The University of Illinois Springfield is launching the Prairie Promise, a new four-year financial aid program for Illinois residents that will fully cover the cost of tuition and fees for first-time, first-year undergraduate students enrolled full time in on-campus degree programs starting in Fall 2024.
The Prairie Promise will use a combination of MAP grant awards, UIS scholarships and awards and AIM HIGH grant funds to cover the cost of tuition and fees. To qualify, students must be eligible to receive MAP grant funding, which requires a demonstration of financial need.
“The Prairie Promise will allow more Illinois students to obtain a college degree without worrying about the cost,” said UIS Chancellor Janet Gooch. “It will not only expand access to education but also help to close the achievement gap for many students from diverse backgrounds.”
The program will not rely on federal Pell Grant funding. Any Pell grants or other forms of gift aid awarded may be used toward other educational-related expenses such as living expenses, books, supplies and equipment.
“There are a lot of factors involved with paying for college beyond just tuition and fees,” said Vickie Cook, UIS vice chancellor for enrollment and retention management. “The Prairie Promise will maximize our ability to provide access to higher education for students by covering the cost of tuition and fees, without eliminating a student’s ability to take advantage of other financial assistance.”
Students will be eligible for the Prairie Promise as long as all renewal criteria are met for up to four years of continuous, full-time enrollment, or when they have earned their first bachelor's degree.
In order to be considered for the Prairie Promise, students must be admitted, accept admission and submit the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid by May 1, 2024. Students can apply on the UIS website by the Common Application.