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Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

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Ensuring Access to the Illinois Experience

One hundred and forty years ago, our University was founded on a revolutionary idea advanced by President Abraham Lincoln - that higher education should not be reserved for the children of wealthy families. Given an opportunity, men and women of all economic backgrounds could make contributions to society through access to a college education.

This is the Illinois legacy.

At Illinois we are committed to providing opportunities for new generations of young people. We must not lose the talent and creativity of thousands of our youth because they do not have the financial resources to attend college.

Scholarships ensure that exceptional students have access to a high-quality education at the state’s flagship public university, enriching their lives and enabling them to have a positive impact in Illinois, the nation and the world.

The need for financial support of our students is undeniable. In the past few decades the portion of the University budget supported by state appropriations has steadily decreased while the tuitions costs of students have increased. The University of Illinois is not alone; public institutions across the nation are being forced to increase tuition to address rising operating costs and losses in state support.  While the University has increased the amount of dollars available for the neediest students, the gap in unmet need has grown to over $75 million today.

    Learn more about the University's finances here.

The Access Illinois scholarship initiative seeks private support for scholarships. Access Illinois scholarships will benefit students in every college across campus no matter what their course of study.

Paving the Way

With an Illinois education our students are on the road to success. Illinois graduates rank first in the Big Ten in starting and mid-career median salary. A recent Wall Street Journal survey of top corporate recruiters ranked the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the top three universities nationally for recruitment. Why?

“Graduates of top public universities are often among the most prepared and well rounded academically.”

Our own students rate their preparedness highly. The 2010 senior survey shows respondents felt their skills had improved in a number of areas including their ability to problem-solve, use technology effectively, work in groups, and be leaders.

A recent SmartMoney article also rates Illinois high on payback for the cost of a degree.

Ensuring the Future

Scholarships ensure the University of Illinois tradition of excellence in education by maintaining access for students whose family financial backgrounds may not permit them to attend, by keeping a U of I education affordable for middle-income families, and by enhancing our success in competing for the highest achieving students in the state and nation. Scholarships ensure a diverse student population, including socioeconomic, geographic and racial-ethnic diversity – characteristics that are instrumental in achieving the highest quality educational environment for Illinois undergraduates.


To learn more, contact Lori Williamson at 217.244.1206.

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