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University Honors Scholarships and Tuition Waivers

Awards for Current and Transfer Students

These awards are made possible by generous donations to the NIU Foundation as well as resources from the University Honors Program and the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Students may apply for all scholarships and tuition waivers for which they are qualified. These awards are highly competitive; thus, meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee an award. Students may reapply for any available resources and positions in subsequent years.

Eligibility for the listed scholarship or tuition waiver awards is based on the following criteria:

  • A complete application form, including the required 500-word essay.
  • Must be a current University Honors student in good academic standing at the time of application.
  • Must be a full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate student at the time of application.
  • Must be returning as a full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate student for the 2016-2017 academic year.
  • Must maintain good academic standing at NIU and in the University Honors Program during the year of the award and be enrolled in at least one University Honors Course (GenEd, seminar, mini-section, or in-course contract when none of the aforementioned options are available).
  • Must demonstrate strong academic merit through a high cumulative GPA.
  • Must meet any additional award specific criteria (as detailed below).
  • We do not require nor will we consider letters of recommendation (with the exception of University Honors Fellow transfer applications).
  • Your résumé must be on file with University Honors.
  • The recipient of any of these awards must demonstrate a spirit of community to NIU through participation in at least eight activities sponsored by University Honors (see note under each scholarship)
  • No late applications will be accepted.

Ari & Ruth Kovacevich Distinguished Scholarship
(one-year award for 2016-17 academic year)

Award-Specific Criteria

  • Must be in good academic standing at NIU
  • Must possess a minimum SAT score of 1100 or ACT score of 25
  • Must be a graduate of an Illinois high school or an Arlington County, Virginia high school
  • Preference may be given to students who have expressed a sincere interest in the areas of education, political science with an emphasis in international relations, economic systems of other countries, and/or foreign languages

Note: The Honors Program offers many opportunities to engage in exciting programming. Per University Honors guidelines, as the recipient of this award, it is expected that you will demonstrate a spirit of community to NIU through participation in at least eight activities sponsored by University Honors—such as Recruiting and Open Houses, Peer Mentoring, Birthday Boxes, Hot Lunch / Hot Topics, Honors Student Association (HSA), or The Luminary—over the course of the year. Attendance at events or the organizations meetings, by itself, is not sufficient, rather we ask that you take a leadership role and we will require that you submit a report to us at the end of the academic year.

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James L. Massey Honors Scholarship
(one-year award for 2016-17 academic year)

Award-Specific Criteria

  • Must embody Dr. Massey's values by exhibiting meritorious achievement in academia, broad-based interests and involvement in the community
  • Must be enrolled full-time in the fall and spring semester, actively involved in the University Honors Program and demonstrate continued involvement and leadership on campus

Note: The Honors Program offers many opportunities to engage in exciting programming. Per University Honors guidelines, as the recipient of this award, it is expected that you will demonstrate a spirit of community to NIU through participation in at least eight activities sponsored by University Honors—such as Recruiting and Open Houses, Peer Mentoring, Birthday Boxes, Hot Lunch / Hot Topics, Honors Student Association (HSA), or The Luminary—over the course of the year. Attendance at events or the organizations meetings, by itself, is not sufficient, rather we ask that you take a leadership role and we will require that you submit a report to us at the end of the academic year.

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Dick Noreen Honors Scholarship
(one-year award for 2016-17 academic year)

Award-Specific Criteria

  • Must be actively involved in the University Honors Program for at least one year prior to applying for the award and in good standing in the University Honors Program

Note: The Honors Program offers many opportunities to engage in exciting programming. Per University Honors guidelines, as the recipient of this award, it is expected that you will demonstrate a spirit of community to NIU through participation in at least eight activities sponsored by University Honors—such as Recruiting and Open Houses, Peer Mentoring, Birthday Boxes, Hot Lunch / Hot Topics, Honors Student Association (HSA), or The Luminary—over the course of the year. Attendance at events or the organizations meetings, by itself, is not sufficient, rather we ask that you take a leadership role and we will require that you submit a report to us at the end of the academic year.

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University Honors Excellence Award (Partial Tuition Waiver)
(one-year award for 2016-17 academic year)

Award-Specific Criteria

  • Must be in good academic standing at NIU and within the University Honors Program
  • Must possess a minimum SAT score of 1200 or ACT score of 27
  • Preference will be given to students of high academic merit as evidenced by a strong cumulative GPA and with demonstrated financial need by filing a FAFSA.

Note: The Honors Program offers many opportunities to engage in exciting programming. Per University Honors guidelines, as the recipient of this award, it is expected that you will demonstrate a spirit of community to NIU through participation in at least eight activities sponsored by University Honors—such as Recruiting and Open Houses, Peer Mentoring, Birthday Boxes, Hot Lunch / Hot Topics, Honors Student Association (HSA), or The Luminary—over the course of the year. Attendance at events or the organizations meetings, by itself, is not sufficient, rather we ask that you take a leadership role and we will require that you submit a report to us at the end of the academic year.

