Northeastern Illinois University is unveiling the Golden Opportunity Scholarship to offset the cost of attendance for Illinois residents.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP?
The Golden Opportunity Scholarship is a state scholarship program designed to significantly reduce and in many cases offset the cost of attendance for newly admitted full-time freshmen and transfer students who qualify and enroll at Northeastern Illinois University during the fall semester. This opportunity is administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the AIM HIGH grant program encouraging Illinois high school graduates to pursue postsecondary education within the State of Illinois.
HOW IS THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP FUNDED?
In Spring 2018, the Higher Education Working Group — a bipartisan group of Illinois legislators interested in finding common ground and viable solutions — proposed and passed a new merit-based grant program. That program — the AIM HIGH grant program — was signed into law in August 2018. The Golden Opportunity Scholarship is dependent on that grant and on annual state appropriation.
WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS?
To be considered for the Golden Opportunity Scholarship, a prospective student must:
- submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Illinois Alternative Application;
- have not yet received a baccalaureate degree or has the equivalent of 135 semester credit hours;
- not be incarcerated;
- be an Illinois resident who graduated from an Illinois high school;
- be admitted to Northeastern as an incoming, first-time, full-time freshman or transfer student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester;
- have a household income less than eight times the poverty guideline;
- have a minimum high school or transfer academic GPA of 3.0 and maintain a minimum Northeastern academic GPA of 3.0 for period of eligibility (four years for freshmen, two years for transfer); and
- meet Minimum Standards of Academic Progress for period of eligibility.
HOW DO I APPLY?
To apply, prospective students must complete an admission application to Northeastern and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Be sure to include Northeastern Illinois University school code 001693 on your FAFSA application.
DOES THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP COVER MY ENTIRE TIME AT NORTHEASTERN?
Perhaps! New freshmen can receive up to eight continuous fall and spring semesters (four years total) of the Golden Opportunity Scholarship along with other financial assistance, such as the Federal Pell Grant, as long as the Minimum Standards of Academic Progress and the minimum academic GPA requirements are maintained.
WHAT COSTS ARE COVERED BY THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP?
Golden Opportunity Scholarship may cover up to the cost of attendance (must register for at least 12 credit hours) for eight consecutive fall and spring semesters.
CAN I RECEIVE OTHER FINANCIAL AID FUNDING IN ADDITION TO THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP?
Yes. The Golden Opportunity Scholarship is intended to significantly reduce and possibly offset the cost of attendance. Additional aid such as grants, scholarships, loans and student employment can also be received in order to assist in paying other educational expenses such as living expenses, books and other personal or miscellaneous expenses. Keep in mind, the total financial aid package cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance reflected in the student portal (NEIUport), My Financial Aid tab.
ARE TRANSFER STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP?
Yes. Eligibility two years.
ARE CURRENT NORTHEASTERN STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP?
Yes. The Illinois AIM HIGH grant program has a renewable option for students receiving the award during their first year, as long as other eligibility criteria are met. Not to exceed eight consecutive, full-time, fall and spring semesters from freshmen admission.
ARE DACA OR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP?
Yes. As long as all other eligibility criteria are met.
HOW DO I RENEW THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP EACH ACADEMIC YEAR?
The Golden Opportunity Scholarship is renewable each year! To remain eligible, you must:
- maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress;
- FAFSA or Alternative Application preferred with household income not to exceed eight times the poverty guideline;
- maintain a GPA of at least a 3.0; and
- maintain full-time enrollment at Northeastern Illinois University.
WHAT IF I DO NOT MEET THE MINIMUM STANDARDS OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) REQUIREMENTS IN A GIVEN SEMESTER?
Students must meet the Minimum Standards of Academic Progress to continue receiving the Golden Opportunity Scholarship. Eligible SAP status occurs by meeting the requirements of the SAP policy or having financial aid eligibility reinstated.
CAN FUNDING BE USED DURING ANY PART OF the SUMMER SEMESTER?
At this time, Golden Opportunity Scholarship funding is offered only for the fall and spring semesters.
WHEN WILL I BE ADVISED IF I QUALIFY FOR THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP?
As a new freshman, you will receive an award offer by mail and the award will be listed. In addition, the Golden Opportunity Scholarship will also be reflected in the NEIUport (Northeastern’s student portal) Financial Aid Awards channel.
WHAT IF MY FAMILY’S INCOME EXCEEDS eight times the poverty guideline my first year?
As long as your family’s adjusted gross income does not exceed eight times the poverty guideline (e.g., median $139,360) after your first year, you will meet that eligibility requirement for the Golden Opportunity Scholarship for up to four consecutive years assuming state funding is available.
HOW MANY CREDIT HOURS ARE CONSIDERED FULL-TIME FOR ELIGIBILITY?
Eligible students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours to be considered full-time eligible.