Fortunately, there are many different grants, scholarships, loans, and other funding sources available to students in Chicago and Illinois.
In 1957, state lawmakers created the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to "ensure that financial considerations did not prevent Illinois students from realizing their postsecondary educational goals." This group oversees many of the state and federal financial aid programs available to students attending school in Chicago and other parts of the state.
Each year ISAC awards millions of dollars to qualified applicants. According to information gathered in a report by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, Illinois ranked third in the nation both in terms of the total amount of need-based grant aid provided to undergraduates and the average amount provided per full-time undergraduate student.
One of the state's most common grant programs is ISAC's need-based Monetary Award Program (MAP). MAP is the second largest program of its kind in the country. Other popular forms of scholarships and grants include:
- Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program
- Illinois Future Teacher Corps (IFTC) Program
- General Assemby Scholarship
- Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver Program
- Merit Recognition Scholarship (MRS) Program
- Medical Student Scholarship Program
- Nursing Education Scholarship Program
- Allied Health Care Professional Scholarship Program
Lori Reimers, an ISAC staff person, pointed out that a student must maintain a permanent residence in Illinois for at least one year before being considered a resident and becoming eligible for state financial aid. Because state-funded financial aid comes from taxpayer monies, this policy is typical across the country. However, Reimers explained that this does not mean that students from other states cannot access affordable education in the Chicago area.
"While our resources are intended for state residents, many colleges have reciprocity agreements that allow students from nearby states to qualify for resident tuition rates," Reimers emphasized.And in addition to federal aid, out-state students may qualify for other types of funding, including special monies that certain schools and high demand program areas have available to help recruit students from around the globe.