Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I find scholarships?
- Does NIU automatically offer scholarships?
- Is there a single NIU scholarship form?
- When are the scholarship deadlines?
- If I file for Financial Aid, am I considered for scholarships?
- Will I receive a scholarship check from NIU?
- Do I need to wait until I am accepted for admission to NIU before I apply for scholarships?
- How do I know if I have received an NIU scholarship?
- Where do I mail my scholarship checks once I have received them?
- Why was my scholarship check split between two semesters?
- I applied for a scholarship some time ago and I have not heard. What should I do?
- How do I donate to an NIU Scholarship?
Students should be proactive in their search for scholarships. It takes time and effort, but can be well worth the work! Remember, the more scholarships you apply for, the more you are likely to receive. Some resources include:
- Visit the NIU ScholarshipFinder
- Visit the External/Private Scholarships Finder
- Visit the Other Scholarship Resources
- Utilize free search engines and databases online. Simply type "scholarships" into your internet browser. Just be certain to forego any sites that require confidential, personal information or cash guarantees.
- Students can work with their high school counselor to identify scholarships in their community, such as from local organizations, Lions' Clubs, VFW's, banks, churches, hospitals, etc. Family members can inquire at their places of employment as well.
Many scholarships for incoming students will be offered based on students' admissions application. For the 2015-2016 school year, click here for scholarship criteria and awards. Although some NIU departments may automatically consider all eligible students, the majority of NIU scholarships for current students require that students submit an application. This information can be found on the ScholarshipFinder, or by contacting the department.
Some scholarships may have a combined form. However, the majority of individual NIU scholarship programs require individual applications. The ScholarshipFinder will link to an application or an application page.
NIU scholarship deadlines tend to fall on or around February 1 for the upcoming academic year. Some deadlines will fall before or after February 1st. Be sure to check deadlines carefully. For students applying for admission for the fall 2015 semester, the priority application deadline is yet to be determined. Students are encouraged to submit completed applications and all required documents no later than November 17, 2014 to receive full consideration for merit scholarships.
Filing the FAFSA means that you are filing for financial aid such as need based grants and loans. NIU scholarship applications are separate from the FAFSA and tend to focus on academic merit, achievements, honors, talent, and involvement, though some may consider financial need as well.
Scholarships are automatically applied to a student's Bursars account; checks are not issued directly to students.
You do not need to wait to begin your search, however, many scholarships do require that you be formally admitted to the university by the scholarship deadline. Some scholarship applications may require that you log in with your Z-ID and NIU password; you will receive an ID and password once you have been admitted.
Typically, students are informed via letter or an e-mail sent to your Z-ID account. Award letters provide information regarding scholarship amounts and requirements for maintaining the award. It is important to thank your benefactors. A simple yet personal letter of gratitude is appropriate. Contact your awarding department for specific direction.
All scholarship checks are to be mailed to:
Northern Illinois University
Student Financial Aid
Swen Parson 245
DeKalb, IL 60115
Unless otherwise specified by the donor, scholarship checks are split between two semesters to evenly distribute the resources to the student. If the scholarship is for $1,000, there will be $500 for the fall semester and $500 for the spring semester.
Most departments and offices notify students if they have received the award as well as if they have not. If you have not heard anything, feel free to make a polite inquiry call to the offering department. They can at least inform you of the status of the process and let you know when you might expect to hear something.
If you are interested in donating to an NIU scholarship, or in starting your own NIU scholarship, please contact the NIU Foundation at 815-753-1386.