Financial Aid/Scholarships

UHS Scholarship Information

FREE Scholarship Searches

Parkland / U of I Financial Aid Offices

State and Federal Student Aid Programs

Writing a Scholarship Essay

Minority (Black, Latino), Undocumented, International, and Special Populations Opportunities

Financial Aid/College Cost Estimators and Calculators

College Illinois! and Bright Start-- State of Illinois College Programs

Scholarship Scams

UHS Scholarship Information

    Urbana High School Guidance Office publishes a listing of available scholarships. This listing is produced using the various scholarship opportunities for which we receive information. Listings include criteria, award amount, and application deadline. Most scholarship applications are available on line from the group/organziation offering the scholarship; some have pdf or Word documents that we post on this site, and others must be picked up in the UHS Guidance Office. Scholarship information is presented to student through the daily bulletin and posts on our socia media sites. Counselor Marc Solodky is responsible for compiling this scholarship information.
  • Organizations wishing to notify UHS of schoarship opportunities should contact counselor Marc Solodky at

  • Our Facebook page will frequently have additional info on scholarships. Follow us on Twitter at @UHSCounselor
  • We have an ISAC Student Corps financial aid expert in our office and available to help with FAFSA every Wednesday morning. Hannah Driscoll can be reached at or students/parents can sign up on the list in the Counseling Office.

2016-17 Scholarship Bulletins: (pdf)

2015-16 Scholarship Bulletins: (pdf)

If you wonder what has been offered in the past years (to know what might be coming later this year), check our Scholarships From Past Years.

  • Parkland College lists tons of scholarships for students headed in their direction. Check out Parkland Scholarships on their site. Their Board of Trustees Scholarhship is free tuition for the top 10% of the graduating class! Also check the Academic Opportunity Scholarship!

  • University of Illinois also has a plethora of scholarships they award. Search their Scholarship Database by program or by scholarship name.

HELP!! How do we go about paying for college?

  • Fin Aid! is a top-quality link to many financial aid related sites, ranging from institutions to government programs to scholarship scam alerts. This really is an excellent site for anyone looking for money to go to school. It is an excellent starting point for information.

  • There are a number of ways to cut college costs. These are listed on the ISAC site. There are other similar listings around the Internet.

  • Illinois Dream Act: An Undocumented Student's Guide to College in Illinois (2015) is availale HERE. (31-page pdf booklet)

  • "Guide to Financial Aid 2017" is a fantastic 13-page document that covers pretty much all you'd get in a good financial aid program. It was put together by the director of the [Illinois] Academy for College Admission Counseling and the Associate VP for Financial Aid at an Illinois private college.

FAFSA, State and Federal Student Aid Programs

  • FAFSA on the Web is the U.S. Dept. of Education's site for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A FSA ID (Federal Student Aid Identification Number) is needed to complete the online version, and this should be acquired before you actually sit down to do the FAFSA on the Web. A PDF version of hte FAFSA is available for download, but submtting online is the preferred, fastest, and easier method.FAFSA opens on October 1 and you should file as soon as possible. We recommend filing by Nov. 1, but the important thing is that you file before your student enters college. FAFSA now uses your "prior-prior"year's taxes. Families filing this year will use their tax information from 2015 that was submitted to the IRS by April of 2016. The FAFSA site has a worksheet that may be downloaded in order to make it easier to complete the online form. STUDENTS PLANNING TO ENTER COLLEGE IN THE FALL OF 2017 NEED THE 2017-2018 FAFSA! (These links should open in new windows.) UHS has an expert available to help you with your FAFSA on Wednesday mornings. See Counseling for details or see info at top of this page.

  • This is a very helpful US Dept of Education blog entry on "11 Common FAFSA Mistakes." (We've heard of all of them. Read before filing.)

  • The U.S. Department of Education's comprehensive resource site on student financial aid. It has TONS OF INFO. View, download, or print information, view videos on topics such as how to complete the FAFSA, find links to more info on grants, loans, and work-study, and much more. (This link should open in a new window.)

  • ISAC Student Portal, the site of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), will hook you into their programs and an abundance of resources. This site is focused on Illinois students and as such it is the only site with a financial aid calculator that estimates eligibility for the State of Illinois' MAP Grant.

    Parkland / U of I Financial Aid Offices, additional information

  • Visit the Office of Financial Aid at Parkland College or Office of Student Financial Aid at the University of Illinois. If you're planning to attend one of these schools, these offices will probably be pretty important to you. Their sites have lots of resources for everyone.

