University of Illinois announced a new program called Illinois Commitment.
Per their website, starting with the 2019 incoming class, they will cover tuition and fees for up to four years for all qualified in-state students.
According to the university, to qualify for free tuition students must meet the following requirements:
- They are an Illinois resident (parents listed on FAFSA must also be residents)
- Their family income is $61,000 or less
- Their family’s assets are less than $50,000
- They are admitted as a new freshman or transfer student
- They are under the age of 24
This is a game changer for many high school students from Illinois. University of Illinois is located in Champaign-Urbana and costs about $30,000 a year which includes tuition, books, fees and room and board. What this translates into is free years of tuition for those that qualify.
The Illinois Commitment does not cover room and board though, which is $11,308 a year so keep that in mind.
This is a game changer for many low income students around Illinois who thought their only option was to head to a community college. Of course your student has to be accepted by the University of Illinois to get this great opportunity. U of I has an acceptance rate of 60% so chances are, if you are a pretty good student, you have a really good chance of getting in. U of I also has an exceptional engineering school with only a 7% acceptance rate. Their engineering school is ranked #3 in the United States.
University of Illinois has become less attractive in the past few years for the top students from our state because they are notorious for not giving merit scholarship money. Many residents have gone out of state because of better financial packages from out of state colleges.
“Competition from schools outside of the state with generous scholarship awards appears to be the most significant factor in the decision not to enroll at Illinois,” a university statement said last year. The number of Illinois freshman students enrolling in universities outside the state has jumped 73 percent since 2000, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
Illinois Commitment was created after listening to students about why they were choosing to attend college out of state, said Kevin Pitts, the vice provost for undergraduate education at Illinois.
“In-state students repeatedly told us that cost and the lack of a scholarship were the primary reasons why they decided to decline our offer of admission,” Pitts said. “We are currently investing $90 million in institutional aid to lower the cost of attendance for approximately 43 percent of undergraduate students. Illinois Commitment represents a significant additional investment to encourage the best and brightest students in the state of Illinois to enroll at the flagship campus, regardless of their family income.”
This new program is a breath of fresh air and a tornado of opportunity for students in Illinois.