Keicher Applauds NIU Commitment to Expand AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge Program

From NIU Today: Further demonstrating its commitment to access and affordability, Northern Illinois University is now expanding the eligibility requirements for its popular AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge program.

NIU’s AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge is supported by the State of Illinois’ AIM HIGH Program. At NIU, qualifying Illinois high school seniors who graduate with an overall GPA of 3.0 or above could pay no tuition costs or general fees for their first year at NIU — and potentially beyond.

In the past, program eligibility requirements included a family adjusted gross income at or below $75,000. The university has now raised the ceiling of that threshold to $100,000—a move that will allow many more students to qualify for the program.

The new threshold is effective immediately for students enrolling as full-time freshmen this coming fall.

“At NIU, we’re committed to reducing barriers, creating opportunities and investing where we can make a difference,” said Sol Jensen, NIU vice president for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications. “We’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded our AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge program to make NIU an affordable choice for even more students.”

Here’s how the program works. For eligible students, the Huskie Pledge guarantees that tuition and general fee costs will be met by grants and/or scholarships for their first year at NIU and potentially beyond. A Huskie Pledge Grant covers tuition and general fee expenses that aren’t met by other financial aid. Students who continue to meet renewal eligibility criteria can receive the same Huskie Pledge Grant amount for up to four more years.

Since the program was started in 2020, nearly 3,500 full-time students have qualified and enrolled at NIU. Those students had an average high school GPA of 3.55, and nearly three-quarters of them reported being first-generation college students.

“Now, if your family’s adjusted gross income is at or below $100,000, your student could qualify,” Jensen said. “It’s important to encourage your student to complete NIU’s free application and submit their FAFSA or Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid as soon as possible.”

Significant changes were made to the FAFSA application this year, and the planned date for the U.S. Department of Education to send financial aid information to universities has been delayed until at least mid-March. To ease any student concerns, NIU has moved its AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge priority deadline back two months, to April 1.

State Representatives Lance Yednock and Jeff Keicher are strong supporters of the state-funded AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge.

Yednock said: “NIU extending the AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge to incomes at or below $100k will open access to the university for so many more students, proving once again NIU is one of the most forward thinking and accessible universities in our state—way to go NIU!”

“As a proud alum, who is a first-generation college graduate, I am able to say NIU changed the course of my life,” Keicher added. “I am consistently impressed at the opportunity provided by the NIU AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge to students who were just like me. NIU offers today’s students the same ability to succeed in achieving dreams today as it did for me 25 years ago.”

Learn more about NIU’s AIM HIGH Huskie Pledge at the program website.