Illinois for Illinois funded by student fees


By Lilly Mashayek

The Illinois for Illinois, or I4I, Scholarship is a student funded scholarship that is awarded to students looking to study abroad. Every year, both undergraduate and graduate students at the University pay a $4.59 fee that contributes to the scholarship fundCC.

“The $5 fee, it goes into this pot that we use to award the Illinois for Illinois, or I4I, Scholarship,” said Caroline EwingCC, international scholarship specialist for the study abroad program. “It was a student-led initiative for this to be applied to accounts.”

Ewing said the fee was refundable until fall 2012, when a referendum was passed to make it nonrefundableCC.

Each student who applies for the scholarships submits three application questionnaires, including three short essays, that are then reviewed by the scholarship committee.

“The committee is made up of about 30 campus people, so that could be anyone — from the registrar’s office faculty, staff — a pretty wide variety of people,” Ewing said. “And then we also have students who’ve received the I4I Scholarship in the past, who we put into groups of three or four, and they get together and review (the applicants).”

Each application is given an application number to maintain anonymity. While the applications are reviewed anonymously, if a member of the committee feels that they recognize a student, they are encouraged to abstain from reviewing that application, Ewing said.

“We try to keep it as anonymous as possible,” she said.

Ewing said that the essay questions are the most important factor when deciding if a student will receive a scholarship and that a student’s grade point average is not taken into account.

The amount of the scholarship — either $500, $1,000 or $2,000 — is awarded based on the length of the study abroad program.

“So each student application has at least two reviews and then they are assigned points based on their essay questions. And then we also take into consideration financial need, and we pull that data from students who’ve submitted the FAFSA,” Ewing said.

Most of the applicants last year were enrolled in the colleges of LAS, ACES or Engineering.

“The overwhelming majority of our scholarships go to LAS, but we also have an overwhelming majority of applicants from LAS,” Ewing said.

About 20 percent of students who studied abroad received a scholarship, Ewing said. She added, not everyone who studies abroad applies for a scholarship.

“[Of] the number of actual students who received the I4I last year, we had 176 in the fall and 203 in the spring,” Ewing said. “45 percent of applicants in the fall received a scholarship and in the spring, 58 percent received it.” CavanaghCC, senior in Media, received the I4I scholarship for her semester studying abroad in spring 2014.

“I wouldn’t have been able to travel to eleven countries or enjoy my time abroad as my as I did without my scholarship,” Cavanagh said. “I’m extremely lucky to have received it.”

Students currently pay $66 each semester in student-initiated fees.

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