Scholarship Program

2023 JACL Chicago Scholarship Program


Application Deadline – March 1, 2023

Scholarship Luncheon – May 21, 2023 (tentative)

JACL Chicago Scholarship Program Guidelines

The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization whose mission is to advance social justice and promote the legacy and cultural heritage of the Japanese American community.

The Chicago Chapter of JACL offers scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000+ to undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated a commitment to JACL’s mission. Scholarships are awarded based on an applicant’s understanding of and alignment with JACL’s mission, as well as academic performance and extracurricular involvement. Scholarships are open to all, regardless of race or ethnicity. Previous JACL Chicago scholarship winners applying for a second award must demonstrate sustained engagement with JACL.

Funding for scholarships is provided by generous donations from JACL Chicago members and the greater Chicago Japanese American community.

Applications are due on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Awards will be distributed at the annual Scholarship Luncheon, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, May 21, 2023.

For more information, contact Christine Munteanu, JACL Chicago Scholarship Committee Chair, at



  • JACL Membership: Applicants who have not previously received a JACL Chicago scholarship do not need to be JACL members to apply for a scholarship. If selected to receive a scholarship, first-time winners will receive a one-year student membership to JACL Chicago as part of their award. Previous winners must have a current student or individual JACL Chicago membership valid through the end of 2023.
  • Enrollment Status: Applicants must be full-time students at an accredited college, university, or other institution of higher learning in the United States for the fall of 2023. Students deferring enrollment will not qualify for the 2023 scholarship program. Awards are contingent on proof of enrollment.
  • Residency: Applicants must be residents of the State of Illinois (although attendance at schools outside of Illinois is permissible) OR actively enrolled in an accredited Illinois university, college, or institution of higher learning at the time of application.
  • Limits: JACL Chicago scholarship winners are limited to receiving a total of two (2) awards in their lifetime.
  • Scholarship Luncheon: Scholarships are traditionally awarded at the annual Scholarship Luncheon held in May. Given the evolving situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the status of the 2023 Scholarship Luncheon is tentative. We will prioritize the health and safety of our community, and the Scholarship Committee will make a decision about hosting an in-person luncheon by April 2023. For now, we ask that all applicants please hold Sunday, May 21, 2023 as the tentative date for the luncheon.
  • Taxes: Scholarship awards may be considered taxable income. Awardees will be required to provide their Social Security Number and will be issued an IRS 1099 Form.


Scholarship Review Process

Scholarship applications are reviewed by the JACL Chicago Scholarship Committee. Applicants are evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Academic performance (18%)
  • JACL involvement (18%)
  • Social justice involvement (18%)
  • Other activities (18%)
  • Personal statement (quality of writing, demonstrated understanding of and alignment with JACL’s mission) (20%)
  • Letters of recommendation (8%)


How to Apply

  • Download the 2023 Scholarship Application here 
  • Download the 2023 Scholarship Guidelines here
  • All application materials, including application form and supplemental pages, official transcript(s), and recommendation letters must be included in one complete application packet. Do not submit materials separately. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Applications must be received or postmarked by Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Late applications will not be considered.
  • Send complete application packet to:
    JACL Chicago Scholarship Committee
    5415 N. Clark St.
    Chicago, IL 60640
  • Electronic submissions will not be accepted.
  • Applicants will be notified of the Scholarship Committee’s decision in April 2023. All decisions of the Scholarship Committee are final.

For questions or more information, contact Christine Munteanu, JACL Chicago Scholarship Committee chair, at

NOTE: The Japanese American Citizens League administers a National Scholarship Program that is separate and independent from the JACL Chicago Scholarship Program. For information about the JACL National Scholarship Program, please visit:

2023 Scholarship Application available here

Tentatively: Save the date for the Scholarship Luncheon on May 21!