A photo of the exterior of the NEIU admissions office with the flying N logo on the wall

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

The withdrawal of U.S. troops from and consequent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has created more than 80,000 Afghan refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Many are already in the United States in search of places where they may begin to heal and build a new life. The Chicago area expects to welcome approximately 500 Afghan refugees in the coming months. Many area nonprofits and refugee organizations are working to help with settlement and housing.

To provide further support, Northeastern Illinois University will offer qualified refugees who settle in Chicago or nearby areas the opportunity to attend Northeastern, including its English as a Second Language (ESL) program, through University-sponsored discretionary waivers that will cover the cost of tuition and fees for 12 credit hours in the current academic year. The initiative will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for up to 15 continuing and prospective students. Housing will also be available for these students, if needed.

“When we heard that young Afghans were being resettled in Illinois, Northeastern was willing to do our part in helping with the resettlement effort by providing them an opportunity for education,” Ann P. Kalayil, a member of Northeastern’s Board of Trustees, said. “Northeastern Illinois University is committed to providing learning opportunities for all and especially for people who have come from difficult circumstances and need a jump-start.”

This program is not only consistent with the University’s stated values of Excellence, Access to Opportunity, Diversity, Community and Empowerment Through Learning, but also communicates Northeastern’s readiness to lead with a sense of responsibility and accountability to those historically displaced and dispossessed by circumstances beyond their control.

“Northeastern Illinois University is proud of its legacy as a lighthouse of hope and possibility for those historically excluded from the pursuit of higher education," Northeastern Illinois University President Gloria J. Gibson said. “This legacy calls us to declare solidarity with all refugees displaced from their homes. Given that it was a Black Haitian, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, who founded the city of Chicago, it is especially important to make explicit our sense of shared responsibility to create pathways of possibility for all refugees from Afghanistan to Haiti and beyond, and we welcome them to NEIU.”

The application deadline for Spring 2022 enrollment is Oct. 1 for international undergraduate and graduate students and Nov. 1 for domestic applicants. Those interested in this program are encouraged to apply online or contact the Admissions Office at admissions@neiu.edu or (773) 442-4050 for more information.