Beginning in Fall 2022, Northeastern Illinois University will cover the cost of four years of tuition for eligible students through the NEIU For You scholarship. NEIU For You launched in Spring 2021 and covered the cost of one year of tuition for first-year, full-time incoming freshmen. It is now expanding to support students financially through the first four years of a bachelor’s degree.
“When we offered NEIU For You to the freshman class of 2021, we knew many students needed financial support to pursue postsecondary education,” Northeastern Illinois University President Gloria J. Gibson said. “As a university dedicated to serving those who are commonly underserved, we have a responsibility to ensure every student who wants a college degree has the opportunity to earn one.”
NEIU For You will cover the cost of 12 credit hours of tuition for four years after all federal, state, institutional, internal/external scholarships and grants have been applied, as long as students meet the eligibility requirements and come into the University as first time, full-time freshmen. Northeastern will also cover the cost of a three-credit hour course for all new undergraduate transfer students who register for 12 credit hours or more beginning in Fall 2022. Additionally, NEIU For You recipients who enrolled as first-time freshmen in Fall 2021 and who meet the new eligibility requirements will also be eligible to have their tuition covered for the next three years.
To be eligible for NEIU For You, incoming freshmen and transfer students must:
- Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Undocumented students may complete the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid instead of FAFSA.
- Be an Illinois resident who attended an Illinois high school
- Have a minimum high school GPA of 2.0 and maintain a 2.0 through all four years
- Have an annual adjusted gross family income of $60,000 or less and family assets of $50,000 or less
- Be admitted to Northeastern as an incoming first-time, full-time freshman or a new transfer student enrolled in at least 12 credit hours for each fall and spring semester beginning Fall 2022
More than 300 new freshmen took advantage of NEIU For You in Fall 2021. One of those students, Ashley Garcia, said the scholarship is allowing her to pursue a degree in Computer Science.
“With my tuition covered by the NEIU For You scholarship, I am focused on getting good grades, not working full-time to pay off student debt,” Garcia said. “Success, to me, is having financial freedom. Northeastern is giving me all the resources I need to be able to succeed in college and beyond.”
After Garcia graduated from Highland Park High School, she took a gap year because she didn't feel ready to attend a university. As one of three children, she hopes to be the first in her family to earn a college degree.
“My parents didn’t go to college, but my sister did and she had to drop out because she couldn’t afford it,” Garcia said. “Being able to take advantage of this opportunity makes me feel empowered. I was really worried about trying to balance work and homework. Now, since I have the scholarship, I don’t have to work as much. I can focus on my homework. I have more free time and I’m not stressing about paying for college.”
For the past eight years, Northeastern Illinois University has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for graduating students with the least amount of student debt among Midwest regional universities. Northeastern Illinois University is also consistently recognized as one of the most diverse public regional universities in the Midwest. It is a Minority Serving Institution and federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution.
“At Northeastern Illinois University, we pride ourselves on collaborating across academic and student support offices to provide students with a holistic experience to academic success,” Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Northeastern Illinois University Dr. Terry Mena said. “NEIU For You is one of the many ways Northeastern is opening the door to students seeking a postsecondary education who may not have the financial resources and additional support networks to do so otherwise.”
Other initiatives Northeastern Illinois University offers to support students include the George Floyd Social Justice Scholarship, the Afghan Transition Program for refugees, and the Golden Opportunity Scholarship. The University also offers Living Learning Communities, a Student Pantry and a Student Emergency Fund, and other scholarships to support student success.
“We owe it to the next generation of scholars to break barriers to higher education and make a college degree more accessible,” Gibson said. “At Northeastern Illinois University, we are committed to serving students so they can become the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow.”