Golden Eagle Early Financial Aid Application Initiative

Submit 2022-23 FAFSA® after Oct. 1

Given the likelihood that 2022-23 MAP award announcements will need to be suspended at some point during the processing cycle, colleges are reminded to encourage students to submit the 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) or the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid (Alternative Application) as soon as possible after the applications become available on Oct. 1, 2022.

It is imperative that students complete the application process while funds are still available. Awarding of these funds come on a first come, first served basis for all qualified applicants. While completing your application and before submission remember these important tips:

  1. Have your user name and password (FSA ID) ready
  2. Double check that your information is correct before submitting the application
  3. Don’t close your browser until you see the confirmation page
  4. Print and save your confirmation page

paths to financial aid success

Step 1:


Your path to financial aid begins with filling out the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). It takes about 30 minutes to complete online. Upon submission of the application, eligibility will be determined for federal and state assistance (grants, loans, and work study funds).


State of Illinois Alternative Application

The Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act, signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker, provides a pathway to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant funding. This program is intended for qualifying undocumented students and for transgender students who are not eligible for federal financial aid because they did not register for selective service.

Undocumented and transgender students who have not completed a 2022-23 FAFSA, and who want to determine their eligibility to complete the Alternative Application, can review the information at While the Alternative Application itself includes a user guide and pre-screening questions to help determine if a student is eligible to complete it, students are also encouraged to consult their school counselor or financial aid office to determine whether they should complete the FAFSA or the Alternative Application.

Step 2: Apply for Institutional Scholarships 

Step 3: Apply for Private Scholarships 

AIM HIGH Grant: Your Future Starts at Northeastern

Northeastern Illinois University is launching the Golden Opportunity Scholarship in partnership with Illinois' AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program. This financial aid program started in the 2019-2020 award year. Northeastern is bringing excellence to our students; with AIM HIGH, students can significantly reduce and possibly offset tuition and fees costs. The AIM HIGH Grant will be available to incoming freshmen who attended an Illinois high school, are Illinois residents and have a GPA of at least a 3.0. AIM HIGH will be available for eligible students throughout their time at Northeastern for a maximum time frame of four award years; students must also continuously meet the eligibility requirements. 

City Treasurer's Hispanic Heritage Month Scholarship

Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin is proud to announce the 2020 Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest. This scholarship recognizes a senior in high school who has displayed outstanding academic achievement or community involvement and writes a thoughtful and impactful essay (500 words) on a topic related to Hispanic Heritage Month. Participating students must also provide a description of their college plans. Winners will receive a $1,500 and $1,000 award, respectively. This opportunity is open to DREAMers as well.

Students can apply at the CPS Academic Works website or submit their essay and other required materials to Submit applications by Oct. 15.

State of Illinois RISE Act

Unable to complete the #EARLYFAFSA? 

The RISE Act opens opportunities for students who are ineligible for federal financial aid. Instead of completing a FAFSA to determine MAP grant eligibility, students would complete an Illinois-specific online, interactive application patterned after the FREE application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The online application will be available on Jan. 1, 2022, for the 2022-23 award year. Students must provide Northeastern Illinois University with an affidavit stating that the application will be filed to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity the student is eligible to do so. 

The RISE Act extends eligibility for Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) gift assistance programs. These programs include the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program and the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program. Students are not exempted from meeting existing program eligibility criteria. Read more.