The Fred S. Bailey Scholarship program was created by Fred S. Bailey to provide financial support to University of Illinois students who demonstrated unique skills and talents that would allow them to flourish as community leaders who could make a difference.

Over $100,000 in scholarships are awarded each year to students who demonstrate a record of leadership, scholarship and intelligence, evidence of thoughtful consideration of issues, involvement in their community, a commitment to giving back to their community, a history of community service and volunteering. Since 1957, the Bailey Scholarship has been administered by the YMCA of the University of Illinois.


As President of Champaign National Bank, Fred S. Bailey developed a strong appreciation for the University YMCA and believed in its commitment to develop and nurture ethical leaders who were committed to making the world a better place. When he passed away in 1955, his Will established the Fred Bailey Trust and designated two-thirds of the income to be paid to the University YMCA for scholarships to U of I students on the basis of "moral character, intelligence, leadership and scholarship without regard to their field of study."

Over the past fifty years, the University YMCA has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to thousands of University of Illinois students through the Bailey Scholarship Program. Since 2001, over 500 students have received $1.1 million in Bailey Scholarships.

In 2009, the University YMCA initiated a review of the Bailey Scholarship program to update and better integrate the Bailey Scholarship Program within the University YMCA. As a result, changes were made to the criteria with the emphasis being placed on service and action in addition to financial need and academic achievement. The 2009 review also resulted in the creation of the Bailey Leadership awards, four $5000 awards given to upcoming seniors who have made an exceptional impact in one of the following areas: Social Justice, Environment, Faith in Action, and International Issues.

In 2013, the program added the Fred S. Bailey Fellowship for Community Leadership, Service, and Activism to support graduate and professional students at the University of Illinois Urbana campus who have shown a strong commitment to community organizing, activism, and/or service.  The Fellowship offers a $12,600 stipend and a tuition and partial fee waiver for most programs. 

In the spring semester of 2014, the Fred S. Bailey scholarship program launched two new scholarship programs.  The FRED S. BAILEY INTERNATIONAL SERVICE TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP FOR CAUSE-DRIVEN LEADERS will offer scholarships of $600-1800 dollars for travel to University of Illinois undergraduate students leading international service projects.  The University YMCA’s Fred S. Bailey Unpaid Internship Scholarship program will provide $1000 and $2500 scholarships to students who accept unpaid internships with public service agencies and not for profit organizations.