Merit Scholarships

When you apply for admission to NIU as an incoming freshman or transfer student, you’ll automatically be considered for merit scholarships. These are awarded based on your high school GPA and SAT/ACT score or on your transfer GPA. In addition, you’ll be considered for the Huskie Legacy Award, which is given to children of NIU alumni.

You’ll be notified about your merit scholarship in your admission letter. Full details will arrive about two weeks later in your scholarship letter. This letter will include information about additional steps, if any, you need to take to receive the full amount of the award.

For incoming freshmen, the scholarship you qualify for depends on your high school GPA and SAT/ACT score. Use our scholarship calculator or scholarship chart to estimate your scholarship amount.

Please note: The scholarship process differs for incoming international students. Learn more about scholarships for international students.

Scholarships for Incoming Freshmen

When you apply for admission as an incoming freshman, you’ll automatically be considered for one of the following merit scholarships:

  • Presidential Scholarship: Tuition, fees, room and board, and book stipend for four years. See below for more details.
  • NIU Scholars Award: $7,000 per year for four years.
  • Huskie Excellence Scholarship: $5,000 per year for four years.
  • Northern Academic Scholarship: $4,000 per year for four years.
  • Centennial Scholarship: $3,000 per year for four years.
  • NIU Merit Award: $3,000 per year for four years.

Presidential Scholarship

Our prestigious Presidential Scholarship is very competitive, and a limited number are awarded each year. You must apply for admission to the fall semester in order to be considered for this scholarship.  The minimum academic requirements are SAT 1450 (or ACT 33) and high school grade point average of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale.  Incoming freshmen who meet the academic requirements and December 1 deadline will be invited to apply for the Presidential scholarship shortly after admission.

Students who receive Presidential Scholarships participate in the University Honors Program, receiving benefits such as priority course registration and the opportunity to live in the Honors House. They also participate in a range of activities on campus, including research, athletics and student government, as well as mentoring, networking and volunteering activities.

Since this scholarship covers all required costs, Presidential Scholars may not be eligible to receive additional institutional scholarships.

If you have any questions about Presidential Scholarships, please email presidentialscholars@niu.edu.

Scholarships for Transfer Students

When you apply for admission as a transfer student, you’ll automatically be considered for a transfer merit scholarship. The amount of your merit scholarship depends on your cumulative transfer GPA:

  • 3.50-4.00 GPA: $2,000 per year for two years.
  • 3.25-3.49 GPA: $1,500 per year for two years.
  • 3.00-3.24 GPA: $1,000 per year for two years.

AIM HIGH Scholarships

AIM HIGH Scholarships are new programs funded by the State of Illinois, and are available for freshman and transfer students. Submit a FAFSA by December 1 to be considered for AIM HIgh scholarships (though AIM HIGH Scholarships will continue to be awarded as funds remain available).

Huskie Legacy Award

When you apply for admission as an incoming freshman or transfer student, you’ll automatically be considered for the Huskie Legacy Award, in addition to merit scholarships. This award is given to students whose parent or parents graduated from NIU. There is no deadline for this award. Qualifying students receive the $1,000 award in their first year at NIU.

Information for Recipients

If you received a merit scholarship, congratulations! We’re excited to welcome you to the NIU family.

To accept your scholarship, simply accept your admission to NIU in MyNIU. Learn more about this and subsequent admitted student next steps.

To keep your scholarship, you’ll need to successfully complete at least 12 credit hours each semester and maintain the GPA specified in your scholarship letter.

If you have any questions about your merit scholarship, visit merit scholarship FAQs.


Scholarship Deadlines

Your application for admission plus all required documents (transcript, test score, application fee or waiver) must be received by the priority deadline to be considered for a merit scholarship.  However, merit scholarships will continue to be awarded on a rolling basis after the priority deadline if funds remain available. 

Spring Admission

  • October 1 is the priority deadline for all spring merit scholarships.
  • The Presidential Scholarship is not awarded for the spring semester.

 Summer or Fall Admission

  • December 1 is the priority deadline for freshman merit scholarships, including the Presidential Scholarship.
  • March 1 is the priority deadline for transfer merit scholarships.

Huskie Spotlight

Judith Gil

Take advantage of scholarships—they are many and very real.

Contact Us

Financial Aid and Scholarship Office
Swen Parson Hall 245
815-753-1395
finaid@niu.edu

For scholarship-specific questions

scholarships@niu.edu

Additional Contact Info

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