Illinois Promise

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to providing access to quality education for high-achieving students from all backgrounds.

However, current economic circumstances 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 and fees, room and board, and books and supplies. Illinois Promise doesn’t provide funding for summer classes.

Eligibility Criteria

Students must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for Illinois Promise. 

  • You and your parent(s) must be Illinois residents.
  • You must be under the age of 24 and admitted as a new freshman or new transfer student.
  • Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) determined through the FAFSA must equal $0.
  • For the 2017-18 academic year, your family income must be at or below the 2015 federal poverty level, which is determined on an annual basis and adjusted for the size of the family unit. For the 2018-19 academic year, please see the 2016 federal poverty level
  • Your total family assets must be less than $50,000.
  • You must be enrolled in at least 12 hours during fall or spring semesters.

Application Process

To be considered for Illinois Promise, you must submit the FAFSA by March 15 prior to each academic year. There’s no separate Illinois Promise application form; however, once we receive your FAFSA information, we may request and require additional documents to confirm your eligibility criteria.


Illinois Promise will fund the estimated cost of tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies through grants and scholarships and by asking you to work approximately 10 to 12 hours a week. Other expenses aren’t included, nor are the additional costs of special programs such as intercampus enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and study abroad.

Since you can’t begin employment until you arrive on campus, you’re encouraged to bring sufficient funds to buy books, supplies, and any other items necessary to start the semester. To help, the Illini Union Bookstore (IUB) offers Illinois Promise students the option of deferred billing for up to $600 of required textbooks and supplies per semester. This allows you to get your books before classes begin and defer the bill until the week of midterms.

Illinois Promise funding will be provided to eligible students for 4 years of attendance at Illinois if you continue to meet our criteria. Annual renewal of the FAFSA is required, and you must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements. As with the tuition guarantee, the 4 years of eligibility for Illinois Promise begins when you enroll at the university and runs continuously.

Students with an extenuating personal situation or academic reason that requires enrollment in summer classes or enrollment beyond 4 years may petition for funding. Be aware that appeals are only approved in highly exceptional situations. Below are the deadlines for submitting an appeal:

  • Spring 2017 - January 13, 2017
  • Summer 2017 - May 19, 2017
  • Fall 2017 - August 11, 2017
  • Spring 2018 - January 12, 2018
  • Summer 2018 - May 18, 2018

Helpful Links


Contact Information

Sarah Watson
Director, Scholar Support Programs

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