Welcome to Illinois Promise!

Each year, over 300 intellectually curious and academically talented new students become recipients of the I-Promise award.  If you are one of our newest scholars, please carefully review the steps below.  These tips and suggestions, developed by the team in Scholar Support Programs, will help you start strong on your Illinois Promise journey and connect you with the community of support that awaits you.

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Financial aid can be confusing!  Be sure to read all the messages you receive from the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) and thoroughly review the I-Promise eligibility and renewal criteria to better understand how your award package works. If you have questions or concerns, contact OSFA directly at 217-333-0100 or finaid@illinois.edu.

The combination of awards offered with each Illinois Promise aid package is designed to support living expenses up to $12,494 for the 2021-2022 school year. This amount is calculated based on the cost of standard, double occupancy space with air conditioning and 10 Classic Meal/45 Café Credits per week. If your housing and meal plan selections exceed the amount above, you may find yourself with less funding available for other necessities and/or out-of-pocket expenses. Contact the Housing Information Office at 217-333-7111 or housing@illinois.edu if you are uncertain, have questions, or want to make housing or meal plan changes. Click here for our housing guide.

When you visit with an academic advisor during New Student Registration, you will choose your first semester of classes.  Be sure to mention that you’re an I-Promise Scholar whose scholarship eligibility is limited to 4 years and Fall and Spring terms only.  This can be an important factor in academic planning because summer classes or additional semesters would likely require you to do some unique financial planning. Remember, all I-Promise Scholars are required to take 12 credit hours or more per semester. 

As you get closer to the start of your first semester on campus, you’ll probably be thinking about the textbooks and school supplies you’ll be needing. You may purchase these items anywhere you like, but keep in mind that I-Promise has an arrangement with the Illini Union Bookstore which allows you to charge up to $600 in books at the start of each semester and pay your balance before a specific deadline at mid-semester.  This is especially helpful for students who, at the start of the term, don’t have the money to cover books just yet and plan to use their wages from (for example) a part-time Federal Work Study position to cover this expense.  Read more here about the Pay-It-Later option.

If you are offered and accept the Federal Work Study (FWS) opportunity as part of the I-Promise package, keep an eye on the Virtual Job Board to find available campus positions.  While I-Promise Scholars are not required to work a FWS job, those who do can earn bi-weekly income to help cover living and incidental expenses throughout the academic term.  

In order to receive your financial aid refund or student employment earnings, you must be enrolled in Direct Deposit. If you have questions or concerns about Direct Deposit, contact University Student Financial Services & Cashier Operations (USFSCO) at 217-333-2180 or usfscohelp@illinois.edu

Be sure to take the necessary next steps. Log in to UI-Integrate. Accept the loan on your Electronic Award letter, complete entrance counseling, and complete the Master Promissory Note.  These steps are necessary in order for you to receive those funds. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid if you have questions 217.333.0100

All new I-Promise Scholars must attend a required orientation to learn more about the program. Due to the size of our incoming class and current space restrictions, our Fall 2021 New Scholar Orientation will take place virtually on Sunday, August 22nd, with an in-person event immediately following. Watch your Illinois email in late July for the official announcement, agenda, and instructions.  We're excited to meet you!!

As an I-Promise Scholar, you will be working with a Promise Coach who is there to guide, encourage, and help get you connected throughout your time on campus and beyond.  Promise Coaches are assigned based on the first letter of your last name.  Be sure to reach out to your Promise Coach on a regular basis!  Learn more about your Promise Coach at https://ipromise.illinois.edu/our-team