Illinois DCFS offers college
scholarships to current and former youth in care
DCFS Scholarship Program applications
accepted until March 31
Send a link to a friend
[February 03, 2021]
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is
currently accepting applications for the 2021 DCFS Scholarship
Program. 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.
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 $1,235 to offset other expenses and a medical card. On average,
the department receives 200 application packets each year, and has
awarded over 1,400 scholarships since the program began in 1971.
“It is imperative that every youth in our care has the tools they
need to succeed,” said Illinois DCFS Acting Director Marc D. Smith.
“These scholarships give our youth the ability to concentrate on
their studies and prepare for their futures without the stress of
worrying about how they are going to pay for school.”
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.
“The information I received from the DCFS Scholarship Program about
buying books, school contacts and job opportunities made my
transition to college life much easier,” said Maya, a 2020
scholarship recipient. “I am very grateful to have been selected as
a recipient of the scholarship award. With this scholarship I don’t
have to worry about trying to manage a lot of work hours and my
school schedule. The scholarship allows me to focus on my classes
and study time and has made me more financially responsible. I
review my expenses, pay my bills on time and balance my monthly
[to top of second column]
Scholarship recipients are 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. Due to pandemic-related limited availability of
ACT and SAT testing sites, ACT and SAT test scores will not be considered for
any applicants in the 2021 selection process.
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 with questions about the application process or for
About the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Founded in
1964, DCFS is responsible for protecting children from abuse or neglect by
responding to calls received on the Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-25-ABUSE
(1-800-252-2873). With the goal of keeping children safe, DCFS strengthens and
supports families with a wide range of services. When keeping a child safe means
removing them from the home, DCFS makes every effort to reunite them with their
family. When the best interest of the child makes this impossible, DCFS is
committed to pursuing adoption by loving families to provide children with a
safe and permanent home. DCFS is also responsible for licensing and monitoring
of all Illinois child welfare agencies.
[Illinois Office of Communication and