Sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the Confucius Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (CI-UIUC) was established jointly by the UIUC College of Education and the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (CEAPS), with the partnership of Jiangxi Normal University (JXNU) in Jiangxi, China. The CI-UIUC also draws on considerable resources and expertise from a number of colleges at UIUC, including the College of Education, the College of Liberal Arts and Science and the Graduate College.

The institute aims to deliver the resources for students and local community members to learn Chinese culture and language, to construct a center for non-native Chinese speakers to take the Chinese language proficiency test (HSK), and, uniquely, to provide a platform for conducting research on the improvement and development of the HSK exam.