Getting Started

People sitting around tables in a dining area conversing among each other and eating.

On a weekly basis we receive phone calls, emails and in-person visits from various military personnel and veterans. During the course of these engagements we are often confronted with statements like, “I’m nervous about being a student. I don’t know if I can do this. I feel older than my peers…”

Reflecting back to the bus ride to basic training and boot camp, most of us felt haunted with self-doubt, but soon realized that the process of transitioning from a civilian to a member of the armed forces was within our grasp. Similarly, although the prospect of being a student can be overwhelming in the beginning, let me assure you that we admit our students with the hope and anticipation that they will see their degree programs through until graduation. And with this, we have plenty of support to assist you along the way.

Keep in mind that our veterans perform exceptionally well as students. Many arrive on campus with leadership and real-world work experience in addition to possessing first-class discipline and time management skills. Of course, having a break in education and feeling a bit rusty with writing papers or math are very normal and expected parts of your transition. With this stated, please do not hesitate to contact us if you feel intimidated or unsure about your new career as a student. We are happy to meet with you to discuss the various support services on campus while also addressing any questions that you have.

Jason Sakowski (Assistant Director, Veteran Student Support Service) is also available to speak with directly:


Here is a helpful tip for helping you in your transition: Reach out to other student veterans and get involved!

The Illini Veterans, a registered student organization and chapter of Student Veterans of America, has several active members on campus. They are the “student veteran voice” and host a wide variety of social and philanthropic activities throughout the school year. They can provide informal mentoring support or simply serve as a great starting point for meeting other veterans on campus. You will often find many Illini Veterans in our Student Veteran Lounge and at the Center.

Find more information regarding Undergraduate Admissions by clicking here.

How to apply

Helpful tips and information

Transcripts, ACE and CLEP

Students are required to submit transcripts for high school or GED test scores and any post-secondary coursework completed. Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the institution where the coursework was taken. Undergraduates can submit transcripts electronically as PDFs or through U.S. mail to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Graduate students must upload their transcripts directly to the online application.

If you believe you have taken military coursework for which Illinois awards credit, be sure to submit a copy of your DD214 and your military transcripts available at the Joint Services Transcript System for Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy or The Air University for the Air Force. Please be mindful that the University of Illinois offers limited credit for ACE accredited military training. Read more on this below.

You are required to send standardized test scores if you have less than 30 graded transferable semester hours of college coursework at the time of application: ACT (code 1154) or SAT 1 (code 1836) scores are accepted. We highly recommend you submit test scores if you have 30-59 graded credit hours. Scores must be sent directly from the testing centers to be considered official; they cannot be taken from high school transcripts or student reports. We work closely with the Office of Admission to determine the number of credits that are transferable.

Send final transcripts to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as soon as final grades are posted. You must send official documentation of all courses/grades submitted, by the date designated by admissions.

Note: The University of Illinois does not award credit for CLEP tests, but if you believe you deserve credit in a particular subject, you may be able to take departmental placement and proficiency exams at Illinois to receive appropriate credit or placement.

Will I get credit for my military experience and technical training?


Will I get credit for my military experience and technical training?
The University grants registered students college credit for certain training and experience in the armed forces of the United States. A review of military transcripts is completed in the Office of Admissions. Coursework that is completed at a regionally-accredited, post-secondary institution and posted on a military transcript is only acceptable when a transcript from that institution is received. In other words, you will need to have transcripts from all institutions attended sent directly to the University of Illinois.
In order to help you understand if your credits are eligible for transfer, the following information is offered as a guideline. Please note: applicability of military credit toward a particular degree is determined by the Dean of each college. All criteria are subject to the recommendation of the college of enrollment and the department that offers similar coursework.
As a general rule, in order for previously non-articulated domestic coursework to be acceptable for transfer, it must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be posted on an official transcript from a regionally accredited post-secondary degree-granting institution.
  • It must be similar in scope, nature, and level of difficulty to coursework offered on this campus (i.e., it must be at a baccalaureate level in content).
  • It must be similar to coursework offered on this campus. For example, since Illinois does not offer a degree in Police Science or Criminal Science, such coursework is not normally accepted for transfer. (An exception might be if the coursework listed on an official syllabus is reviewed and found to be substantially similar to courses offered at Illinois).

The most common reason military coursework is not articulated as transfer credit is that most coursework posted on a military transcript is not baccalaureate level in content. Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) or military-oriented coursework which is a career, technical or vocational in nature and not baccalaureate degree-oriented is not generally acceptable for transfer; however, upon request, vocational credit related to the student’s curriculum choice may be referred for consideration to the Dean of the college in which the student is enrolled.
Additionally, after admission, students not awarded credit under campus policy may attempt departmental proficiency examinations to receive credit in those areas in which they claim competence.
If you feel that you deserve credit for courses that are not accepted for transfer upon initial review, the Assistant Director Sakowski of VSSS can work with you, the Office of Admissions and the Office of Records, and the Dean of your college on a case-by-case basis to try to get you the credit you feel you deserve.

