Illinois Institute of Technology is proud to launch The Chicago Difference scholarship for incoming first-year students who demonstrate significant financial need, with a focus on students graduating from high schools on the South and West side neighborhoods of Chicago. Under this initiative, Chicago Difference scholars will be able to attend college debt-free. 

Illinois Tech pledges to cover 100 percent of Chicago Difference scholarship recipients’ tuition, fees, room, and board for four years of full-time undergraduate study—five years for architecture students—after applying federal and state grants and any existing Illinois Tech institutional scholarships.

In addition to financial support, the scholarship provides students with a full range of wraparound support services throughout their entire journey with Illinois Tech. This includes:

  • Academic advising and enrichment
  • Career services and coaching
  • On-campus housing and community programming
  • Health and wellness services
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Community affairs and campus life

Under The Chicago Difference initiative, Illinois Tech also offers pre-college opportunities to increase college access, which is open to students across the city. We provide support through early STEM education and bridge programs, community partnerships, and mentorship. Through our partnerships with high schools in Chicago’s South and West side neighborhoods, we strive to connect students with resources to help them prepare for a successful college education.

Application Timeline

January 15 Last day to submit your completed Illinois Tech application through the Common App and to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using Illinois Tech’s FAFSA code: 001691
March 1 Scholarship recipients will be notified
May 1 Decision deadline to accept The Chicago Difference scholarship and to confirm enrollment to Illinois Tech

Eligibility Requirements

No separate scholarship application is required. Students who meet the criteria below will be considered for The Chicago Difference scholarship.

  • Have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average upon applying to Illinois Institute of Technology and be admitted as a first-year student to Illinois Tech 
  • Maintain good academic standing while attending Illinois Tech
  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Graduate from a high school located in the city of Chicago (with a focus on students from neighborhoods on the South and West sides)
  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year and complete the verification process with the Office of Financial Aid
  • Demonstrate significant financial need based on FAFSA and Pell Grant eligibility 
  • Be eligible for federal work study and fulfill requirements as outlined by The Chicago Difference initiative

The Chicago Difference scholarship covers costs for the bachelor’s degree program only. If a student chooses to pursue an accelerated master’s degree (co-terminal) at Illinois Tech, they can apply their original Heald Scholarship award toward their tuition for graduate-level courses at the undergraduate tuition rate.