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Note: The information and dates regarding these applications is specific to the year of 2017-18, and the 2018 Chicago Student Science Fair. Much of this information may change for the 2019 year and Fair.

Research Grant Program
Students who have started on their investigation by completing their library research and formulating an experimental design may apply for funds to help purchase supplies and equipment not normally available at the local school.

The Minigrant Program awards a maximum of $100 per semester or $200 per year to help students finance the research of students in grades 7-12. The application may be duplicated for your use. The Research Grant Committee awards grants on the basis of the application. The student must demonstrate that he/she fully understands the nature of the project and that experimental research (not a demonstration) will be conducted.

High school students whose funding requirements exceed $100 should apply for funds through the Maxi Grant Program. Students applying for a Maxi Grant must have participated in a past regional or city science fair. The application for this grant appears here. The application should be completed with great attention to detail. Do not request equipment that is usually part of the school inventory. All equipment purchased through the grant becomes property of the school when the project is completed. Greatest consideration is given to students who have thoroughly researched their project and have used scientific journals rather than general reference books and textbooks in their Reference List.

Maxi grant applications will be screened by the Research Grant Committee and evaluated by an initial point system. If your application passes the initial screening, the student will be invited to a personal interview conducted by selected CPS Student Science Fair Committee Chairpersons. Maxi Research Grants are awarded to students one time only.

All grant applications are evaluated according to the following criteria by the committee: scientific merit, scientific approach, and potential for development. A student may apply for either the Minigrant or the Maxi Grant, but not both.

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Advise-a-Student Program
The Advise-a-Student Program is designed to assist students working on a project who have exhausted the help of teachers and parents. Upon receipt of an application demonstrating that the student has completed the library research necessary, the committee attempts to find a research scientist who will provide expert help. The scientist only provides suggestions on improving the project and should not be asked to provide equipment or laboratory space. This program is not designed to provide money, equipment, or general information. The application form may be duplicated for your use.

Scholarship Program
Over one and a half million dollars in scholarships has been awarded to Chicago public schools students who have participated in the student science fair as exhibitors of projects and/or as symposium participants.

Scholarships are awarded by corporations, philanthropic organizations, universities, and the Chicago Public Schools Student Science Fair, Inc. The number of scholarships available varies each year.

Any senior who has participated in at least one Chicago Public Schools Student Science Fair at the Chicago Region level or above and who is graduating from a Chicago Public High School is eligible to apply for a scholarship.

Interested seniors may obtain scholarship application forms from their high school science fair coordinator, their counselor, or science department chairperson. The application is also found here, in PDF format. Applicants should be aware of the deadline for filing their applications. See the Science Fair calendar for the due date. Late and incomplete entries will not be considered and will be returned to the student. Faxed applications are not accepted.

Completed application forms will be judged on the following criteria:
amount of science fair participation, levels of achievement, and special awards

  • academic profile: types of courses and grades, class rank, and standardized test results
  • career objectives
  • extracurricular activities, school and community service
  • personal characteristics, letters of recommendation
  • autobiographical sketch (personal essay)

Approximately 25 candidates will be selected from the applicants and invited to meet with the scholarship committee in the final step of screening. Recipients of scholarships are selected by the committee to discuss their candidacy with the committee in an informal setting. The candidates are notified by letter as to the decision of the Scholarship Committee whose decisions are final. A formal presentation of scholarships takes place at an awards dinner to honor the recipients and their parents.

The following university scholarships had been made available to Science Fair, Inc. at the time of this handbook’s publication. The list is subject to change.

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Alcorn State University, Mississippi
One full tuition-free renewable scholarship
Requirements: ACT score of 22 (or SAT equivalent);
GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale
Majors: biology, chemistry, computer science, industrial technology, mathematics, or nursing

Chicago State University
One tuition-free, 4-year scholarship
Requirements: ACT score 16+ or 22+ for the Honors Program
Must apply and be accepted by the university.
Must major in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, or pre-medicine.

DeVry Institute of Technology
One full tuition-free scholarship leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering or computer science
Requirements: Must be accepted into the program in computers or

Illinois Institute of Technology
One $4000 renewable scholarships
Requirements: ACT score 28
Honors program and rank in the top 15%

Lake Forest University
One or two year, ½ tuition scholarship
Requirements: Admission to Lake Forest by February 1
ACT score 25 and/or SAT score 1180
a 3.5 GPA and rank in the top 20%

Lewis University
One $1,000 per year renewable tuition waiver
Requirements: Admission to Lewis University;
3.0 GPA in high school; maintaining
a 3.0 GPA while attending Lewis University

Loyola University of Chicago
One $2,000 per year renewable tuition waiver
Requirements: Admission to Loyola by April 1.
ACT score 24+ or 30+ for the Honors Program
Rank in class: Upper 10%
Major in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Pre-Medicine, or Mathematics

Northeastern Illinois University
One 4-year tuition-free scholarship
Requirements: ACT Score 26; or ACT score 23 and top 10% of class
Rank in class: Upper 10%
Major in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, or Physics

University of Chicago
One tuition waiver of $2,000
Requirement: Student must have been accepted by the
University by April 1.

University of Illinois at Chicago
One 4-year, tuition-free scholarship
Requirements: ACT score 26+; SAT score 1090
Rank in class: Upper 15%

A number of monetary scholarships will also be available. The funding of
these scholarships depends on the generosity of corporations and philanthropic organizations that contribute to Science Fair, Inc. Cash grants usually range from $2,000 to $3,000. The application for a Science Fair Scholarship can be found here, in PDF format.

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