Illinois Commitment: Four Years, Free Tuition

Note: To view the most up-to-date details and requirements for this program, visit our Illinois Commitment webpage.

As you finish up the first half of the school year, I want to remind you about our Illinois Commitment program. We want all high-achieving students across the state to be able to attend Illinois, regardless of family income—and our four years, free tuition campaign can help!

How do I qualify?

Let’s first dive into the information needed to understand what qualifies a student for Illinois Commitment. This criteria is outlined below:

  • You’re a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • You’re an Illinois resident (parents listed on the FAFSA are also Illinois residents)
  • Your family income is $67,100 or less
  • Your family’s assets are $50,000 or less
  • You’re under the age of 24
  • You’re admitted as a new freshman or transfer student
  • You attended and graduated from an Illinois high school
  • You’re enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program for at least 12 hours during fall or spring semesters

If some of this is confusing and you’re still unsure if you qualify, you can review our frequently asked questions, give our Office of Student Financial Aid a call at 217-333-0100, or talk to your high school guidance counselor.

What steps do I need to take to apply?

If you think you qualify for Illinois Commitment, you should take the following 4 steps:

  1. Apply to Illinois. The deadline is January 5 for freshmen and March 1 for transfers.
  2. Submit your FAFSA. You must submit it by March 15 to be considered for the program.
  3. Check your financial aid status. Award letters are generally available beginning in mid-February.
  4. Enroll at Illinois. You must be admitted to Illinois and can accept your offer of admission any time up until May 1.

If you think you qualify for Illinois Commitment, you may also qualify for an application fee waiver. Feel free to contact us for details.

Is Illinois Commitment renewable?

Absolutely! Illinois Commitment is renewable for a total of 4 years (8 semesters of continuous enrollment) for new freshmen, and for up to 3 years (6 semesters of continuous enrollment) for new transfers, as long as you continue to meet the following criteria:

  • You must submit a FAFSA by March 15 prior to each academic year.
  • You and your parent(s) must continue to be Illinois residents.
  • Your total family income must be $67,100 or less. 
  • Your total family assets must be $50,000 or less. 
  • You must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward your degree.
  • You must be enrolled in at least 12 hours during fall or spring semesters.

What can I do if I don’t qualify?

Don’t worry! Students who submit the FAFSA but don’t meet the Illinois Commitment eligibility criteria will still be considered for other financial aid program funding.

In addition, your application for admission doubles as your application for merit-based scholarships awarded through the university. You don’t need to submit any additional materials to be considered for merit-based scholarships.



Senior Associate Director of Recruitment & Outreach, Undergraduate Admissions
I'm here to help high school students and their families navigate the college search process. An Illinois alumnus (LAS ’02), I had the honor to play football for the Orange and Blue.


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  • Will the university see the financial position of each applicant BEFORE an admission decision is made? In order to avoid any admission shenanigans, has there been a Minimum # of these scholarships committed to by the university?

  • Thanks for reaching out, Jeff. Admissions decisions are in no way tied to financial need. Admissions counselors cannot see financial need when reviewing applications, and students will receive an admission decision before they receive Illinois Commitment. Whoever is admitted and qualifies for Illinois Commitment will receive it; we don’t have a minimum number. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email us or call us at 217-333-0302. We’re here to help!

  • Hi Rosy,
    There are two steps your senior will need to take. The first is to apply to UIUC. Our application for admission is currently open, so they can do this step now. Here’s a link with more information on how to apply: The second step is to submit the FAFSA, which opens on October 1:
    We hope this helps! For more information about Illinois Commitment, you can visit You can also email us or call us at 217-333-0302 with any questions.

  • Hi James, if you email and address that email and any questions you have to Brian H., we’ll make sure that he receives it! Thanks for reaching out, and we’re so excited that your son is interested in UIUC.