  • Juniors (and their parents) looking for an early start on the FAFSA process can take advantage of FAFSA4caster. This web site allows high school juniors to learn about the financial aid process, gaining early awareness of aid eligibility, and much more. (This link may open in a new window.)

  • The US Dept. of Education has several helpful sites for information targeted to parents of preschoolers through adult students. The site also has a section regarding International Students.When you apply for aid, you'll need Title IV Schools Codes for the college code numbers. Another government site which gives information on monetary awards in return for volunteer service is AmeriCorps (also listed in more detail on our "Options . . " page).

  • Compare Financial Aid Awards/College Costs with this great side-by-side comparison tool from Illinois Student Assistance Commission!

Tax Breaks for Higher Education

  • Have you heard about the Tax Breaks for Higher Education, such as the American Opportunity (formerly "HOPE") Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credits? The University of Illinois Extension service has a good site which is a guide to the variety of tax breaks available to make higher education more affordable. It is written in very understandable terms. This is a good resource, particularly for those middle-income taxpayer families who may have some college savings and/or find that the only breaks they'll get on tuition are those coming from a reduction in taxes.

    Maximizing Aid Eligibility

  •, has a section answering the questions parents frequently ask about maximizing aid eligibility.

CSS Profile Online

  • CSS Profile Online is the online completion site for the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®. This form is sometimes requested by private colleges and universities in order to get a more complete view of a student's financial need situation. A product of the College Board, there is a fee for completing this form. A credit card and a secure browser are needed for online completion.

Minority, International, and Special Populations Opportunities

Hispanic and Undocumented Students

  • "Resources for Non-U.S. Citizens" is a site from Illinois Student Assistance Commission. It has a number of links to resources.

  • A Tuition Equity Map of the US shows how different states treat undocumented students in regard to college admission. Some states ban undocumented students, some charge out of state tuition, and some admit undocumented students as residents. (Illinois admits students as residents and has some limited scholarship opportunities.)

  • Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has "An Undocumented Student's Guide to College in Illinois." This is an incredible resource for undocumented students and their families. They have an updated a guide to available scholarships for immigrant students, too.

  • The Illinois Dream Fund provides scholarships for undocumented students. This is an exciting new opportunity for undocumented students who are not eligible for scholarships that require US citizenship.

  • Eastern Illinois University has a nice listing of scholarships for undocumented student scholarship resources.

  • College Greenlight, a site dedicated to underrepresented and first generation college students, has a section of Scholarships for the Undocumented Student.

  • Generation Progress's site also has a very nice long list of more scholarships for undocumented students. Definately worth checking out!

  • The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has a very good Undergraduate Scholarship Resource Guide. This guide includes many private scholarships that are available to students regardless of immigration status. This organization is from California, so there are some scholarships listed that would not be available to non-California students. The site in general is full of good information for Latinos.

  • The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has an online scholarship application system. Many scholarship and the criteria for each are listed.

  • The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is another gateway to potential funding for Hispanic students. This is a very nice site, listing scholarships for students who are presently seniors in high school as well as many for students who are already in college.

  • The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute has its own scholarship program, as well as a national directory of scholarships for Latino youth.

    Minority Students in General
  • The Gates Millennium Scholars Program promotes academic excellence and to provides an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential. This program targets African-American, Hispanic American, American Indian/Alaska Native and Asian Pacific Islander American students with high academic and leadership promise who have a significant financial need. The career areas of education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, and the sciences are the focus of these scholarships.
  • Eastern Illinois University has a nice listing of scholarships for minority student scholarship resources.

    African American Students
  • Black Excel has a very extensive site with links to HBCU's and lot of information for minority students. They have a link called Black Excel's 200+ Scholarship List and it lists a number of national scholarships, scholarship searches, etc. One of their links is their 345 Minority Scholarships Gateway which is a downloadable spreadsheet of many minority scholarship programs. Many of these are NOT limited to minority students.

  • The Thurgood Marshall Fund awards merit-based scholarships to students attending one of 45 historically black public colleges and universities. In Illinois, Chicago State University awards Thurgood Marshall Funds. Awards are made by the institution after the student has been accepted.

  • The UNCF (United Negro College Fund) has a nice searchable database of scholarship opportunities for African-American students. From their main page, click on "For Students" and then select "Scholarships" from the drop-down menu.

    Other "Special Groups"
  • International students can find a good information about studying in the USA at eduPASS, the SmartStudent Guide to Studying in the US.

