Pictures of two smiling women and names of their scholarships

Spring Scholarship Cycle Now Underway

The application for CFNIL’s Spring Scholarship cycle is now open! CFNIL is the region's largest private scholarship provider, with over 125 unique scholarships totaling over $500,000 to be awarded this year. There are three application cycles (Fall, Winter/Main, and Spring), each with its own application and timeline. Each cycle's application is accessed via CFNIL's online application portal. 

The Spring cycle opened on March 1. This cycle includes four scholarships, accessed via two applications:

  1. Application open March 1 – April 15:
    1. NEW! Ann W. Dooley Advancement Scholarship:  Supporting students with intellectual disabilities pursuing skills that will allow them to live independently.
    2. NEW! Colleen Maher Inspirational Scholarship: Supporting students with intellectual disabilities through opportunities to attend college, develop their skill sets, learn to live independently, and pursue their dreams.
  2. Application open March 1 – May 15:
    1. Diane Thompson-Wells Memorial Scholarship: Supporting current marching members of the Phantom Regiment. 
    2. Richard J. Schnell Memorial Scholarship: Supporting future dental professionals with financial need attending school in Illinois or the Indiana School of Dentistry. 

The Dooley and Maher scholarships are CFNIL’s first scholarships specifically available to people with intellectual disabilities. The application has been designed for accessibility and one-on-one assistance is available for applicants and their supporters. 

All CFNIL scholarships may be applied to the full cost of attendance at US-based, nonprofit institutions. All applications must be submitted through CFNIL’s online application portal. Details about every scholarship and the application process may be found at 

Applications are read and scored by committees of volunteers who use a “blind” review process and make award recommendations to CFNIL’s Board of Trustees. Scholarship recipients and their supporters are invited to a Scholarship Award Night celebration, to be held in 2024 on June 20th. Awards are sent directly to the school the recipient will be attending. Scholarship seekers should visit to learn more and apply. 

CFNIL is pleased to announce the Spring application cycle, which includes two NEW scholarships, is now open! The Ann W. Dooley Advancement Scholarship and the Colleen Maher Inspirational Scholarship are available for students ages 18 - 25 who have an Intellectual Disability and are accessed via ONE application. The 2024 Spring application will be open from March 1 - April 15.
This video provides details about how to set up your scholarship portal account for the first time.