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NIU pledges $5M in new scholarships for Illinois students

October 10, 2018

Students who have attended high school in Illinois—especially those from DeKalb County and the city of Chicago—are the focus of new scholarship incentives announced this week.

Funded by a $2.73 million grant from the state of Illinois matched by the university, NIU’s AIM HIGH Scholarships will boost the institution’s available awards nearly 30 percent. The program kicks off in fall 2019 for first-time freshmen and transfer students.

“These new scholarships underscore our efforts to not only keep NIU an affordable choice for all students, but to hang onto and develop the talent we have right here in Illinois,” said Vice President of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications Sol Jensen. “Along with our other recent affordability measures, we hope AIM HIGH will incentivize students across the state to consider an education close to home.”

In addition to having attended an Illinois high school, eligible students must qualify for one of NIU’s Merit Scholarships based on academic credentials and meet AIM HIGH standards for income and other factors set by the state. Recipients will be eligible for an additional $1,000 to $2,500 annually, while a subset of hyper-local scholarships will benefit the communities within NIU’s regional footprint.

These Partner Scholarships provide one-time awards of $3,000 specifically for students from DeKalb County and Chicagoland who are:

  • Graduates of any DeKalb County high school.
  • Transfers from Kishwaukee College in Malta.
  • Graduates of a public high school in Chicago.
  • City Colleges of Chicago transfers who meet Star Scholarship criteria.

DeKalb County high school graduates who are active members of Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) may be eligible for an additional one-time $1,000 award, and the City Colleges of Chicago scholarship is renewable for a second year.

To be considered for AIM HIGH and Partner Scholarships, students must file a FAFSA by NIU’s priority deadline of Dec. 1. For more information, visit