The Education at Illinois Scholarship Fund is a newly established fund specifically for scholarships. Why is this important? Because no one should go into crippling debt to obtain a college degree, particularly students who wish to someday become a teacher. Through scholarship support we are able make the College of Education at Illinois more accessible and affordable to anyone who wants to become a teacher or leader in the field of education. We need the brightest minds pursuing the field of education. No other position in society has the capacity to shape so many lives as that of a teacher. To prepare the best teacher leaders who are able to address the challenges of 21st-century learners, we need to attract and retain the best students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Donors Open Doors by …

Of course, we can’t do this alone—or depend on dwindling state funding—and this is where you can truly transform a student’s life and the world. Those who provide gifts to the College of Education at Illinois hold the key to a world-class education for deserving students.

To give you an idea of how important your gifts to the College are, we asked three students who have benefitted from scholarships to explain how their lives have been changed for the better. Then we asked them to finish this sentence: “Donors open doors by …”

Jayna ButlerMeet Jayna Butler

Career goal: To teach and influence high school students in special education, with a focus on students with Down syndrome.

Jayna comes from a single-income family, so she understands the struggle and sacrifice it takes to finance a family’s needs, wants, and dreams. In her own words, “This scholarship has helped me lift the burdens of finances that cloud over my head daily.”

Thanks to her gift, Jayna said she is better able to focus on her school work without feeling the additional stress of money. Aside from that, her scholarship has helped Jayna realize her personal strengths—she feels validated to be at Illinois, and the gift she received has helped Jayna value her burgeoning accomplishments even more.

Donors Open Doors by … lifting the burdens of finances and opening doors of opportunities beyond what we perceived.

Zachary CravenMeet Zachary Craven

Career goal: To be a principal in an elementary or middle school or hold an administrative position.

As only the second person in his family to attend college, Zachary, an Air Force veteran, said he doesn’t know where he would be today without the help of the donors who provided him with scholarships. He began at the University of Illinois last summer and said his scholarships gave him the opportunity to get the necessary resources for his classes and really focus on education. While observing and student-teaching, he noticed how scholarships also helped the students he worked with throughout the academic year.

From serving his country to someday serving through educational leadership, Zachary is a prime example of how scholarships offer hope to students.

Donors Open Doors by … allowing students who thought a dream would never become a reality to see that dreams do come true.

Maria LangMeet Maria Lang

Career goal: To be a college professor in the field of bilingual education.

Maria is a Ph.D. student whose scholarship allowed her to have a sense of security when transitioning from her job as a bilingual teacher in Texas to a full-time student at Illinois.

“Having the safety of a monthly income made me less anxious about quitting my job,” Maria said. “It also allowed me to move from Texas to Illinois with a sense of stability.”

Donors Open Doors by … providing a sense of safety and boosting the morale of students who are scholarship recipients.

Open a Door Today

Despite the various challenges today’s students face when it comes to tuition, the College receives a steady stream of passionate students who want to become leaders and teachers in our schools worldwide. They want to teach so that they can prepare today’s youth’s for tomorrow’s opportunities. They want to inspire all learners to reach their highest potential. And they want to ensure that any investments we make today in our youth will transform into countless dividends tomorrow when they are citizens of the world.

To continue to attract the best and brightest students to our College, we must invest in them. Every dollar counts in this regard—it’s the one commitment that has always reaped the greatest return: an education.

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