What is accepted for transfer credit?

  • Per campus or college policy, the following types of military training credit are normally accepted for transfer:
    Four (4) semester hours of lower-division military science credit is granted for transfer admission only if a minimum of 6 months of continuous active duty was completed and an honorable discharge is listed on the DD-214 or similar document (if separation is not yet permanent). Such credit may be used for admission purposes up to a maximum of 16 semester hours. Credit duplicating ROTC credit will not be awarded. Lower-division military science credit satisfies no graduation requirements for any University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign programs of study. In other words, per campus policy, no programmatic credit (i.e. general education, free elective hours or supporting coursework for a major, etc.) will be granted for lower-division military science coursework, including ROTC-type coursework offered on this campus or any other college or university campus.
  • The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may grant up to nine (9) semester hours of upper-division Military/Naval Science credit for upper-division (junior/senior-level) ROTC military science coursework and/or the two Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Classes. This credit may be used to satisfy free elective hours. The other colleges on this campus may have other restrictions concerning the use of such coursework to satisfy degree requirements as free elective hours. Based on this, students should contact their respective colleges and inquire about acceptance of this coursework.
  • The College of Engineering will grant up to four (4) semester hours of PHYS 1 (100 level Physics elective credit, which satisfies free elective hours) for completion of the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion School. This must be posted on a Navy transcript. Presently, the College of Engineering is the only college to grant this credit.
  • Upper-division ACE (American Council on Education) Military Guide Credit Recommendations: If such coursework falls within the parameters for regular coursework, it may be granted transfer credit. Upper-division recommendations for credit are quite rare for most MOS training and other military coursework. Upper-division coursework completed at the Defense Language Institute and documented on an official transcript may be acceptable for transfer credit to satisfy foreign language or area studies requirements or as free elective credit.
  •  Correspondence courses for which the student has passed the end-of-course examination prepared by the U. S. Armed Forces Institute (prior to 1 July 1974), that are baccalaureate-oriented, and that corresponds in level and content to courses offered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are recognized for credit.
  • AP Test credit and International Baccalaureate credit may be awarded for qualifying scores in eligible disciplines or subject areas.


What is not accepted for transfer credit?

Per campus or college policy, the following types of credit are not normally accepted for transfer (at this time):

  •  Experience-based credit: the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign does not accept any credit for experiential coursework or life experience posted on any transfer transcript. A student who believes himself or herself to be knowledgeable in a specific course may be granted credit hours through established proficiency procedures by the college of enrollment and the department offering a similar course after admission and registration. Students are encouraged to sign-up for relevant proficiency exams, usually offered at the beginning of each semester.
  • CLEP credit: Per campus policy, CLEP examination credit is not accepted for transfer since Fall 2003.
  •  DANTES credit: Per campus policy, DANTES credit is not accepted.
  • Lower-division ACE Military Guide Credit Recommendations: Per campus policy, lower division credit recommendations are not acceptable.
  • Physical education credit or ROTC physical fitness training: Per campus policy, no physical education credit is granted for Basic or Advanced Training. No credit is granted for ROTC physical fitness training completed on this campus.
  •  Credit earned in academic courses sponsored by non-collegiate organizations, such as business, industry, and labor, and those not recognized by the April 1977 Board of Trustees policy statement are not normally accepted. Such work may be evaluated by the college for potential credit toward a specific degree program after admission and registration, subject to validation by proficiency examination or successful completion of advanced coursework. Credit hours may be reduced at the discretion of the college of enrollment from that shown by the originating agency.

Complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)


In addition to VA benefits, Federal, state and institutional student financial aid programs are available to cover your cost of attendance. The first step in determining your eligibility for these programs is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Veterans Education Benefits do not count against your financial aid eligibility.

Apply even if the priority deadline date has passed, as there may still be funds available. Have the FAFSA information sent to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Federal School Code: 001775), if you have not done so already.

Please review the information found throughout the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) website to learn more about the financial aid programs and processes.

Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA)

Address: 620 E. John Street, Champaign, IL 61820

Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 am-5 pm

Phone: (217) 333-0100

Fax: (217) 265-5516



Federal School Code: 001775

Looking for Scholarships

Your undergraduate application and FAFSA will help determine whether you qualify for federal, state, or institutional financial aid, as well as merit-based scholarships. You are also encouraged to fill out the Scholarship Supplement Form and search the University of Illinois scholarship database for private or independently managed scholarships.

Other helpful scholarship search sites include:

These sites can help you find scholarships based on major, talent, interest, career plans, background, and more. And don’t forget to check with veterans organizations such as the VFW and American Legion.



Meet with the Veteran Student Support Coordinator and Connect with Other Veterans On Campus

Contact Jason Sakowski to discuss your transition to the university and learn more about campus and local resources. Jason serves as a central point of contact for any veteran-related questions or support needs.

Also, Jason can link you to a currently enrolled veteran sponsor to help ease your transition to the university. This includes matching with a mentor. Joining the Illini Veterans student group will help you meet other Veterans and service members on campus.