  • Are you: Female? Disabled? LGBT? Undocumented? Jewish? Cancer Survivor? International? Athlete? The FinAid site's section on "Other Types of Aid" has an extensive listing of scholarships and other aid available based on the student being a member of some special, "focused" population. These special pops include groups based on gender (women LGBT), service (volunteer, gov't service), nationality, intended major, athletics, religion , etc. This also lists additional means of making the task of paying for college a little less painful (installment payment plans, tax credits, and so on).

Financial Aid/College Cost Estimators and Calculators

Several organizations offer parents and students the tools to estimate their college costs, the expected family contribution (EFC) and capacity for debt. We provide links to a few of these, and all are free and anonymous.

  • ISAC has a state and federal aid estimator which calculates what you might be eligible for from both sources. This is an excellent place to start if you are an Illinois resident and plan to attend an Illinois school. This is the only web-based calculator that will calculate for the MAP Grant. MAP is an Illinois program for Illinois students and is based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

  • FinAid: The Financial Aid Information Page provides custom calculators which can help you figure out how much school will cost, how much you need to save, and how much aid you'll need. This page has lots of good information.


    FREE Scholarship Searches
    NOTE: These sites are all free, though they do have sponsors/advertisers who may get user information for marketing purposes. Sites usually state what their policy on this is and may give the user a choice of releasing their information or keeping it private. Consider opting out of their receiving communications from the sites's "partner companies." While each site offers similar information, they are each unique and results will vary. A student who is serious about finding as many scholarship sources as possible would be wise to register with several of these. DO NOT pay private companies to do this searching for you when you can do it here for free! Results are emailed to the student. If the student has no email account, one can be easily established through such sites as Google/Gmail (, Hotmail (, Yahoo! (, and others. Students should also be sure to check for scholarship information in the school guidance office.

    At no cost, these sites do searches similar to those done by private search companies' offerings that cost from $10 to hundreds of dollars. Remember: You don't pay money to get money! Beware of offers that sound "too good to be true." These may be scams. See our scam info at the bottom of this page.

    • Sallie Mae's Scholarhip Search is part of their "toolbox" of resources. Registration is required. They do not share your info with third parties. The "Scholarship Search" button is on the right. They have a good parent resource section.

    • fastWEB should be a sure stop on your search for financial aid. This is the "most famous" of the free scholarship search sites. They do share some information with advertisers. Consider how you answer the questions related to that fact.

    • GoodCall is another database of scholarship information. Lots of info. You can create an account, but they promise not to use your info for marketing purposes and will never sell info to third parties. Check it out.

    • International Scholarships is a commercial resource for students wishing to study abroad.

Search a Scholarship Database Based on College Major
    • Search for scholarships by college major. Click on your intended field of study and get a list of scholarships. This can be a helpful way to look for money. Of course, many of the scholarships are school-specific monies. This link will open in a new window.

College Illinois! and Bright Start-- State of Illinois College Programs

  • The State of Illinois has two programs for helping families plan for college expenses. These and other Section 529 plans are explained and linked on our "Planning for College" page. Even if a student is almost ready for or already in college, it's worth a visit to this page.

Scholarship Scams

  • "Is this a scam?" We get frequent calls from parents wondering if the scholarship search service that sent them mailings is "for real." Consumers should be very skeptical of these services, as they are usually not worth the money. (This is especially true with all the free Internet searches available and the resources such as those listed on this page.) The Federal Trade Commission's Scholarship Scam site targets the fee-based scholarship search services. Not only does it give the typical things to look for as signs of a rip-off, but it also lists companies which have engaged in these practices in the past and frequently change names or addresses. It's a very user-friendly site.

  • Fin Aid! is a top-quality link to many financial aid related sites, ranging from institutions to government programs to scholarship scam alerts. This really is an excellent site for anyone looking for money to go to school.

How do I write a scholarship essay?

  • A site offering guidance on essays is Their site offers step-by-step advice. FinAid! Essay help is similar, with more good advice.

  • Many scholarships require applicants to write an essay. Do you need help on that? Check Best Essays Help. This is a non-commercial site dedicated to helping scholarship applicants and has a lot of good information.

  • is a site similar to the one above. Again, it is non-commercial which means they're not trying to get you to pay for any of their advice or services.

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Last Updated: Thu, May 18, 2017 10:12 PM

Urbana High School (
1002 South Race Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801
217-384-3505 | fax 217-384-3532