Undergraduate Financial AidVarious types of financial aid (grants, scholarships, student loans, work-study, etc.) are available for undergraduate students at Illinois. Aid is awarded on the basis of need, academic merit, or both. Financial aid is administered through the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA). See the undergrad link on the OSFA website for additional information and application deadlines for the required application form, "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" (FAFSA) (Note that no financial aid is available to international undergraduates and F-1 visas allow only very limited employment opportunities.) In addition, numerous awards and scholarships are also presented to continuing students.
Graduate Financial AidOpportunities for merit-based financial aid include fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. In addition, numerous awards are also presented to continuing students.
Financial Aid for Incoming StudentsSince the application form is used both for admission to the Graduate College and as an application for graduate financial aid, all applicants automatically apply for financial aid consideration. Students with acute financial situations should advise the Department by checking the box on the admissions application blank which indicates an inability to enroll without aid. Need alone, however, is not a criterion for dispensing the types of aid under the Department's control. Most aid is awarded on the basis of academic achievement or the ability to perform a specific job. An award of financial aid for the first semester/year is not a guarantee of aid for the semester/year thereafter.
University Fellowships include a full tuition waver and a partial fee waiver and are allocated through a complex campus competition system. The Department normally nominates a candidate and an alternate. An extremely high GPA (e.g. above 3.85) and outstanding references are required. A Fellow is also expected to perform teaching or research duties for a part, but not all, of his or her stipend.
Graduate College Fellowships provide a stipend plus a full tuition water, and a partial fee waiver. They are awarded to under-represented minority students who show potential for success in graduate study, but who, because of deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation, are not ready to serve as assistants or to compete successfully for awards based on academic achievement. These are also awarded in an all-University competition for which the Department may nominate a limited number. Reference letters are particularly important. These provide funding for the first year of study only.
Teaching, Graduate, and Research Assistantships provide full tuition waivers, partial fee waivers, and a salary in exchange for work. Assistantships are employment contracts between a student and the Department, and are awarded on the basis of the applicant's ability to perform the expected assignment. They are usually awarded on a one-semester basis. Continuing students receive priority although a limited number of assistantships may go to new students with exceptionally suitable backgrounds for the work to be done. Teaching, Graduate, and Research Assistantship availability varies from semester to semester and are usually awarded for one term only. Possibilities for continuation of an assistantship are contingent upon performance and the availability of funds. Assistantships for an entire academic year are awarded in some cases where the assignment requires personnel continuity.
Financial Aid for Continuing StudentsAward of financial support for a given semester or year does not imply continued support. It is Department policy to distribute financial support as widely as possible. In general the Department places higher priority on financial assistance for students within their expected length in the program than for those beyond.
Continuing progress towards the degree, full-time enrollment, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 are prerequisites for financial support. Additional factors such as outstanding performances not reflected in the GPA, the number of DFR grades or dropped courses, and appraisals by instructors are also considered.
Other Forms of Aid are brought to the attention of the Department from time to time. Information about these is distributed by e-mail. Students are also encouraged to apply for aid and assistantship opportunities elsewhere in the University. A variety of special scholarships, fellowships, and grants are available to students who fit specific criteria (a particular ethnic background, a female who has had a significant interruption in her education, etc.). Students should visit the web page of the University's Financial Aid office to view the requirements for these.