DeKalb County Scholarship awards on the rise

Community investment resulting in renewed local interest

NIU director of scholarships Anne Hardy (center-left) with DeKalb High School scholarship recipients May 23 (Photo Credit: Chad Gregory, D428)

An initiative designed to provide additional opportunity for local students to attend Northern Illinois University is paying dividends.  Based on incoming freshman confirmations for the fall 2012 semester, the number of students from DeKalb County public schools is up 37 percent from a year ago.

“The DeKalb County Scholarship, along with a number of other new recruitment programs, has led to an increase in interest in NIU from local high school students,” says Kitty McCarthy, NIU associate vice president for enrollment management.  “We are excited about this growth and very pleased with the results of this investment in our community.”

Northern Illinois University’s DeKalb County Scholarship program, which awards local students $4,000 per year for up to two years in order to assist students with tuition expenses at NIU, was first enacted for the fall 2011 semester.

Victoria Voorhis will attend NIU beginning fall 2012

“I was honored and very thankful to receive this scholarship,” says DeKalb High School senior Victoria Voorhis, who will receive the scholarship and attend NIU beginning this fall. “I didn’t want to waste this opportunity, and I knew if I chose to attend a different college, I would regret my decision. I, as well as my dad and family, am very appreciative that I have received this, and I am truly looking forward to starting this new chapter in my life at NIU.”

“The schools within DeKalb County are very much our partners in creating successful outcomes for students, says Anne Hardy, director of scholarships at Northern Illinois University. “As DeKalb’s hometown university, we are committed to encouraging our students in their pursuit of higher education for the benefit of the individual students and their families, as well as the value that higher education offers to the entire community.”

The scholarship is renewable for a second year provided the recipients maintain full-time enrollment at NIU with a cumulative grade point average of 2.75. Students admitted to NIU as first-time freshmen who will graduate from a DeKalb County high school in the Class of 2012 are automatically considered for a scholarship. Scholarships will be offered to select students on an ongoing basis as long as funds remain available.

Expanding the number of NIU’s merit-based scholarships is a key component of the university’s Vision 2020 Initiative.  President John G. Peters announced in his Sept. 2011 state of the university address that NIU will attract more top high school students, provide significantly more academic scholarships, and engage many more students in its honors program. Nearly 1,700 new students enrolled last fall with an NIU merit-based scholarship–an increase of 35 percent over the previous year. For many of those students, the scholarship was the deciding factor in choosing NIU.

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