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Chicago Difference Scholars

Illinois Tech is proud to launch The Chicago Difference—a community transformation and scholarship initiative designed to provide wraparound support for talented young people from underrepresented backgrounds across Chicago. The Chicago Difference has been co-created with the Chicago community and is designed to build the economic engine of our tech workforce that will fast forward our city as a global leader of diversity in technology.

Illinois Tech pledges to cover 100 percent of Chicago Difference scholarship recipients’ tuition, mandatory fees, room, and board for four years of full-time undergraduate study—five years for architecture students—after subtracting the student's Expected Contributions (EFC), federal and state grants and any existing Illinois Tech institutional scholarships. Students who receive the Chicago Difference scholarship will be notified by email and receive additional information in their financial aid offer regarding the scholarship. Learn more.

Next Steps for Chicago Difference Scholars

A key part of the Chicago Difference initiative is the wraparound support provided to you during your time at Illinois Tech. We are invested in your success   and want to make your college experience as seamless as possible. In order to do this, we ask that all Chicago Difference scholars complete the following checklist requirements as part of the scholarship program.

  1. Connect with your Illinois Tech Admission Counselor (Armando Bocanegra,
  2. Schedule a virtual appointment with financial aid.
  3. Confirm enrollment and sign agreement form by May 1


  4. Fulfill summer math course requirements (see Summer Math Course Requirement section below)
    1. Complete ALEKS Math Placement Exam (by June 15)
    2. If required, enroll and complete summer session of MATH 147/148 (June 26–August 5)
  5. Attend Chicago Difference Summer Orientation and SOAR (June 20–23)
  6. Attend Welcome Week and Chicago Difference events (August 14–18)

Receipt of The Chicago Difference scholarship is contingent upon the verification of information submitted in your FAFSA. This process will be completed within one to two weeks. Once we complete the aid verification process, you will receive your completed financial aid offer, which will include The Chicago Difference scholarship and your total cost of attendance.

If you have any questions about your scholarship or financial aid offer, please make an appointment with our Office of Financial Aid.


Part of the wraparound services and support offered to Chicago Difference scholars includes additional college math preparation to ensure  our scholars will excel in the classroom.
Students who are enrolled in an engineering, computing, or science major and have not completed calculus will be required to take a six-week college algebra (MATH 147) or college pre-calculus (MATH 148) summer course from June 26–August 5 to help prepare them for the math requirements in their major. 
You may be exempt from this requirement if you meet one of the requirements below:

  • You have completed high school or college-level calculus
  • You pass the ALEKS Math Placement exam with a score of 80 or above
  • You are enrolled in one of the following majors: architecture, behavioral health and wellness, business administration, communication, digital humanities, game design and experiential media, humanities, marketing analytics, industrial technology and management, information technology and management, psychological science, or social and economic development policy

To maintain scholarship eligibility once you enroll at Illinois Tech, you must:

  • Remain in good academic standing each semester (good academic standing is defined as an overall 2.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and 1.8 term GPA)
  • Maintain full-time status by enrolling in at least 12 credit hours of course work each fall and spring semester (Students are responsible for ensuring that there are no holds prohibiting term from registering for courses. The most common holds are related to billing and accounting, student health requirements, or not participating in mandatory Title IX training)
  • Abide by the Student Code of Conduct 
  • Meet with student success coach on a biweekly basis
  • Meet with financial aid adviser once per semester
  • Attend at least three tutoring sessions for challenging coursework
  • Attend at least three Chicago Difference initiative engagement events per semester
  • Agree to participate in the peer mentorship program Students who do not follow the above requirements will be at risk for losing their scholarship.

Students who do not follow the above requirements will be at risk for losing their scholarship.

Chicago Difference SOAR: New Student Orientation

SOAR on June 20 to June 23, 2023 is mandatory event for Chicago Difference students. During this event you will have an opportunity to meet classmates on campus and become familiar with:

  • Academic requirements and expectations 
  • Resources that will assist you in succeeding academically and socially at Illinois Tech 
  • How to navigate the technology services that you will use throughout your experience at Illinois Tech 
  • Meet with faculty, staff, and student leaders on campus


Tuesday, June 20th

  • Welcome & Move-In: 9am-11am, Kacek Hall
  • Lunch: 11am-12pm, Herman Hall Ballroom
  • DEF Training: 12pm-4pm, Herman Hall
  • Rest Hour: 4pm-5pm, Rest Hour
  • Scholar Tailgate: 5pm-6pm, Herman Hall
    • **6pm walk over to Guaranteed Rate Field**
  • White Sox Evening Activity: 7pm-9pm
    • **Rest for Day 2!**

Wednesday, June 21st

  • Continental Breakfast: 8:30am- 9am, Herman Hall
  • DEF Training: 9am-1pm, Herman Hall
  • Lunch: 1pm-2pm, Herman Hall
  • Student Support Sessions: 2pm-3pm, Herman Hall

Thursday, June 22nd 

Friday, June 23rd



  • The university is closed on Monday, June 19th, 2023 in observance of Juneteenth
  • Expect Road Closures in Loop Due to NASCAR Race