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Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Access Illinois

In June 2011, the University launched Access Illinois, a campus-wide initiative to address the pressing need of general scholarship support to attract and retain students during these challenging economics times. Access Illinois is a top priority for campus fundraisers to help close a $75 million gap in unmet need. In 2010, for the first time, tuition dollars exceeded state dollars, with the state contributing 80 cents for every tuition dollar. In 1980, 48% of the operating budget was state supported, today it accounts for only 15%. In addition to the declining dollars coming from the state, tuition continues to rise. In-state tuition and fees have tripled in the last decade from a base average of $4,770 in 2000 to $13,508 this year. The total cost of attending Illinois for a year, including tuition, fees, room & board, books and supplies ranged from $27,000 to $32,000. Illinois is the third most expensive university in the Big Ten and third most expensive public university in the nation.

The goal of Access Illinois is to increase private support of scholarship dollars that the university, colleges and departments can use to attract and retain students. We are losing excellent students to peer and lesser schools because of the financial aid packages the other schools are able to offer students early in the admissions process and throughout their 4 years of schooling. In a survey of students who declined to enroll at Illinois, 30% responded that their decision was based on the fact that they were offered an entrance scholarship by another school. The average amount of unmet need for a prospective student to select Illinois is $6,000.

The need for unrestricted scholarship support is not a new for the University, but the $75 million annual gap in unmet funding needs has a much greater impact in the current state of the economic environment. The University has always had a need for scholarship funds and has done a great job with Illinois Promise and other initiatives of providing financial support to high achieving students from the lower income brackets. This annual gap of unmet need will help provide financial assistance to the students who fall into the mid-range income brackets and where an additional $6,000 of aid plays a large role in the decision of where to enroll in the fall.

For more information on Access Illinois