Collens Scholars Program

Illinois Tech established the Collens Scholarship—now part of The Chicago Difference, an Illinois Tech initiative—to benefit Chicago Public Schools and charter high school students across Chicago entering Illinois Tech. 

The Collens Scholars come to Illinois Tech from public and charter high schools across Chicago, bringing greater knowledge and understanding of the communities around them. They are some of the strongest and most dedicated students in the city and on our campus.

Scholarship Benefits

  • Full-tuition and fee scholarship, renewable annually. This scholarship covers tuition and fee increases each year.
  • Housing scholarship of up to $5,000. It is competitive and offered to students who demonstrate a high standard of academic excellence, social service, and a desire to pursue a high-quality educational experience.
  • Participation in the Exelon Summer Institute (ESI). ESI is a required, four-week residential summer program focused on experiential learning and peer mentorship that allows students to get ahead start on their college careers. 
  • In addition to financial support, the scholarship provides students with a full range of support and services throughout their entire journey with Illinois Tech—including middle and high school STEM education and mentorship, admissions and supported transition from high school and city colleges, and career placement and development. Further services while a student address key academic readiness and enrichment, as well as financial, safety, community, and belonging elements.

How to Apply

  • Complete and submit an application for regular admission through the Common Application by January 15.
  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by January 15, using Illinois Tech's FAFSA code: 001691.

Application Timeline

January 15 Last day to submit your completed Illinois Tech application through the Common App and submit your FAFSA
March Scholarship recipients will be notified 
May 1 Decision deadline to accept the Collens Scholarship and confirm enrollment to Illinois Tech

Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduate from a Chicago public/charter high school; transfer students are not eligible.
  • Demonstrate significant financial need with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, or be Pell Grant eligible through the FAFSA.
  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident.
  • Complete verification process with the Office of Financial Aid.

All majors are open to receive the Collens Scholarship. Most Collens Scholars have ACT scores that range from a 23–30, have an average weighted grade-point average of a 3.9, or rank in the top 10 percent of their class.

PLEASE NOTE: The Collens Scholarship cannot be combined with other Illinois Tech merit scholarships such as Elevate, Heald, FIRST Robotics, VEX Robotics, Duchossois, Crown, Leadership Academy, Chicago Police and Fire, Camras, and more. If a student earns multiple Illinois Tech merit scholarships throughout the admission process, the university will award the highest merit award for which the student is qualified but will not combine multiple awards.

The Collens Scholarship covers costs for the bachelor's degree program only. If a student chooses to pursue an accelerated master's degree at Illinois Tech, they can apply their original Heald Scholarship award towards their tuition for graduate-level courses at the undergraduate tuition rate.