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Pritzker Administration Announces College-Bound Students Can Now Apply to All Illinois Public Universities Using the Common App

Press Release - Thursday, November 04, 2021

SPRINGFIELD - Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), in partnership with the Illinois General Assembly, are utilizing $1 million in funding to add all of the state's public universities onto the Common App platform. First-year students applying to college will now be able to apply to any of Illinois' 12 public universities, plus dozens of the state's private institutions, with only one form.

"Expanding access to educational opportunities for everyone has always been a top goal of my administration. We want to make it easier for everyone, especially people of color, low-income students, and adult learners, to find a place at Illinois' institutions of higher learning," said Governor JB Pritzker. "This $1 million investment will not only make it easier for Illinois students to apply to multiple of the state's world-class universities but will also encourage students from out of state and across the globe to take the next step in their educational journey right here in Illinois."

For students and families concerned about the cost of applying for college, waivers are available for low-income Common App applicants. In 2019-2020, more than 470,000 Common App applicants across the nation were granted a fee waiver. Some colleges and universities either have no application fees or will waive fees if needed.

Three public universities, the University of Illinois Chicago, Northern Illinois University, and Chicago State University, were previously available on the Common App. The $1 million investment allowed the remaining public universities to join the program. The last outstanding university, Northeastern Illinois University, will be implemented later this fall.

"Having all of the public universities on the Common App will make it easier for students to apply," said Ginger Ostro, executive director, IBHE. "We see this as a tool for more students to explore the opportunities at all Illinois colleges and universities and remain in Illinois for their post-secondary education."

The Common App website ( has several resources for students and families who want to know more about the application process, such as a first-year application guide, resources called "What Is Common App?" and "How the First Year Common App Works," YouTube videos, and the list of institutions that use the application.

Additionally, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and its school and community partners offer free support throughout Illinois for students who need help completing their college and financial aid applications. The ISACorps, a statewide group of near peer mentors trained to assist students and families with college planning and financial aid, offer free workshops as well as one-on-one assistance.

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