NIU Investing in the Future with $5 Million in New Scholarships

October 11, 2018

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New Programs Represent a 30 Percent Boost in Scholarships for 2019

DeKALB, Ill. -- Two new scholarship programs at Northern Illinois University will make college even more affordable in fall 2019, with the potential to help cover the full cost of tuition and fees for many incoming students.

AIM HIGH and NIU Partner scholarships will be made available to eligible first-time college or transfer students from Illinois. Students who qualify may be able to cover full tuition and fees by stacking these scholarships on top of NIU Merit Scholarships and other grants or financial aid. In some instances, recipients also will receive funds that can be applied to NIU housing, books and other educational expenses.

"Too often we see students with outstanding high school academic credentials, who express interest in studying at NIU, but who ultimately choose not to pursue college at all, often because of cost," said NIU President Lisa Freeman. "The AIM HIGH and NIU partner scholarships, when combined with other aid, can completely change the equation for many of those students, by opening the door to an NIU degree– and all of the life-changing opportunities that provides."

The new programs are part of NIU's pledge to increase available scholarship funding by nearly 30 percent in the fall of 2019. The scholarships are funded by a $2.73 million grant from the State of Illinois AIM HIGH program, which was matched by NIU. "We are grateful for the state's willingness to invest in these talented students. We are thrilled to match that commitment, and to invest in Illinois' future," Freeman said.

AIM HIGH Scholarship Eligibility

AIM HIGH Scholarships can provide up to $2,500 annually to students applying to NIU for fall 2019. Recipients must either be currently enrolled in an Illinois high school, or a transfer student who previously attended an Illinois high school. They also must:

Incoming freshmen who continue to meet requirements for minimum class loads and grade point average can renew their scholarships until graduation, resulting in a four-year value of anywhere between $16,000 and $38,000 in support, depending upon the merit scholarship they receive. For qualifying transfer students, the two-year value could range from $2,000 to $9,000, depending upon the level of Transfer Merit Scholarship they receive. Scholarships for both incoming freshmen and transfers can be renewed until the student accrues 135 hours of college credit.

Partner Scholarship Eligibility

The new NIU Partner Scholarships provide one-time $3,000 scholarships to students who attend schools that traditionally have strong ties to NIU.

To qualify, a student must meet AIM HIGH standards for household income and other factors set by the state and must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid by Dec. 1, NIU's priority deadline.

Partner Scholarships are available to qualifying students who:

  • Will graduate from a DeKalb County high school and enroll at NIU in the fall of 2019, and who are not a recipient of the NIU Scholars merit award. (An additional $1,000 scholarship may be available to students who participate in the DeKalb County Community Foundation's Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program.)
  • Will transfer from Kishwaukee College to NIU in the fall of 2019
  • Will be 2019 graduates of a Chicago Public School's high school (but who are not a recipient of the NIU Scholars merit award)
  • Will transfer from a City Colleges of Chicago school in the fall of 2019 (available only to STAR scholars; renewable for one year with a 3.0 GPA)

A commitment to affordability

"NIU has long been committed to providing support to students in need," said Vice President of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications Sol Jensen. "Currently, students from families with an annual income of $61,000 or less, receive (on average) enough aid to cover more than 90 percent of their tuition and fees."

He noted that NIU also has held undergraduate costs (tuition, fees, room and board) flat for three straight years and doesn't charge students for taking classes beyond 12 credit hours.

"These new scholarships are an extension of a long list of things we do to keep an NIU education affordable," said Jensen. "They continue to demonstrate how we are devoted to focusing on a brighter future for all who want to pursue a degree."

Support benefits not just students, but also the economy

Providing access to a college degree for talented students benefits all of Illinois, says Freeman, noting that students who study in state tend to stay closer to home when they start their careers.

"If we don't engage and educate capable graduates of Illinois high schools and community colleges, we are undermining the economic vitality of our state," she said. "Much of the economic strength of Illinois is built upon industries like healthcare, finance, agriculture, manufacturing and others that require highly educated individuals. These scholarships will help us meet those needs. An educated workforce will enable us to attract, create and retain high-wage jobs and new businesses."

For more information about the AIM HIGH and Partner Scholarships at Northern Illinois University visit


Northern Illinois University is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university, with expertise that benefits its region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health and law. Through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and education centers for students and working professionals in Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Oregon and Rockford, NIU offers more than 100 courses of study while serving a diverse and international student body. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Lisa Miner
Phone: 815-753-6069

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