Scholarship Program

Since 1992, IHLAEF has been a primary source of scholarship assistance for deserving Illinois college students pursuing hospitality management degrees throughout the country, awarding over $400,000 since its inception. Each year, the Educational Foundation Scholarship Committee reviews all applicants and determines the amount of scholarships to be awarded. Funds are raised through corporate and individual contributions and annual fundraising efforts, and scholarships are available in amounts ranging from $2,000 up to $5,000 per academic year. 
 
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Scholarship Applications 
 
The 2017 IHLAEF scholarship application period is now closed.
Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will be available in January.
 
Please visit www.ahlef.org for national hospitality scholarships.
 
The purpose of our scholarship is to financially assist Illinois residents who have demonstrated a desire to make the hotel and hospitality industry a career. Scholarships may be available in amounts ranging from $2,000* up to $5,000 per academic year. Each student applicant must comply with the eligibility and selection criteria and requirements of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Foundation (IHLAEF) Scholarship Program. Winners of named awards will not be eligible for the same the following year.
 
*Incoming college freshman and community college students may receive a minimum scholarship amount of $1,000.
 
YOU ARE ELIGIBLE IF:
You are an undergraduate student enrolled full-time (12 credit hours) in an accredited college or university hotel and/or hospitality degree granting management program anywhere in the U.S.
OR
You are an undergraduate student enrolled in at least 6 credit hours per semester in an accredited college or university hotel and/or hospitality management degree granting program and are also employed a minimum of 20 hours per week in the hospitality industry.
OR
You are a high school senior or graduate who plans to enroll in an accredited college or university hotel and/or hospitality management degree granting program anywhere in the U.S.
AND
You are a permanent resident of Illinois and a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident for at least twelve (12) months at the time of application.
 
WHY APPLY FOR AN IHLAEF SCHOLARSHIP?
  • Scholarship awards are excellent for enhancing resumes, and an IHLAEF Scholarship shows you have earned recognition from the industry.
  • IHLAEF Scholarship recipients are better positioned to network, gain visibility, and advance in the hospitality industry. Recipients receive complimentary tickets to IHLA’s Annual Hospitality Awards Luncheon with admission to the NRA Show and invitations to Under 30 Gateway events.
  • Our scholarships are renewable, providing an opportunity to receive a minimum of $7,000 over four years.  
  • Unlike a loan, scholarship money never needs to be paid back
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IHLAEF Signature Scholarships
 
Each year, IHLAEF awards academic scholarships to deserving Illinois college students pursuing hospitality management degrees throughout the country. The Educational Foundation Scholarship Committee reviews all applications and determines the amount of scholarships to be awarded. Funds are raised through corporate and individual contributions and annual fundraising efforts.
 
Hostmark Hospitality Group, Robert J. Cataldo Scholarship
One $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to an eligible student for their academic year in honor of the continued dedication to our industry by "Bob" Cataldo of Hostmark Hospitality Group, an award-winning independent hospitality company. 
 
J. Patrick Leahy Connoisseur Scholarship
One $5,000 scholarship is awarded to an eligible student who demonstrates a passion for food and beverage and making the hotel industry their career of choice in the legacy of American Hotel Register Company's "Pat" Leahy.

Jim & Adele Abrahamson Scholarship
One $2,000 scholarship is awarded to an eligible student attending DePaul University, School of Hospitality Leadership who demonstrates a passion for their future hospitality career.

KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort Community College Scholarship
Three $1,000 scholarships are awarded to eligible Community College students who demonstrate a passion for their future hospitality career. 
 
Pat Karr Memorial Scholarship
One $2,000 scholarship is awarded to an eligible student who demonstrates a passion for hospitality in honor of Pat Karr. Helping students reach their educational goals is a mission that Pat strongly endorsed and supported.
 
Other Named Scholarships 
Additional scholarships will be awarded to eligible students starting from $2,000.
 
Previous Named Scholarships 
  • Choose Chicago Scholarship
  • Gerald J. Roper Scholarship 
  • Richard B. Guggenheim Scholarship
SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM TESTIMONIALS
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2016 Scholarship Recipients 
 
 
Christopher Demet - University of Nevada, Las Vegas         
Nicholas Demet - University of Nevada, Las Vegas 
Jasmine Dinkins - Johnson & Wales University - KeyLime Cove Scholarship
Megan Feeney - University of South Carolina - Kimpton Hotels of Chicago Scholarship
Caitlin Frech - Roosevelt University - Hilton Hotels of Chicago Scholarship
Sharon Harms - Kendall College - Constellation Scholarship
Daren Hooper - University of Missouri       
Matthew Korman - Cornell University         
Everett Lightle - Illinois State University - Wall Street Journal Scholarship
Tess McArthy - Eastern Illinois University - KeyLime Cove Scholarship
Kristine Mei - DePaul University    
Kenzie Mocogni - DePaul University          
Kendall Nathan - Iowa State University - J. Patrick Leahy Connoisseur Scholarship
Trenece Owens - DePaul University - Chicagoland Marriott Hotels Scholarship
Miranda Pearson - Eastern Illinois University          
Danielle Pinta - DePaul University - Hostmark Hospitality, Robert J. Cataldo Scholarship
Todd Pinta - DePaul University - Prominence Hospitality Group, Rana ZR. Scholarship
Ethan Reynolds - Culinary Institute of America       
Kevin Waterstreet - Northern Illinois University       
Lindsey Wehking - DePaul University - Hyatt Scholarship
Andrew Wurtz - Harper College - KeyLime Cove Scholarship
Paige Zimmerman - Purdue University      
Matthew Zyburt - Purdue University   
 
READ MORE ABOUT OUR SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS