Since 1990, ACI’s Scholarship Program has distributed more than $7 million in financial support to more than 3,000 undergraduate students at ACI member colleges and universities throughout Illinois. Because the growth in our nation’s population of 18-24-year-olds is primarily among low-income families, the need for ACI’s Scholarship Program becomes more critical with each passing year. ACI member institutions are leading the way in welcoming low-income students and supporting their determination to earn college degrees. Since 2000, our private, mission-driven institutions have collectively increased enrollment of Pell Grant-eligible students – students who qualify for federal financial assistance -- by 32%.

ACI’s Scholarship and Emergency Financial Aid Program provides scholarships that fund tuition, as well as emergency financial aid that meets varying financial needs of students facing unanticipated personal or financial hardship. The goal is to enable all undergraduate students – especially those from low-to-moderate income families -- to benefit from the distinct advantages of private higher education, even if they suffer reversals of fortune once they are enrolled at an ACI institution. 

ACI’s Scholarship & Emergency Financial Aid Program is donor-driven, allowing funders to target support to students who meet specific criteria or who are pursuing specific career paths. Funded by foundations, corporations, and individuals, ACI scholarships may be given in honor or memory of a loved one or colleague; they may be given annually or endowed in perpetuity; and they may be designated as one-year or multi-year awards.

Scholarship Applications. ACI accepts applications for and distributes scholarships twice each year: fall and spring. By September 30 (fall) and by January 31 (spring), ACI determines the size of the award pool available for distribution to students enrolled at ACI’s 22 member institutions. All applicants complete an online application and write an essay describing their goals. Applications are evaluated for each student’s GPA, extent of unmet financial need, extracurricular activities, and leadership skills. Essays are critiqued both for technical merit and content. Scholarships are awarded to students with the highest scores. Funds are distributed twice each year (January and June) and are credited directly to winning students’ tuition accounts at ACI member colleges and universities.

Emergency Financial Aid Applications. ACI-McGraw Emergency Financial Assistance can be awarded throughout the year, whenever students present compelling needs. Applicants must complete the online application and submit essays that define the specific emergencies that impacted their ability to pay tuition and other expenses.

Contact Jerry Fuller for more information about providing a named scholarship for ACI college students. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (312) 263-2391 Ext. 523.



ACI Success Story

"I have never been more focused on my studies, and my future goals have never been clearer."

When Jonathan began his studies at Elmhurst College, he was still a little unsure about choosing a major and what his career path would be. In time, Jonathan decided on a physical education major, with a goal of becoming a recreation administrator. But family circumstances nearly spelled the end of his college career. His father died, and his mother, a retired educator, was having trouble making ends meet.

ACI’s Scholarship Program made the difference for Jonathan. With help from an ACI scholarship, Jonathan was able to remain in school and pursue his goals.  “With my dad’s passing, I have never been more focused on my studies, and my future goals have never been clearer,” says Jonathan, now a senior at Elmhurst. “In fulfilling my goals for the future, I hope to make everyone proud who helped me reach them.”