Ascend Chicago

Illinois Tech Ascend is an exciting option for students who are interested in earning their bachelor’s degree at Illinois Tech and are looking for a cost-effective way to start their college experience.

Illinois Tech Ascend Scholars are talented students who have proven potential and resilience. Our Ascend Scholars program is designed to tap into that potential and give you the opportunity to kickstart your studies at both Illinois Tech and a designated Ascend partner during your first year at college. You’ll then seamlessly transition to studying at Illinois Tech full-time to complete your bachelor’s degree program.

While enrolled in the first year of this program, Ascend Scholars have access to:

  • Ascend mentors at a 1 to 15 mentor to student ratio
  • Academic and career coaching services
  • Illinois Tech courses at a special rate of $100 per credit hour (approximately $300 per course)
  • A guaranteed scholarship of $25,000 annually upon successful completion of the first year and seamless transition to full-time status at Illinois Tech
  • Access to Illinois Tech student facilities (including student tutoring, labs, and libraries) and campus life experiences throughout the year
  • Housing on Illinois Tech’s beautiful campus

NOTE: Ascend Chicago students are required to take all their courses in-person through City Colleges of Chicago. Students who are interested in online courses should consider enrolling in Ascend Online instead.

Eligibility Requirements

  • This opportunity is available only to graduating high school seniors. They must submit an application for first-year admission to be considered for the Ascend program.
  • Eligible students will be offered direct admission to Illinois Tech or the Illinois Tech Ascend program. Those who are offered direct admission to Illinois Tech may choose to participate in the Ascend program.
  • Eligible students must declare their intent to participate in the Ascend program by June 1 prior to the start of the fall term.
  • Ascend Scholars must meet the following requirements at the end of their first year to continue their studies as a full time degree-seeking student at Illinois Tech:
    • Meet with their Illinois Tech admission counselor once per semester to plan coursework at the partner institution
    • Obtain an overall 3.0 GPA in their studies at Illinois Tech and the partner institution
    • Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours during the summer, fall, and spring terms of their first year
    • Achieve grades of B or higher in Illinois Tech courses and any science, technology, and math coursework required by major at a partner institution
    • Submit an official transcript at the end of each semester of the Ascend scholar year

Partner Institutions

City Colleges of Chicago Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

For students who intend to complete their first two years or to earn an associate’s degree from a community college, we recommend participating in our Guaranteed Admission Partnerships and applying as a transfer student when you’re ready to join us at Illinois Tech full time.

Ascend Scholars are not required to live on campus. On-campus accommodations are an optional benefit so that students can easily utilize Illinois Tech resources during their year in Ascend.

Ascend Scholars will live in a dedicated community within McCormick Student Village. We will offer housing scholarships ranging from $5,000 to full housing. Students who live on campus will be required to pay for a meal plan.

Illinois Tech scholarships can be used only for Illinois Tech courses while you are enrolled in the university as a full-time student. During your Ascend year, you may apply for federal and state financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and, if eligible, may apply any federal aid received to your courses at the community college.

No; Ascend students will receive an Illinois Tech merit tuition scholarship of $25,000 per year upon completion of their Ascend year if they continue their full-time studies at Illinois Tech. You will not be able to apply any previously awarded scholarships toward your Illinois Tech tuition.

If you are interested in attending a different institution, please contact our admissions team at to discuss your options. Students who enroll at a different four-year institution are not eligible for Ascend.