NIU awarded $21 million in American Rescue Plan Act federal relief for student aid
July 20, 2021

Dear Students,


I’m writing to provide you with information about the funding that NIU has received from the federal government.


We continue to see the effects of COVID-19 on our families and communities, and we are appreciative that NIU has received $21 million in additional federal relief funding to help our students, including those who are enrolled only in distance education programs. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has expanded its eligibility criteria to include our undocumented and international students.


This funding is part of the American Rescue Plan Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III) and is focused on helping students cover the cost of attending NIU and emergency costs due to the coronavirus. Examples of such costs are tuition, food, housing, health care, mental health care and child care.


NIU will provide automatic grants to students who have significant financial need, based on criteria established by NIU. The university also will add additional funds to the NIU Student Emergency Fund.




ARPA grants of $1,200, $800 or $500 will be issued to students who meet the exceptional financial need criteria. The award amount will be based on an expected family contribution (EFC) tiered range where students who have the most exceptional financial need are prioritized to receive the largest award amounts.


You might qualify for this grant if you are an undergraduate, graduate or law school student and were enrolled at least half time during the Spring 2021 term. NIU will use federal and/or state criteria to determine eligibility and will issue automatic ARPA grants to students who have demonstrated exceptional financial need based on income information provided in 2020-2021.


Grants will be issued automatically if you qualify; you do not need to apply for the funding. Eligible students will receive emails Wednesday, July 21, regarding grant distribution.


Students who receive this money can use the funds for their cost of attending NIU or emergency costs due to the coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care, mental health care or child care. Students also have the option to apply those funds directly to their account balances to pay toward eligible charges.




Beginning Sept. 15, some federal funds will provide limited emergency financial assistance to students who certify that they have exceptional financial need due to loss of income or extraordinary emergency costs.


TO APPLY, or for more information, please visit the Student Emergency Fund website.


I hope you are enjoying your summer. I look forward to welcoming you back to campus and the classroom this fall. 


Beth Ingram

Executive Vice President and Provost

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