Website visitors please note: ACI does not accept applications for scholarships. Scholarship funds are distributed across ACI’s member institutions and are made available only to students enrolled at these colleges and universities. If you attend (or have been accepted by) one of ACI’s member colleges and universities, contact your campus financial aid officer to inquire about eligibility for an ACI-issued scholarship.

ACI scholarships and funders from the McGraw Foundation Student Emergency Assistance Fund put private higher education within reach of a more diverse student population. The growth in our nation’s college-age population is primarily low-income families. Financing higher education has become a challenge even for middle-income families, therefore ACI scholarships and the McGraw Foundation Student Emergency Assistance Fund are increasingly important to make college affordable for many families. In the 2020-2021 academic year, ACI provided scholarships to member schools that helped 330 students with $581,440 in scholarships, funded by corporations, foundations and individuals. Since 1990, ACI’s Scholarship Program has provided more than $4.4 million in financial aid and emergency financial aid to more than 2,600 students at ACI member colleges and universities across Illinois.

ACI scholarships and funds from the McGraw Foundation Student Emergency Assistance Fund are distributed to member colleges and universities throughout the academic year. Member institution financial aid officers administer the scholarships and emergency assistance funds to eligible students and report back to ACI about the recipients.

ACI scholarships and emergency funding include:

Named Scholarships: Donors may create scholarships that support students who meet specific criteria (for example income or gender) or who are pursuing specific career paths (teaching, nursing, etc.). Scholarships may be given in honor or in 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.

McGraw Foundation Student Emergency Assistance Fund: Thanks to funds provided by the McGraw Foundation, ACI can help meet the needs of students facing unanticipated personal or financial hardship. These students can continue to benefit from a private higher education experience, even if they suffer hardship after enrolling at an ACI member institution. ACI provides member colleges and universities a share of funds from the McGraw Foundation Student Emergency Assistance Fund, which can be awarded by financial aid officers throughout the academic year, whenever students present compelling needs for help with tuition and other education expenses.

NEW! Career Leader Scholarship: The Career Leader Scholarship is available for fall semester 2022 and funded by the Council of Independent Colleges with support from the UPS Foundation and ACI generous donors. The scholarship provides one high achieving senior from each ACI member institution the opportunity to become a career leader on their campus. The career leader is responsible for recruiting at least three classmates to attend ACI’s Fall 2022 Work and Life Skills Boot Camp, Oct. 6, or enroll in ACI’s Career Mentoring Program. Please reach out to your institution’s career service department for more information. All Career Leaders must be selected by Sept. 16.

To arrange for a Named Scholarship, contact April Arnold, ACI executive director at

For more information about ACI-issued scholarships, emergency funding, or the new Career Leader Scholarship, contact Daisy Gomez, director of scholarships and events at


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