Free money: Illinois Relations Scholarship Fund offers new scholarship

John Kurecki , Feautures Reporter

Beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, minority students will have access to a $1,000 endowment payed by the Illinois Realtors scholarship fund. The scholarship will provide aid to students who are related to members of various real estate trade associations.
Students who have relatives that are members of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, and the Asian Real Estate Association of America will receive preference for the fund. According to the university announcement, the fund is for “undergraduate students who have demonstrated a financial need and who are African American, Hispanic, or Asian American.
Students who do not have a qualifying relative may still apply, however, as, if nobody with said connection applies, preference will be given to students from the counties of Cook, DuPage, Lake, and Will.
UIS Director of Development and Coordinator of Planned Giving Ron Wojcicki stated, “Some donors have preferences for their scholarship criteria for various reasons. One could be a reflection of their own personal life and assistance they received from others…Another could be in response to their own perceptions that a particular group of applicants need assistance.”
The university will try to conform to these requests “as much as possible,” according to Wojcicki.
The Illinois Realtors scholarship fund has previously created a need-based endowed scholarship for students in the College of Business in Management.
Each year students are awarded $261,830 from these scholarships. Of this total, $25,600 is from the Access Illinois scholarship campaign, which will occasionally match a scholarship. The largest such scholarship is the Richard C. and Charlene L. Osborne Scholarship, which awards $10,000 each year and is matched by Access Illinois through 2023.
The UIS website explains the concept of an endowment, saying, “An endowment is a self-renewing resource that the university holds in perpetuity…and does not spend. Instead, endowed gifts are invested.”
These gifts are important to the university’s functioning, and “[e]ach endowment is a source of permanent financial support above and beyond the income generated by student tuition and fees.” The university also applies a “small administrative fee” to such funds.
According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® website, the organization is “the only advocate for private property rights at the State Capitol in Springfield and in city halls across Illinois.”
The association has ties back to 1916, when it is claimed that “real estate leaders from around Illinois banded together…to unite brokers, agents, dealers, and owners for the purpose of formulating, promoting, and enforcing high standards of ethics in relation to transactions in real estate.”
The group draws specific attention to the term realtor which is described as “a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and subscribes to its code of ethics.”
Members of the group have access to education, health care, legal advice, and free contracts and forms that may aid the member in his or her daily business. To join the association one must have a real estate license and complete a recurring two-and-a-half-hour ethics course.