If you're interested in entering the military, are currently serving, or have completed your service, the information on this page is intended to help you learn more about the education benefits and resources that may be available to you. Be sure to research both state and federal programs to find the resources that best match your military experience and educational goals. Additionally, you’ll find links to other resources that may be helpful to you as you pursue your educational goals.
Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant Program – Covers tuition and certain fees at Illinois public institutions for active members of the Illinois National Guard who meet program eligibility criteria.
Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program – Covers tuition and mandatory fees at Illinois public institutions for veterans who meet program eligibility criteria.
State of Illinois Programs
Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs (IDVA) – General information and diverse resources for Illinois veterans
- MIA/POW Scholarship – For dependents of veterans who are either Missing In Action, a Prisoner of War, died while on active duty, 100% disabled due to service connected disabilities, or died as a result of a service connected disabilities
- Educational Opportunities Grant for Children of Veterans – Financial aid provided to each child, between the ages of 10 and 18 years, of a veteran who died or became totally disabled as a result of service in the Armed Forces during World War I, or II, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts (beginning February 1, 1955), the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.
- Veteran Service Officers – Available to help veterans navigate the many benefits and services benefits available to them. These officers are experts on federal, state, and local veteran resources.
Illinois Joining Forces – Provides information on statewide services and support for service members, veterans, and their families.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs – Information and resources for all veterans on the GI Bill, health care, and disability support.
- VA Crisis Hot Line – 1-800-273-8255 or www.veteranscrisisline.net/ Available 24/7.
- GI Bill Benefits – Learn about the GI Bill benefits that can help you pay for college, graduate school, and training programs.
U.S. Department of Education – Provides information and access for all levels of education.
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid – Apply for federal student aid programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Aid for Military Families – A compilation of financial aid resources and information for service members and their families.
- Student loan repayment, forgiveness, cancellation and discharges – Information on managing student loans and qualifying for programs to help eliminate student loan debt
Other Military-Connected Resources
Military OneSource – Offers practical information and resources for pursuing education goals, and also provides a wide range of support and confidential services to Department of Defense service members and immediate family members.
Illinois Veterans Assistance Commissions (VACs) – Access these local resources in your county that provide services to veterans and their families and can help with benefit claims, advocacy, financial assistance and legal resources.
Illinois Postsecondary Institutions
Most colleges have a resource page on their website specifically for military-connected students and families. Below are links to resource pages for the public universities in Illinois, followed by resources to learn more about all postsecondary institutions in the state.
Illinois Public Universities
- Chicago State University – csu.edu/veteransaffairs/
- Eastern Illinois University – eiu.edu/veterans/
- Governors State University – govst.edu/vrc/
- Illinois State University veterans.illinoisstate.edu/financial_aid/
- Northeastern Illinois University – admissions.neiu.edu/veterans-services
- Northern Illinois University – niu.edu/military-veteran/index.shtml
- Eickhoff Family Veterans Scholarship – Provides emergency relief, scholarship support and/or support for living expenses for full-time veteran students seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree at NIU
- Southern Illinois University-Carbondale – veterans.siu.edu/financial-info.php
- Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville – siue.edu/military/
- University of Illinois-Chicago – dos.uic.edu/student-veterans-affairs/
- University of Illinois-Champaign – osfa.illinois.edu/veteran-education-benefits/
- University of Illinois-Springfield – uis.edu/veterans/
- Western Illinois University – http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/veterans/
Tools for Researching Illinois Colleges
- Map of Higher Education Institutions in Illinois
- Program Inventory Search – Learn about programs offered at Illinois institutions
- Illinois Career Information System – Includes tools for finding, choosing and comparing colleges in Illinois
- Illinois College2Career – Helps you find Illinois colleges that best fit your educational priorities and career goals within the state.
- Illinois Postsecondary Profiles – Access valuable data about postsecondary institutions in Illinois, including tuition costs, available financial aid, graduation rates, and quick links to the school’s website
Non Profit Organizations – Educational Resources
Warrior Scholar Project – Mission is to facilitate a successful transition to the classroom for service members and provide sustained support throughout their pursuit of higher education. Offers college preparatory academic “boot camps.”
Student Veterans of America – Provides network support and advocacy to, through and beyond higher education.
Pat Tillman Foundation – Offers scholarships and leadership development opportunities.
Non-Profit Organizations – Life Resources
Road Home Program -- Offers mental healthcare and wellness to veterans of all eras.
Vets 4 Warriors – Provides confidential peer support for any veteran, service member, or family member.
Gary Sinise Foundation – Provides unique programs designed to educate, inspire, support and strengthen veteran communities.
Free Legal Clinics with VA Facilities – A listing of locations and contact information for free legal services for veterans available in each state; Illinois resources on pages 8-9.