How to Register and Apply for CFNIL Scholarships
Unless otherwise noted on the individual scholarship page, CFNIL uses an online application system. CFNIL migrated to a new scholarship application system in 2019. If you have not applied via the new system, you will need to create a new account in the new system. Learn how to register for the new scholarship application portal, complete the CFNIL scholarship application, and navigate your Applicant Dashboard, in the videos below.
Additional Tips for CFNIL Scholarship Applicants
Reference Questions for Specific Scholarships
Below you can view an infographic describing the CFNIL Scholarship Reference Process. (Click to view larger!)
Sign up for CFNIL Text Updates to get scholarship updates, deadlines, and tips!
Viewing this on a smartphone? Click the correct link below, a text message with a pre-populated message will open, then send the text!
Or, follow the following instructions from your phone:
Counselors, text the word "COUNSEL" to 844-498-5447
Parents, text the word "PARENT" to 844-498-5447
Students, text the word "SCHOLAR" to 844-498-5447
The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois believes in the transformative power of education. That is why we work with donors to create endowed scholarship funds benefiting local students. Since 2000, CFNIL has awarded over $3,300,000 to local students pursuing post-secondary education.
View the names of past scholarship recipients by clicking the links below.
CFNIL Scholarship Program FAQs
Yes! Many of our scholarships apply to students with a high school diploma OR a GED. For scholarships with a GPA requirement, CFNIL uses the following equivalent GED test scores:
Required GPA 2.5 or lower: GED score of 145 or higher on all four tests.
Required GPA 2.5 – 3.5: GED score of 165 or higher on all four tests.
Required GPA 3.5 or above: GED score of 175 or higher on all four tests.
The following scholarships are open to students who have a GED:
No! One application, one deadline. You will, however, need to submit an additional essay for each scholarship you indicate you’re applying for in the application.
Most scholarship funds offer varying award amounts, most of which range from $500 to $10,000 depending on the size of the particular fund, the number of qualified applicants, the renewability of the scholarship, and the directions given by the donor(s) of the funds. However, our application process is competitive and not all applicants will receive a scholarship award.
CFNIL has a variety of scholarships. Some are available based on academic achievement and financial need, but many are available based on what high school you attended, your future area of study, or extracurricular activities. We encourage you to dive into our list of scholarships to see what scholarships you are eligible for.
The intent is to award scholarships to students who are or will be attending college full-time.
CFNIL appoints volunteers working in committees to review the scholarship applications. All applications are reviewed anonymously. The committees make recommendations for scholarship awards based on the purpose and specific criteria of each scholarship as established by its donor(s).
No. The last point at which you can make changes to your application is when you are matched up with the scholarship(s) for which your previous answers indicated you are eligible.
You will be notified via letter or e-mail by May 1 regarding your application status.
Scholarship awards are paid directly to the academic institution by the end of July.
What are the basic eligibility criteria?
Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria defined by the donor when the fund is established. However, most scholarships have the following criteria:
- Applicants must reside within Boone, Ogle, Stephenson or Winnebago County.
- Applicants must be seeking an undergraduate degree (AA, BA, BS, etc.) or certification. Graduate students are only eligible when specified by the donor.
- Any scholarships awarded are paid directly to the recipient’s chosen school. Schools must be:
- Accredited institutions
- Private non-profit or publicly supported institutions
Additional Scholarship Resources
There is a new, local one-stop source for all things scholarships in our region! Check out Scholarships Northern Illinois (Scholarshipsni.com) to access information about dozens of other scholarships specifically for students in northern Illinois, as well as a wealth of additional scholarships and financial aid resources.
There are many, many resources available to help local students get to college and beyond. We highly recommend that students investigate these resources in concert with CFNIL’s Scholarships.