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Illinois Promise                          Watch the Illinois Promise Video

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to providing access to quality education for high achieving students from all backgrounds. Current economic circumstances, however, threaten the affordability of higher education, particularly for students from the lowest income levels. With the shift of primary funding for state universities from state support to tuition, the need to maintain access to higher education is particularly pressing. Illinois Promise began in Fall 2005 to ensure the affordability of higher education for students from the lowest income levels. Illinois Promise assures eligible recipients sufficient grant and scholarship funds in combination with a minimal employment expectation to cover their estimated cost of tuition, fees, room and board, and books and supplies. Illinois Promise does not provide funding for summer classes.

Eligibility Criteria

Illinois Promise students must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Parent(s) and student must be Illinois residents.
  • Student must be under the age of 24 and admitted as a new freshman or new transfer student.
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) determined through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must equal $0.
  • Family income must be at or below the federal poverty level.
  • Total family assets must be less than $50,000.
  • Enrolled at least 12 hours during fall or spring semesters.

The federal poverty level is determined on an annual basis, and adjusted for the size of the family unit.

Application Process

To be considered for Illinois Promise, students must submit the FAFSA by March 15 prior to each academic year. There is no separate Illinois Promise application form; however, once the FAFSA information is received at the University, additional documents may be requested and required to confirm the eligibility criteria.

Cost of Attendance and Assistance

Illinois Promise will fund the estimated cost of tuition, fees, room and board, and books and supplies, through grants and scholarships and by working approximately 10-12 hours a week. Since students cannot begin employment until they arrive on campus, they are encouraged to bring sufficient funds to buy books, supplies, and any other items necessary to start the semester. Other expenses are not included in Illinois Promise, nor are the costs of special programs such as aviation flight fees, intercampus enrollment, concurrent enrollment and study abroad. See our cost section for more information on specific costs.

Because you are unable to begin working until you arrive on campus, the University realizes you may not have funds immediately available for purchasing text books and supplies at the beginning of the semester.  To help, the Illini Union Bookstore (IUB) is offering Illinois Promise students the option of deferred billing for up to $600 of required text books and supplies per semester.  This option allows you to get your books before classes begin and defer the bill until the week of midterms.  Review the Illini Union Bookstore (IUB) Deferred Billing Option for Illinois Promise Students for additional information. 

Illinois Promise funding will be provided to eligible students for four years of attendance at Illinois if criteria continue to be met.  Annual renewal of the FAFSA is required and students must remain in good academic standing (i.e., eligible to continue studies at the University of Illinois). As with the tuition guarantee, the four years of eligibility for Illinois Promise begins when a student enrolls at the University and runs continuously.

Students with an extenuating personal situation or academic reason that requires enrollment in summer classes or enrollment beyond four years may petition for funding. Please be aware that appeals will only be approved in highly exceptional situations. The deadline for submitting an appeal for Summer 2014 is May 23, 2014, Fall 2014 is August 15, 2014, Spring 2015 is January 16, 2015 and Summer 2015 is May 22, 2015. The appeal forms are available in the forms section of this website.

To Contribute to Illinois Promise

Illinois Annual Fund

Useful Links

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Office of the Registrar
Chancellor Herman's Dec. 2004 Illinois Promise news conference
Illinois Promise Annual Report - 2008
Illinois Promise Annual Report - 2009
Illinois Promise Annual Report - 2010
Illinois Promise Annual Report - 2011
Illinois Promise Annual Report - 2012
Illinois Promise Annual Report - 2013
Illinois Promise Annual Report - 2014


Contact Information

Office of Student Financial Aid
620 E. John St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Susan Gershenfeld
Director, Illinois Promise Student Services
Office of the Provost