. Are you a teaching student studying special education in Illinois? The Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver pretty much dispenses with tuition for special education teaching students at any state college or university who are willing to commit to teach their discipline in the state of Illinois for a pre-determined amount of time after graduation.
  • The Golden Apple Scholars Program recruits the brightest students who may be interested in pursuing teaching and education. Sponsored by the Golden Apple Foundation this program is dedicated to guiding and shaping future inner-city teachers. To these ends the organization is looking for diverse and talented students to teach in primary and secondary public schools within Chicago. High school students get preference for this program. Awards are full tuition at any state college or university in exchange for at least a 5 year commitment to teach in Illinois. See also: national teaching scholarships.

Not only are teachers in short supply, but nurses, physicians and health care professionals are all in high demand in what are often termed medically underserved areas. In a state such as Illinois there may be such facilities in poverty-stricken urban areas, or in remote rural areas:

  • The Nursing Education Scholarship program provides tuition funding assistance to nursing students with a proven financial need. Students must be attending a state college or university program. In exchange for full tuition, a qualified applicant must agree to practice nursing in a medically underserved facility in Illinois for a specified amount of time after graduation.
  • Effectively addressing the need for physicians, the Medical Student Scholarship Program provides a scholarship that covers full tuition plus expenses at any of the state colleges or universities. Students must agree to practice medicine in a rural, underserved area of Illinois for a specified amount of time following graduation. See also: national medical scholarships.
  • Are you studying to be a midwife, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant? The Allied Health Care Professional Scholarship Program may cover the cost of your education. All these healthcare professionals are in high demand in underserved areas of the state. In return for scholarship awards in the amount of full tuition plus expenses, program recipients must agree to practice within the state of Illinois at a designated facility for a specified amount of time following graduation.
  • Recent reports have shown that not only are practical nurses in critical shortage, but the true root of the nursing shortage may lie in education and administrative areas. The Nurse Educator Scholarship Program focuses on offsetting the imbalance by offering tuition incentives to graduate level nurses studying in an education discipline. Qualified applicants must be academically motivated and talented. Students must be enrolled in a state college or university program. The scholarship may award up to $10,000 plus expenses per academic year to the right candidates. However, recipients must be willing to work as nurse educators within the state of Illinois for a specified amount of time following graduation. See also: national nursing scholarships.