What is the Dunham Education Scholars Program?

With generous support from the Dunham Fund, North Central College established the Dunham Education Scholars program for students from the greater Aurora area with a declared major in education and a desire to return to the Aurora area as dedicated teachers. The program provides a $25,000 scholarship, mentoring, networking and field experiences in Aurora schools – all designed to launch our Dunham Scholars into a successful teaching career in the Aurora area.

Who is eligible for the Dunham Scholarship?

Students applying for the Dunham Education Scholarship must:

  • Reside within the Dunham Fund service area (bounded on the north by Illinois State Route 38, on the south by U.S. Route 34, on the east by Illinois State Route 59 and on the west by Illinois State Route 47)
  • Be an education major and commit to teaching in the Aurora area after graduation
  • Receive 22 or above on the ACT (with writing) OR 1110 on the SAT (with writing)
  • Have a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.0

dunham service area

Benefits of being a Dunham Education Scholar


  • An annual scholarship award of $5,000 for first-year and sophomore students and up to $7,500 for juniors and seniors
  • Additional scholarship funds for students interested in pursuing a bilingual endorsement
  • Reimbursement of state-mandated test fees for education majors
  • Individualized guidance from the program coordinator and peer support group

More benefits


  • Access to a North Central College alumni mentor who is a professional educator in Aurora
  • Regular professional and personal development workshops with expert speakers on topics like loan forgiveness for teachers, organization and planning, resume development, technology, networking, interviewing and time management
  • Opportunities to attend professional conferences
  • $1,000 stipend for classroom materials as a first-year teacher at a school within the Dunham Fund service area
teacher and students

About the Dunham Fund


The Dunham Fund of Aurora was established in 1996 to honor the legacy of John C. Dunham, who graduated from West Aurora High School and attended North Central College. He had a dream of “making the world a more comfortable, safer place for mankind to live and prosper.” Widely known and highly respected as a champion of enterprise and education, Dunham conceived the philanthropic direction for the Dunham Fund, which is to support organizations that are engaged in providing education and assisting individuals from the greater Aurora area.

student in class

Learn more by checking out our brochure


Dunham Scholar Testimonials

Student Testimonials from East Aurora High School Alumni

Student Testimonials from West Aurora High School Alumni

Student Testimonials

Alumni Testimonials


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teacher in classroom