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Golden Apple Scholarship

What is Golden Apple?

Created in 1988 by the award-winning teachers of the Golden Apple Foundation, the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program recruits and prepares bright and talented high school graduates who represent a rich ethnic diversity for successful teaching careers in high need schools throughout Illinois and provides scholarships to students pursuing teaching degrees.

The Golden Apple Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago. The foundation promotes excellence in Pre-K through 12 education through the work of excellent teachers. Golden Apple Scholars receive mentoring support from outstanding, award-winning teachers who are part of the Golden Apple network.

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University Partners:

Fifty-three colleges and universities throughout Illinois partner with Golden Apple in the Scholars Program.  The partners receive the names of all students who complete the Scholars application.  Each of the partners has a liaison on campus that assists Scholars with admission, financial aid questions, and academic advising.

Why Golden Apple?

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program identifies talented high school seniors and college sophomores who have the promise and drive to be excellent teachers in high-need schools. We prepare them for immediate and lasting success in some of the most challenging teaching environments. Recent studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the program.

Studies show that there is a shortage of qualified, enthusiastic teachers entering the profession, and a particular shortage of minority and bilingual teachers. Students need teachers who have similar backgrounds and experiences to serve as role models and give them the hope of a promising future.

Golden Apple Scholars gain essential early exposure to the challenges and triumphs of teaching in a high-needs setting. Scholars build invaluable networks of support that continue into their teaching years. More than 1,800 Golden Apple Scholars are teaching or on their way to teaching in Chicago and throughout Illinois, and 87 percent of our Scholars have remained in the field of education beyond the five-year commitment requirement.

Golden Apple Scholar's Obligations and Reward:

Golden Apple Scholars must earn a bachelor's degree at one of 53 Illinois universities that participate in the program, obtain Illinois teacher certification, and teach for five years in an Illinois school of need. Scholars also must meet GPA requirements, participate in Summer Institutes, and comply with a code of conduct while in the program.

In return for fulfilling these responsibilities, all Golden Apple Scholars receive tuition assistance of $2,500 per year for freshmen and sophomore years and $5,000 per year for junior and senior years, paid directly to the Scholar's undergraduate institution.

Scholars also receive a $2,000 stipend for each summer of Summer Institute and receive advanced teacher preparation designed to facilitate their success teaching deserving children in challenging school settings.

The Nomination and Selection Process:

Beginning in May of their junior year and continuing through November of their senior year, any Illinois high school student who is interested in a teaching career is eligible for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program. Golden Apple selects as many as 100 high school and college students each year from public and non-public schools and universities throughout Illinois. Nominees are asked to complete a written application, provide ACT scores, and furnish transcripts to Golden Apple. From the completed applications, Golden Apple Award-winning teachers choose finalists to be interviewed and select the new group of Scholars in February.

For the online nomination application visit:

Previous Winners:

Student Class Year
 Berenice Anguiano2016 University of Illinois at Chicago
 Mae Christianson2016 University of Illinois at Urbana
 Belinda Cortes2016 University of Illinois at Chicago
 Sanya Khatri2016 University of Chicago
 Paola Millan-Ayala2016 Loyola University Chicago
 Nicholas Quinones2016 Northwestern University
 Jerry Zhu2016 University of Illinois at Urbana
 Margarita Ruiz
2012 Northeastern Illinois University
 Elias Hernandez    
2011 Olivet Nazarene University
 Priscilla Marrero
 Illinois State University
 Giovani Toledo
 University of Illinois at Chicago