Presidential Scholars Program

Who We Are

The NIU Presidential Scholars are a prestigious cohort of high-achieving students who contribute to the diversity of NIU's student population and demonstrate a commitment to our shared values.

The Award Levels

The NIU Presidential Scholars Program recognizes outstanding high school students for their hard work and academic accomplishments. Eligible students are guaranteed a minimum merit scholarship of $5,000 per year (for up to four years) and have the opportunity to compete for a Presidential Scholarship. This competitive scholarship provides full tuition, fees and on-campus room and board, along with a book stipend, for up to four years. Approximately 10 students will receive this award each year.

Dates And Deadlines

  • November 1, 2021: eligible students will be invited to apply on a rolling basis. Letters will be sent approximately two weeks after being admitted.
  • December 1, 2021: application for admission and all required documents for admissions must be received by December 1. Late submissions will not be considered.
  • January 7, 2022: deadline to submit the scholarship application. Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • February 2022: applicants notified of status. Finalists may be invited to interview.
  • March 15, 2022: recipients notified.

Eligibility Requirements

  • First-time, full-time, incoming freshman student for fall 2022.
  • Minimum 3.8/4.0 cumulative (weighted) high school GPA.
  • Domestic residency.

How to Get the Presidential Scholarship

The university considers the following factors:

  • Academic achievement
    • Exceptional academic achievement is extremely important.
    • Incoming freshmen with a cumulative high school grade point (weighted) average of 3.8/4.0 will be invited to apply.
    • Many applicants will have completed AP, IB or advanced coursework and will have demonstrated a keen interest in acquiring knowledge within and outside of the classroom.
  • Community, civic and co-curricular involvement
    • The Presidential Scholarship application includes short personal statements and allows you the opportunity to present your unique experiences and accomplishments in these areas.
    • Our Presidential Scholars demonstrate their commitment to understanding their role in society, contributing to the greater good and modeling this commitment through leadership and sustained community involvement.
  • In addition to completing a basic questionnaire, you must respond to four personal statement prompts in 125 words or less each. 
    • Service can be completed in formal or informal settings, such as through school, a community organization, a place of worship, or on your own. Reflect on an import service opportunity you have had. How did your actions improve the lives of others?
    • A leader can be described as anyone who wants to work with others to make a difference. This type of leadership is carried out in formal or informal roles, such as with family, or in a school or social situation. Describe one experience where you were able to make a difference through your leadership.
    • Injustice can be experienced on a personal and/or societal level. Please share a social justice issue that resonates with you and explain what you have done or would like to do to support this cause.
    • What academic and/or personal goals would you like to achieve by the time you complete college?

Renewal Requirements

The Presidential Scholars are subject to yearly renewal requirements:

  • Continuous full-time enrollment (fall and spring semester each academic year).
  • Minimum 3.3 cumulative grade point average per academic year.
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate (non-professional) program of study.
  • Active participation in the University Honors Program, including satisfactory completion of University Honors graduation requirements.

Contact Us

Financial Aid and Scholarship Office
Swen Parson Hall 245

For scholarship-specific questions

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