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Eastern Illinois University



EIU will match the out-of-pocket cost of attendance of any regionally accredited public university in the U.S. outside Illinois.


The EIU Cost Match program is designed to keep our best and brightest students (like you!) in Illinois!

EIU will match the out-of-pocket cost of attendance of any regionally accredited public university in the United States (outside Illinois). EIU will cover the out-of-pocket cost not covered by other federal, state, institutional and private awards, including Federal Pell Grant, State of Illinois MAP Program (MAP), Federal Loans, and other awards.

For example, if your out-of-pocket costs at EIU are $5,000 and your out-of-pocket costs at a qualifying university are $3,000, EIU will provide you with a scholarship for $2,000, allowing you to attend EIU for the same cost as the qualifying university.

EIU Cost Match FAQ

How do I qualify? 

To qualify, you must:

  • Submit the Financial Aid Award letter from a qualifying institution
  • Be a resident of Illinois, with at least one parent (listed on your FAFSA) also an Illinois resident
  • Have a minimum 3.3 GPA
  • Be admitted to EIU as an incoming first-year student full-time (12 or more credit hours by the published census date each semester)
  • Have your EIU financial aid packaged and completed by June 1
  • Meet AIM HIGH Grant requirements
  • Meet renewal criteria after your first year

What exactly is the cost of attendance? 

As dictated by Congress, the cost of attendance is the average cost to attend a university for one academic year (fall through spring). It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. Colleges adjust the cost of attendance each year to reflect changes to these costs.

How do I apply? 

No separate application is required. However, you must complete your FAFSA requirements and be admitted to EIU. Also, you must submit the Financial Aid Award letter from the university you wish to cost match with EIU.

Do transfer students, graduate students, or current EIU students qualify?  

No, this program is only available to first-time freshman undergraduate students who started in the Fall semester 2019 or later. Current students who already received EIU Cost Match will continue to receive it as long as they meet the renewal criteria.

What universities count as qualifying institutions?  

Any public four-year university in the United States (outside Illinois) that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations:

What universities do NOT count as qualifying institutions?  

  • Colleges or universities in Illinois
  • Community colleges
  • Colleges or universities that do not offer a bachelor’s degree
  • Private colleges or universities
  • Unaccredited colleges or universities
  • Colleges or universities not accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations listed above

How do I submit the Financial Aid Award letter from a qualifying university?  

Once you receive both your financial aid award letter from EIU and the qualifying institution to which you are admitted, submit your financial aid award letter from the qualifying institution in MyEIU. The award letter will be reviewed soon after submission, and we will contact you to discuss the details of your EIU Cost Match scholarship.

If I have an athletic scholarship from another school, will that be considered as part of my cost match?  

No, athletic scholarships will not be considered as part of your cost match. However, you are still welcome to apply for the cost match, whether you are receiving an athletic scholarship or you are a walk-on athlete without a scholarship. You may still find that going to EIU saves you money!

What if I plan to commute to an out-of-state school?  

Cost Match award letters must include tuition, fees, room, board, and other miscellaneous expenses included in the school’s required on campus published cost of attendance. If your award letter does not include room, board, or other expenses (based on “with parent” or commuter expense estimates for example), please ask the school’s financial aid office for a revised award letter that includes on-campus costs. This information is required to best compare the out-of-pocket costs of attending college. If the school does not offer on-campus housing, off-campus living expenses can be considered if included in the school’s award letter. If no living expense components can be provided, EIU living expenses will be used in order to make a fair comparison.

Will the program be available to me my whole time at EIU?  

For most students, yes. You can be eligible for the program for up to eight continuous semesters (Fall and Spring) at EIU, as long as you meet the renewal criteria. The program is dependent upon continued state appropriation of associated funds.

What are the renewal criteria? 

To remain qualified after your first year, you must:

Do I need to submit a FAFSA? 

Yes, to initially qualify for this program, you must submit a FAFSA at We recommend you file your FAFSA as soon as possible, and make sure to include EIU’s school code (001674) on your FAFSA so we receive your information.

A FAFSA is not required for renewal of EIU Promise, however most state, federal and ned-based scholarships do require a FAFSA annually. If no FAFSA is submitted, your renewed EIU Promise award amount will remain the same as your initial award.

How do I maintain full-time enrollment at EIU? 

You must be registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours by the published census date policy each semester. Full-time enrollment is assumed until census date.

How is the EIU Cost Match Program funded? 

In Spring 2018, the Higher Education Working Group — a bipartisan group of Illinois legislators interested in finding common-ground and viable solutions — proposed and passed a new merit-based grant program. That program, the AIM HIGH Grant, was signed into law in August 2018. The EIU Cost Match Program is dependent on that grant and on state appropriation annually.


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