ACI’s Scholarship Program plays an important role in making private higher education affordable. 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 college-age population is primarily among low-income families, ACI’s Scholarship Program is increasingly important in making college affordable. 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 funds tuition and helps meet 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. 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. ACI Scholarships create a pool of funds allocated among the member colleges and universities each spring, when financial aid officers are designing aid packages for students for the upcoming fall semester. Member institutions administer the scholarship application process and report back to ACI about the recipients. Similarly, all the member colleges and universities receive a share of ACI’s Emergency Financial Aid, a pool of funds provided by the McGraw Foundation and 5th 3rd Bank. Emergency Financial Aid can be awarded by financial aid officers throughout the year, whenever students present compelling needs for help paying tuition and other education expenses.

To arrange for a named scholarship or to add to ACI’s pool of Emergency Financial Aid funds, contact Mick Weltman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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.”