GI Bill Restrictions and Requirements

  • Each semester, you MUST complete a Certification Responsibilities for VA Education Benefits form in order to receive federal VA education benefits without interruption.
  • You MUST be admitted to a degree program to receive payment of benefits.
  • You MUST immediately notify OSFA Veterans’ Services of any changes in your status including but not limited to:
    • Change to your declared major (registered program of study)
    • You choose to receive payments under a different education program
    • You initiate action to withdraw from the University
    • You are called to active duty
  • You MUST report changes to the number of hours of enrollment. The number of hours enrolled determines the level of payment (§ 3-301 Academic Policies and Regulations). Changes in the number of hours of enrollment will be reported to the VA and may affect your eligibility. Students must be enrolled in at least 12 hours in a semester (six hours in the summer term) to receive the maximum benefit payment for VA education programs and Social Security benefits. For programs with terms of other lengths, minimum enrollment hours required is determined proportionately (students are permitted nine months to complete Office of Continuing Education courses; however, the credit hours are used to determine the maximum benefit during one single term).
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill® users MUST maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) (38 U.S.C 3034(a) 3323(a), 3684). Failure to maintain SAP may result in suspended payment of Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33) education benefits. Get more detailed information.
  • VA education benefits are paid in arrears and may require completing monthly Self Certifications by calling 877-823-2378 or visiting Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE).
  • Effective August 1, 2011, break pay or interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education program.
  • You may use VA education benefits in conjunction with Title IV financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Do NOT include VA education benefits when reporting income and resources information on this form.

Using Post-9/11 GI Bill® with a Tuition Waiver

Effective August 1, 2011, any tuition and fee restricted award that you receive (such as the Illinois Veterans Grant) must be used before the tuition and fee portion of Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill®) benefits. If you elect to use Chapter 33 benefits in conjunction with a tuition and fee restricted award, the VA will reduce Chapter 33 benefits so the combination of funds does not exceed your tuition and fees charges. The VA Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and books will not be affected.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at

Find Housing

After accepting your offer of admission and claiming VA benefits or other financial aid, you will need to find a place to live on or near campus. Adult students at the University of Illinois can opt to live on-campus in University Housing or Private Certified Housing, or off-campus in privately managed apartments and houses in the surrounding communities. The University’s Tenant Union, a service of Student Affairs, offers guidance and information about privately managed properties in the area and also assists in conflict resolutions.

While the university offers a number of resources to help you find the right place, you may also want to contact current student veterans for the inside scoop from your peers either through the Illini Veterans.

Attend Welcome Days


Welcome Day is a campus-wide celebration designed to warmly welcome new and returning students to campus. There are several events specifically for new students, such as Convocation, Illinois Sights & Sounds, and Illini Union Service First. At these events, you will meet your classmates and begin learning what is expected of you as an Illinois student. You will also have a chance to acquaint yourself with the academic, athletic, and service traditions at Illinois! Welcome Days also offers events for all students like Quad Day, the Campus Rec Block Party, and the Illini Union’s LateNighter that provide new students an opportunity to experience the full campus community. View the details of Welcome Days.

Attend Quad Day

Each August during Welcome Days, the Quad fills for Quad Day, where Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) advertise their clubs all in one location. This is the perfect opportunity to jump-start your involvement on campus.

What kinds of academic programs are offered at Illinois?

Illinois has tremendous breadth and depth in academics, with over 150 undergraduate and more than 100 graduate and professional programs in 17 major colleges and academic units. Additionally, Illinois offers more than 100 of its programs completely online or mostly online.

Student Veterans at the University of Illinois may pursue degrees in disciplines ranging from AccountancyActuarial Sciences, or Advertising to Special EducationSpeech and Hearing Science, Technical Systems Management, or Urban and Regional Planning, and almost anything in between. For more information on courses and programs at Illinois, check out the course catalog.


What kinds of online courses are available at Illinois?

The University of Illinois system offers many online courses, including over 100 degree and certificate programs that can be completed online or mostly online. Many online universities offer convenience, but at the University of Illinois, you get a quality education and a wide selection of disciplines as well. To find the online classes or online degree programs that interest you, go to the Online Course Catalog.

The Online Course Catalog contains detailed descriptions of individual online classes, completely online degree programs, and certificates offered by the three campuses of the University of Illinois. Students must be admitted to one of the University of Illinois campuses in order to complete online coursework. For information about applying to Illinois, visit the relevant admissions pages below:

Can I use my military benefits to pay for online and continuing education courses at Illinois?

Online & Continuing Education currently accepts the following Veterans benefits (subject to student eligibility of benefits):

For OCE self-paced online courses: County Child of Veterans, Federal and State ROTC, Illinois Veterans Grant, MIA-POW Scholarship, and National Guard Grant.

For semester-based online and site-based courses: Veterans may use Federal Veterans Programs and State of Illinois Veterans Programs.

Other useful links