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University Honors House Leader
(one-year position for 2016-17 academic year)

University Honors House Leaders develop academic and social programming in the University Honors House living-learning community that appeals to students, enriches their NIU experience, and promotes a strong sense of fellowship. They also serve as leaders and sources of advice, information, and support for University Honors students who live in the Honors House. House Leaders work approximately 20 hours per month.

Benefits: Up to $8,000/year transfer to the student’s Office of the Bursar’s account; “titanium” meal plan valued at approximately $3,500/year; access to all amenities of NIU’s New Residence Hall Complex; leadership development opportunity.

Award-Specific Criteria

  • Must choose to live in the University Honors House within NIU’s New Residence Hall Complex. Cost of room is not included in the University Honors House Leader compensation package
  • Hiring subject to a successful interview
  • Applicants must submit a separate essay (no more than one-page, single space in 12 pt. font) that identifies and describes what the applicant considers to be the three most important competencies of a University Honors House leader, detail how they have demonstrated these competencies in their work and educational experiences and how they define the ideal University Honors House experience
  • A large portion of this position involves programming, advertising and creativity

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University Honors Fellow
(one-year position for 2016-17 academic year)

University Honors Fellows serve as student members of the University Honors Program staff. They stand as outstanding student representatives and ambassadors of the program. Fellows work approximately 20 hours per month during the academic year in an assigned area. These areas include but are not limited to recruitment, peer academic advising, peer mentoring, developing programming for students outside the Honors House, leading community service projects and assisting prospective students. All fellows work at the freshmen orientation program at the Lorado Taft Field Campus and assist with other University Honors or NIU-sponsored events as needed.

Benefits: $5,000/year (or $2,500/semester) tuition waiver; leadership development opportunity.

Award Specific Criteria: There are three different categories for this award, each with its own criteria.

  1. New Fellow Applicant - Returning NIU Student
    • Must have earned 30 to 75 credit hours at NIU by May 2016
    • Must be active on campus and committed to representing and promoting the University Honors Program and building a strong sense of community among all University Honors students
    • Applicants must submit a separate essay explaining why they would like to become a University Honors Fellow, why they believe they would be an effective University Honors Fellow, and what they would like to achieve as a University Honors Fellow (no more than 500 words)
    • Hiring subject to a successful interview
  2. Returning Fellow Applicant - Returning NIU Student
    • Must have previously served no more than one year as a University Honors Fellow and have been active on campus and served successfully as such
    • Applicants must submit a report of their activities and projects as a fellow and their success in those pursuits and what they would like to achieve in a second year as a University Honors Fellow (no more than 1000 words)
    • Continuation of the position is subject to a half hour evaluation meeting with the University Honors staff
  3. New Fellow Applicant - Transfer Student
    • Must have completed a Community College honors program with no fewer than 12 credit hours, preferably 15 credit hours, by May 2015. Preference will be given to students from Kishwaukee College and Highland Community College
    • Must be active on campus within your current CC honors program
    • Must be committed to representing and promoting the University Honors Program at NIU and building a strong sense of community among transfer and non-traditional students within the University Honors Program
    • Applicants must submit a separate essay explaining why they would like to become a University Honors Fellow, why they believe they would be effective in that role and what they would like to achieve as a University Honors Fellow (no more than 1000 words) and also provide a letter of support from their Community College Honors Program director
    • Hiring subject to a successful interview

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The Arthur P. and Sue Warrick Doederlein Scholarship
(one-year award for the 2016-17 academic year)

The purpose of this fund is support a senior undergraduate student in either the CHANCE Program or the University Honors Program who are seeking a degree in the humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at NIU. Arthur served for more than thirty years as the Undergraduate Studies Director in the Department of Communication. One of his earliest positions at Northern was professor in the CHANCE program; his involvement with that ethnically diverse and very special population remained a center of his professional life. He also taught in the University Honors Program and directed many Honors capstone projects. Sue was a professor of English who went on to become Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a role she enjoyed for more than thirty years. Her most demanding and important teaching assignments were in the CHANCE and Honors programs. Through this scholarship, they celebrate those disciplines that centered their lives.

Benefits: up to $4,000/year (or $2,000/semester) scholarship. The award alternates between the UHP and CHANCE each year.

Award-Specific Criteria: 

  1. Must be a senior, full-time student seeking a degree within the humanities and
    1. must have been admitted to NIU through the University Honors Program or the CHANCE Program (transfer students may not be considered for this award)
  2. Must have a G.P.A. of 3.2 in the Honors Program
  3. Awards one scholarship per year
  4. The associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must approve the award along with the UHP scholarship committee

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Applications are open in AcademicWorks.

The 2017-2018 application is open Monday, December 1, 2016 through Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

Contact Us About Scholarships and Grants

Jason Goode
Campus Life Building 110
DeKalb, IL 60115

Phone: 815-753-9509
Email: jason@niu.edu