A Clear Path

We’ll Get Right to the Point. You Can Afford NIU.

We make it easy to get help paying for college. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the best way to explore your options.

The filing period for the 2023-2024 academic year opened on October 1 at studentaid.gov.

Filling out your FAFSA is about more than receiving federal aid, such as grants, work-study and loans. Our Financial Aid and Scholarship Office uses FAFSA results to determine your eligibility every year for most types of financial assistance and some scholarships.

Some funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you submit your completed FAFSA, the more likely you are to receive assistance if you are eligible. Be sure to use us as a resource! We’ll answer your FAFSA questions and walk you through the process.

If you’re an Illinois resident but ineligible for federal aid as an undocumented or transgender student, you can apply for state assistance through the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid instead of the FAFSA.

Filling Your FAFSA for 2023-24

How We Support Our Huskies

In all, over 80% of our undergraduate students receive support paying for college. And we’re proud to say our incoming first-year Huskies earned more scholarship money than ever!

What does that mean for future Huskies?

Along with our test-free admission and merit scholarship process, you can count on our growing financial aid and scholarship opportunities to help you access and afford the life-changing education you deserve. Oh, and it’s also free to apply.

We don’t want anything to stand in your way.

A Pledge. A Promise. And a World of Possibility.

Huskie Pledge

Funded by the state of Illinois’ AIM HIGH Program, our Huskie Pledge program ensures that qualifying Illinois students from lower-income households can attend college with their tuition and general fees covered by financial aid for their first year and potentially beyond.

Yep, we’ll cover your tuition and general fees with gift aid (financial aid you don’t have to pay back), if you’re a qualifying Illinois high school senior graduating in May and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above.

Apply for admission to NIU, file a FAFSA or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid by the priority deadline of Feb. 1, 2023, and we’ll take it from there. For our Huskie Pledge recipients, we cover the tuition and general fee expenses not met by other financial aid. Huskie Pledge Grants will continue to be awarded after the priority deadline if funds remain available.

We know the time and energy you’ve already invested in your studies. We want to invest in you.

By the Numbers:

  • 40% of our Fall 2022 incoming first-year class (987 students) received NIU’s Huskie Pledge.
  • Of those 987 students, 73% are the first in their families to go to college.
  • Of those 987students, 451 are graduates of the Chicago Public Schools.
  • The average recipient of the Huskie Pledge received $3,601.
Huskie Pride sign in Rockford

Rockford Promise at NIU

For eligible students, the Rockford Promise at NIU guarantees that tuition and general fee costs will be met by gift aid such as grants and scholarships for up to four years at NIU. 

That means qualifying graduates of Rockford Public School District 205 whose families reside within the city of Rockford limits could earn bachelor’s degrees at NIU without paying any tuition and general fee out-of-pocket costs. (Housing costs are not covered by this program.)

Along with funding, Rockford Promise at NIU students receive support services—including mentoring, job-readiness training and access to a community of other area scholars.

By the Numbers:

  • 133 new freshmen from the city of Rockford took advantage of the Rockford Promise in Fall 2022.
  • Of those students, 65% are the first in their families to go to college.
  • The average GPA of Fall 2021 Rockford Promise recipients was 3.59.NIU’s financial commitment to Rockford Promise students is over $1.8 million.

Test-free Merit Scholarships

We don’t think your future should rest on one test. So we don’t consider standardized test scores for admission, merit scholarships or our University Honors Program. Instead, we look at your cumulative high school or transfer GPA.

The hard work you put in every day during high school shows in your grades — and shows us you're ready to be a Huskie. 

Apply for Fall 2023 by Dec. 1 as an incoming first-year student or by March 1 as a transfer student, and we’ll automatically consider you for our merit scholarships. The amount depends on your cumulative GPA, but you could earn up to $7,000 a year as an incoming first-year student and up to $2,000 a year as a transfer student.

By the Numbers:

  • About 78 percent of incoming first-year students received merit scholarships, compared to 71 percent in Fall 2021.
  • Over a two-year span from 2020 to 2022, NIU has increased the total dollar amount of merit scholarships awarded by 88% (from $5 million to $9.379 million).
  • The total number of enrolled new freshmen receiving merit scholarships increased by 12% (from 1,698 last year to 1,910 this fall).

That’s Not All

We offer additional scholarships for first-year students and transfers, as well as numerous other financial aid and grant opportunities.

And our new Student Financial Advising Services can help you understand your financial options to make sure you’re receiving the maximum benefits of financial assistance. See what we can offer you.

Summer Fitzgerald

“The financial support at NIU has made my experience so enlightening as I am not stressing over bills and payments that are due.”

Summer Fitzgerald,
communication studies major from Gardner, IL

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