Since 1984, the President of the University of Illinois has hosted an annual Salute to Academic Achievement event to honor and recruit the state's most talented students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups, and underrepresented counties in the state of Illinois.

The 2018 Salute to Academic Achievement (SAA) is an invitation-only event that includes a College Fair, Luncheon and Program at the Hilton Chicago. Through SAA, the University endeavors to recognize the academic accomplishments of the state's most talented underrepresented high school seniors, and to encourage them to consider attending one of the three universities of the University of Illinois System. The attendees include high school seniors, their parents and high school counselors, as well as the representatives from the three universities who staff the College Fair. Last year over 800 were in attendance.

At the College Fair representatives from the three universities of the University of Illinois System, including staff from each college, are on hand to answer questions about academics, financial aid, housing and admissions.

Invited students who attend SAA will receive fee waivers for future applications for admission, as well as a Certificate of Academic Achievement.