HOPE Scholarship

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About

The Helping Others’ Personal Excellence (HOPE) Scholarship is a student-initiated fee that provides funds for students who demonstrate financial need yet do not otherwise qualify for financial aid. Illinois Student Council and I-CAUSE created and implemented this scholarship in 2020. This scholarship fund—a commitment by students, for students—is intended to help alleviate some of the burdens that come with attaining higher education.

The HOPE Scholarship is a coordinated initiative of the following campus entities:

Qualifications

Student applicants must identify as one of the following:

  • Undocumented
  • DACA
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as listed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services. A current listing of eligible countries may be found by clicking here.
  • International from a country experiencing financial strain due to a crisis creating economic instability, political instability, or war. This includes countries having experienced recent natural disasters.
    *If you are from a country not under Temporary Protected Status or experiencing financial strain, you are not eligible to apply.

Who can apply?

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled during the Fall 2023 and/or Spring 2024 semesters are invited to apply. To receive full consideration, complete the HOPE application by the application deadline listed below.

Already received the scholarship for the 2023-2024 academic year? Read below.
**If you already received the scholarship for the 2023-2024 academic year, you are not eligible to re-apply at this time. Please do not submit an application. Should there be additional funding after the second round of scholarships is awarded, the committee will assess additional funding opportunities.**

Illinois RISE Act/Alternative Application

Eligible undergraduate in-state (Illinois) applicants should also complete the Alternative Application (RISE Act) for full consideration. Graduate, out-of-state domestic, and international applicants do not need to complete the Alternative Application. 

The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act allows eligible undocumented students to apply for all forms of state financial aid. The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) provides a way for these qualified students to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, the state's largest need-based grant program for low-income college students. For eligible students, the Alternative Application is also part of the application process for the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program (visit the MTI Scholarship page of this website for more information). 

For more information about the Alternative Application, visit https://www.isac.org/Alternative-Application

Application Deadline

The deadline for the HOPE Scholarship is Monday, January 29, at 11:59 p.m. 
**Given the demand for the scholarship, no exceptions will be made to this deadline.**

Apply Here!

The spring application for the HOPE Scholarship is for the 2023-2024 academic year. If you receive the scholarship, a retroactive award will be applied to the fall 2023 semester financial aid as well as the spring 2024 semester.

Click here to access the application.

Questions?

Contact Alex Suñé, Senior Associate Director for Student Engagement, at sune@illinois.edu.

Question & Answer

How many times can I receive the scholarship as a student?

Students who qualify for the scholarship may receive the award each year they attend the university. The scholarship does not roll over from year to year; therefore, students must re-apply annually.

If you already received the scholarship for the current academic year and the committee has launched a second round of applications, you will not be eligible for another full scholarship. Should additional funds exist after all possibilities to maximize full scholarships for students, the committee will determine how to distribute the remaining funds.

Do I need to re-apply if I received the scholarship last year?

Yes, students interested in receiving the scholarship for the upcoming academic year must submit a new application.

How much is the scholarship award?

The scholarship award can vary from year to year, depending on the total number of qualifying applicants and available funds. The scholarship committee works to maximize the award amount provided to each student.

As an in-state undergraduate student, why should I complete the Illinois RISE Act/Alternative Application?

The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act allows eligible undocumented students to apply for all forms of state financial aid. The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) provides a way for these qualified students to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, the state's largest need-based grant program for low-income college students. For eligible students, the Alternative Application is also part of the application process for the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program (visit the MTI Scholarship page of this website for more information). 

For more information about the Alternative Application, visit https://www.isac.org/Alternative-Application

Graduate, out-of-state domestic, and international applicants do not need to complete the Alternative Application. 

If I am an international student with a hardship, do I qualify?

Only international students from a country experiencing financial strain due to a crisis creating economic instability, political instability, or war qualify for the scholarship. This includes countries having experienced recent natural disasters.

Although hardship can present a financial strain for any student, the HOPE Scholarship is only available for international students who meet the criteria above. 

If I am eligible to submit or have submitted a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid), do I qualify for this scholarship?

The HOPE Scholarship is for students who demonstrate financial need yet do not otherwise qualify for financial aid. Therefore, if you are eligible to submit or have submitted a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid), you do not qualify for the scholarship

How is the scholarship funded by the university?

The HOPE Scholarship is funded through a student-initiated fee. All students at Illinois pay $3.50/semester (fall and spring) to fund the scholarship.