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Illinois high school students who graduate this coming spring with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above might now be able to reap the benefits of a generous financial aid program at Northern Illinois University.

The new Huskie Pledge aims to make NIU more affordable for Illinois families with household incomes of $75,000 or less. For qualifying full-time students, the Huskie Pledge Program will provide a grant to help completely cover first-year tuition and general fees.

“Our Huskie Pledge is yet another step toward our goal of making a life-changing NIU education affordable and accessible to as many students as possible,” said NIU President Lisa Freeman, who announced the program during her Oct. 22 State of the University address. “If you’re a hard-working student, we want to help you succeed at NIU and beyond.”

Determined after factoring in a qualifying student’s initial institutional, federal and state aid (including Pell Grants and Monetary Award Program grants), a Huskie Pledge Grant will meet the amount of any remaining first-year expenses for tuition and general fees.

If income, enrollment and university GPA criteria continue to be met, the same Huskie Pledge Grant amount received during the initial year of NIU enrollment will be renewable for up to four additional years, regardless of increases or decreases in other aid during subsequent years.

The program is open to freshmen starting at NIU in the fall of 2020. Funding is limited, and students should apply for admission to NIU and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Illinois RISE Act application by the priority deadline of Feb. 1.

Key qualifying criteria for the award include the following:

  • Illinois residency.
  • A cumulative 3.0 grade point average at an Illinois high school.
  • Graduation from high school during the 2019-20 school year.
  • A family income of $75,000 or less.
  • Family assets of $75,000 or less (as defined by the FAFSA).
  • Fall 2020 enrollment at NIU as a full-time student.

Sol Jensen, vice president for the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communication, said the Huskie Pledge is designed to support the university’s mission as an institution providing access to and serving talented incoming students who reflect Illinois’ broad socioeconomic diversity.

“We think this is one of the more generous financial aid programs in the state, one that makes our university even more accessible to students of all backgrounds,” Jensen said. “If you’re a high school student currently carrying close to a 3.0 GPA, you should be checking out NIU to see if you qualify. We’re eager to see you become a Huskie.”

The Huskie Pledge Program is supported by funding from the State of Illinois.

In addition to need-based financial aid, thousands of NIU students each year receive grants and earn merit scholarships that have no family-income requirements. When students apply for admission to NIU, they are automatically considered for the merit aid.

For more detailed information on the Huskie Pledge, visit go.niu.edu/HuskiePledge. For general information on financial aid and merit scholarships at NIU, visit niu.edu/fa.