Through the program, 53 academic scholarships will be
awarded to current and former youth in care for the upcoming school
year, with four awards reserved for the children of veterans.
Nearly 1,400 current and former youth in care have had an
opportunity to pursue a college degree since the DCFS scholarship
program began in 1971. Scholarship recipients receive up to five
consecutive years of tuition and academic fee waivers to be used at
participating Illinois state community colleges and universities, a
monthly grant of $537 to offset other expenses and a medical card.
“Scholarships reduce the financial burden of a college education and
allow students more time and energy to focus on studies rather than
worrying about their college expenses,” said Illinois DCFS Acting
Director Marc D. Smith. “We want our current and former youth in
care to access higher education that can pave the way to numerous
The DCFS Scholarship Program is open to youth who
have an open DCFS case, whose cases were closed through adoption or
guardianship or who aged out of care at 18 or older. Youth who are
at least 16 years old and not yet 21 on March 31 may apply.
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Scholarship recipients will be selected based on their scholastic
record and aptitude, community and extracurricular activities, three letters of
recommendation from non-relatives and a written statement illustrating their
purpose for higher education. In 2019 the department received 205 application
Applications are available at any DCFS regional office and on the DCFS website:
www2.illinois.gov/dcfs (Form CFS 438 under DCFS Features on the homepage).
Students or caregivers may call the DCFS Office of Education and Transition
Services at 217-557-2689 or 312-814-5959 with questions about the application
process or for more information.
[Illinois Office of Communication and