For students from families without a ton of financial resources, planning for college can involve lots of uncertainty. Finding a school that is affordable is sometimes the difference between going to college and not pursuing higher education at all. So, how does The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a land-grant public university committed to serving the people of Illinois, make tuition affordable for as many students as possible?
Enter: Illinois Commitment.
On August 27, Illinois announced an exciting new financial aid program with the following slogan: “Four Years. Free Tuition. That’s #IllinoisCommitment.”
In the past, Illinois has offered fairly generous aid to students without much in the way of financial resources, but we have never seen a program quite like this before. Illinois Commitment provides scholarships and grants to cover the cost of tuition as long as the student meets the following requirements:
- You’re an Illinois resident (parents listed on the FAFSA are also Illinois residents)
- Your family income is $61,000 or less
- Your family’s assets are less than $50,000
- You’re admitted as a new freshman or transfer student
- You’re under the age of 24
For more information about the specifics of these requirements, there is information available on the Admissions website.
Going to college is a big deal because what you choose to do in your late teens and early twenties is a big deal. I recently listened to a TED talk called “Why 30 is not the new 20” by Meg Jay. Her key message can be summed up in this quote:
“Claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative, things you can do for work, for love, for your happiness, maybe even for the world … We know that the brain caps off its second and last growth spurt in your 20s as it rewires itself for adulthood, which means that whatever it is you want to change about yourself, now is the time to change it.”
And, “change it” you will as you enter college. I already experience the world in a completely different way than I did before coming to college, and I have only been here for a little over a year. If Illinois Commitment is the difference between a student attending college and not attending college, then Illinois Commitment is a big deal. In my experience, college will change your life for the better. I am so glad that Illinois Commitment exists because it gives students without a ton of resources the chance to get a world-class education.