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Presidential Scholarship


The Presidential Scholarship is NIU’s most prestigious merit scholarship. The scholarship provides full in-state tuition, mandatory fees, and on-campus room and board for up to four years. The Presidential Scholarship is not automatic; due to the limited number that we offer each year, the process is very competitive and only available to first-time, incoming freshman students for the fall semester (spring applicants are not considered for the Presidential Scholarship).

Students who meet the fall priority deadline (November 15) as well as the minimum academic credentials of 33 ACT composite and 3.75 high school GPA will be invited to submit a special application for the Presidential Scholarship.  Eligible students must submit the application for admission as well as any required documents (transcript, test score, application fee or waiver) no later than November 15, in order to be considered for the scholarship.  Early application is encouraged, to allow adequate time for the scholarship application process.

The Presidential Scholarship application will require information about extra- and co-curricular activities, community service, and leadership roles, as well as a creative writing essay on an assigned topic. The applications are reviewed by the University Scholarships Committee. A select number of finalists are then invited to attend an on-campus interview day in early spring; from that group of students, approximately 10 students will be named Presidential Scholars each year.


November 15: Eligible students should have admission application and all supporting documents submitted.  It will take approximately 2-4 weeks to receive your invitation to apply for the Presidential scholarships.
December 15: Deadline to submit Presidential Scholarship application.
Mid-January: Students are notified if they have been selected for an interview.
Late January/Early February: Presidential Scholarship Interview Day (mandatory, by invitation only).
Mid-February: Students are notified if they have been named as a Presidential Scholar.

The Presidential Scholarship provides more than a full financial scholarship for a great education. Presidential Scholars are required to actively participate in the University Honors Program and thus can benefit from priority course registration, the Honors House residential option, specialized curriculum, and faculty connections. In addition, the Presidential Scholars are asked to volunteer at Interview Day. Other opportunities include formal and informal mentoring, networking, social, and philanthropic activities.

The Presidential Scholars cohort is comprised of like-minded and academically-motivated students from a variety of disciplines on campus. NIU Presidential Scholars are well-rounded and civically-minded. They participate in research, athletics, study abroad, marching band, student government, intramural sports, and any other number of our 300+ student organizations.

Questions should be directed to

Contact Us

Scholarship Office
Swen Parson Hall 245K
Northern Illinois University
815-753-4829 or
Fax: 815-753-9475

Business Hours
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.