Shimer College

Grants & Scholarships

Sometimes the best things in life really are free…

Shimer Scholarships

To be considered for Shimer scholarships, you must complete an Application for Admission to Shimer and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing these documents early is important to ensure eligibility requirements for certain financial aid opportunities are met. In addition to scholarships, Shimer awards need-based grants to students who do not receive any of these scholarships specifically. Scholarships are awarded on a semester basis to full-time, degree-seeking students, and require continued good standing of the recipient.

Pride of Place Scholarship

In its 160 year history, Shimer College has made a home in each of these three locations: Waukegan, Carroll County, and the Third Ward of Chicago. This scholarship is awarded to an admitted resident of each location in celebration of the impact in shaping the college’s history, its present, and its future.

The Dangerous Optimist Scholarship

Need and merit-based scholarships up to $24,000/year for spring transfer student demonstrating strong academic ability or potential. Two-part competition in essay writing and discussion skills.

Homeschoolers and Nontraditional Schooling Scholarship

This scholarship insures that students from homeschool and non-traditional schools receive a minimum academic scholarship of $6,000 per year. This scholarship exists to recognize the special contribution that students coming from homeschooling and other non-traditional schooling have to offer the Shimer community.

Robert Maynard Hutchins Scholarship

Early Entrance students may be eligible for an award of up to $1,400/year. Students who receive a Hutchins scholarship must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point at Shimer in order to retain it.

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

Children or grandchildren of Shimer alumni who choose to become Shimerians themselves may be awarded up to $1,000/year for full-time enrollment. Applicants referred to Shimer by our alumni are also eligible for this grant if they are admitted.

City Year National Service Scholarship

Scholarships for 30% of Shimer College tuition will be awarded to Shimer students who were City Year corps members or alumni who successfully completed at least one year of service and to City Year staff members who were employed for at least two years. Application fees are also waived for applicants to Shimer coming from City Year.

Michel de Montaigne Scholarship

Need and merit-based scholarships up to $30,000 per year for fall-entry students demonstrating strong academic ability or potential. Two-part competition in essay writing and discussion skills.

Frances Wood Shimer Scholarship

This is a merit-based scholarship recognizing the previous academic accomplishments and promise of select Shimer students. 

The Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship

Transfer students who have completed 12 credit hours or more and are members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society will receive a minimum academic scholarship of $12,000/year. Verification of Phi Theta Kappa membership is required.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The “Yellow Ribbon” program is designed to honor our veterans’ service and improve financial aid for veterans participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill.


External Scholarships & Matching

Shimer encourages students to apply for outside scholarships, which can be found, free, through various online resources like FastWeb, as well as through local organizations near you.

Shimer Scholarship Matching Policy

Through Shimer Matching Grants, we will match all qualifying outside scholarships up to $2,000 for students who use their awards toward Shimer tuition. The only circumstances under which we would adjust your financial aid package is if your aid exceeds your total cost of attendance. External scholarships may be from organizations, foundations, or charities that offer merit, need, or culturally-based awards. Groups include:
•    Non-profit organizations and Charitable trusts
•    Community Foundations
•    Labor unions
•    Houses of worship
•    Chambers of commerce
•    Other volunteer organizations
•    The uniformed services of the United States
Please check with the Office of Financial aid if you have any questions about this policy.


State and Federal Government Grants

The only application needed for these programs is the FAFSA.

Federal Pell Grant

This grant is a federal aid program designed to provide financial assistance to those who have established need and who are enrolled in an eligible undergraduate program on at least a half-time basis. It is designed to be the floor of the financial aid award. The amount of the Federal Pell Grant is determined on the basis of the family’s financial resources and the cost of college.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The FSEOG is designed to make a college education available to students with demonstrated financial need who, without the grant, would be unable to go to college. FSEOG awards can be no more than one-half the total aid. They are quite limited due to the shortage of appropriated funds.

Monetary Award Program (MAP)

The Monetary Award Program provides grant assistance to eligible Illinois students demonstrating financial need. MAP grants are applied toward tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate students, not to exceed the maximum award amount for the academic year. Recipients must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

Illinois Incentive for Access Program (IIA)

A qualified applicant may receive one grant in an amount not to exceed $1,000, for an applicant with an EFC of 0, or an amount not to exceed $500, for an applicant with an EFC of 500 or less. Recipients must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis and meet the definition of freshman at that school.