student smiling and wearing a UIUC hat on the Quad in front of Foellinger Auditorium

How to Get Free Tuition: Illinois Commitment at UIUC

Picture it: You wake up. The sun is shining. You stretch, sit down at your computer, and register for a semester of college courses. Maybe some biochemistry, maybe a geography class with a little dressage 101 mixed in to keep things interesting. How much will this semester of learning, new experiences, and horse-dancing cost you? Nothing. That’s right: it’s free college tuition. No, you’re not dreaming, and no, you haven’t suddenly woken up in Sweden. 

Thanks to Illinois Commitment, nearly one-third of UIUC students will have the cost of tuition and campus fees fully covered by their financial aid package. The only downside? Dressage 101 is not, unfortunately, a real UIUC class. 

What is Illinois Commitment?

If you’ve been trying to discover how to get free tuition, Illinois Commitment could be your answer. Illinois Commitment is a UIUC financial aid program designed to help make school affordable for as many UIUC students as possible. Through scholarships and grants, Illinois Commitment can offer free college tuition to students who qualify for the program. 


The future looks bright for this graduate as he takes a peek at Grainger Bob’s guidebook to the future

Who qualifies for Illinois Commitment?

In order to qualify, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
  • An Illinois resident (this means your parents, as listed on the FAFSA, must also be Illinois residents)
  • A graduate of an Illinois high school 
  • From a family with a total family income of $67,100 or less, with less than $50,000 in family assets
  • An incoming first-year or transfer student 
  • Under age 24 (But don’t worry if you’re pushing 25, or even 95: students age 24 and over can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis)
  • Enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program for at least 12 hours during fall or spring semesters

What costs are covered by Illinois Commitment?

Through Illinois Commitment, the cost of tuition and all your campus fees will be covered. This includes fees that other state and private awards, like the Federal Pell Grant or the State of Illinois MAP program, may not cover completely. For a more detailed list of what is and isn’t covered, check out our FAQ.

How do I apply for Illinois Commitment?

If you meet all of the qualifications for Illinois Commitment, here are your next steps:

  1. Apply to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. First things first! Check our dates and deadlines page to make sure you are applying on time.
  2. Submit your FAFSA. Filling out the FAFSA your senior year gives us the information we need to determine your eligibility for Illinois Commitment as well as other financial aid opportunities. 
  3. Check your financial aid status. If you’re admitted to UIUC, you can expect to hear back from us regarding financial aid soon afterward. Our dates and deadlines page can help give you an estimate of when that will be. 

If you think you qualify for Illinois Commitment, you may also qualify for an application fee waiver, which means saving even more money during the application process. Feel free to contact us for details.


graduate in regalia with her arms up in the air rejoicing

How long does Illinois Commitment last?

Illinois Commitment is renewable for a total of 4 years (8 semesters of continuous enrollment) for new first-years, and for up to 3 years (6 semesters of continuous enrollment) for new transfers, as long as you continue to meet the Illinois Commitment qualifications throughout your time with us.

What are my options if I don’t qualify for Illinois Commitment?

Just because you don’t qualify for Illinois Commitment doesn’t mean you’re on your own! Students who submit the FAFSA but don’t meet the Illinois Commitment eligibility criteria will still be considered for other financial aid program funding.

As a bonus, 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. Just keep doing what you do!

This blog post hasn’t answered all my questions!

Well, no blog post is perfect (but you at least know how to get free tuition now, right?). Fortunately, there are plenty of other resources that can provide you with all the information you need to know about Illinois Commitment, including an FAQ, our official page on the subject complete with YouTube video, and a convenient contact form specifically made for Illinois Commitment questions. 

We want you to have access to all the tools available so that you can receive an exceptional (and affordable) college experience. 

UIUC Admissions

UIUC Admissions

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