CFNIL Opens Scholarship Application

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) will open its scholarship application on Friday, December 1. CFNIL has 84 unique scholarships that will award more than $225,000 to local students this year. The application period will close at 5 p.m. on February 1, 2018.

All of CFNIL’s scholarship endowments were created by individuals or organizations that recognize the importance of helping students achieve their educational goals, now and in perpetuity. The endowments’ creators selected the criteria for each scholarship, based on their interests and the community’s need.

Scholarships are for graduating high school seniors and college students in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties, as well as for non-traditional students; students with financial need; student athletes; students of color; and students pursuing careers in teaching, STEM, business, fire science, and healthcare. Some scholarships are renewable for up to four years. The diversity of scholarship offerings reflects the diversity of CFNIL’s donors and the communities it serves.

“The Community Foundation is honored to serve as the steward of scholarship endowments that fulfill the charitable intent of our donors and create a permanent reservoir of opportunity for our students,” said CFNIL President Jon Bates.

Applications are read and scored by committees of volunteers who use a “blind” review process. The scholarship committees then make recommendations to CFNIL’s Board of Trustees. Scholarship recipients are announced in late April. Awards are sent directly to the college or university the recipient will be attending. Interested students should visit to learn more.

All scholarship applications must be submitted through CFNIL’s Web Portal. Once registered for the Web Portal, students answer questions about their academics, background, and extracurricular activities. From these answers, applicants will be automatically matched to all scholarships for which they are eligible. Last year, the average applicant was eligible for more than 3 scholarships. Most scholarships award between $500 and $2,500, but a few award significantly more. For example, the Howard D. Colman Scholarship awards up to $32,500 over four years for students pursuing careers in engineering, computer science, applied science or a comparable technology field.  The Howard D. Colman Scholarship was named after the Rockford inventor and entrepreneur, who registered 149 patents and co-founded the Barber-Colman Company. The scholarship was established by Colman’s daughter, Ruth Colman Tower.

Students interested in applying should attend the Community Scholarship Fair on Tuesday, December 5th from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mendelssohn Hall (406 N. Main Street in Rockford). Representatives from CFNIL, Rock Valley College Foundation, Rockford Public Library, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission will explain how to find and apply for local scholarships and how to navigate the federal financial aid process. The Community Scholarship Fair is free and open to the public. Students who plan on applying for CFNIL scholarships are encouraged, but not required to attend.