EIU Local Scholars Program
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the EIU Local Scholars program?
The EIU Local Scholars program is a new financial aid program that can significantly reduce – and in some cases completely eliminate – tuition and fees for qualified Illinois residents. It is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning that it covers any tuition or fees remaining after other scholarships and awards have been applied.
How do I qualify?
You will qualify for Local Scholars if you meet all of these requirements:
- Your family's annual income is $100,000 or less
- You reside in an Illinois county that is within a 50-mile radius of EIU: Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, and Vermilion
- You are a current high school student
- You have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, as shown on official transcripts sent by April 1
- You are admitted to EIU as a full-time incoming freshman (maximum 15 credit hours)
- You have your EIU financial aid packaged and completed by April 1 of the year you intend to enroll
- You meet all other AIM HIGH Grant requirements
- You meet renewal criteria after your first year
- You do not have tuition and fees met by other gift aid
How do I apply?
No separate application is required. Just complete your FAFSA requirements and be admitted to EIU by April 1!
Do current EIU or EIU graduate students qualify?
No, this program is only available to first-time freshman undergraduate students who started in the Fall semester 2022 or later. Current students who already received EIU Local Scholars awards will continue to receive it as long as they meet the renewal criteria.
What costs are covered?
The full cost of tuition and required fees up to 15 credit hours per semester, including
textbook rental fees.
This cost is estimated as the 3-year average of tuition & fees for a student taking 15 credit hours, as indicated on the student's financial aid award letter. The student's actual costs may be slightly more or less than this estimate.
What costs are not covered?
Room and board, course-specific fees such as laboratory fees, study abroad fees, the new student program fee, and indirect expenses like supplies and travel.
Would my award ever be reduced or canceled?
In general, the amount you receive from EIU Local Scholars will not exceed the cost of your tuition and required fees. So if you later receive other awards that partially cover these costs, your EIU Local Scholars award will be reduced accordingly for the first year of your award through the 10th day of class (Census Policy). Your renewal award amount will never be less than your initial award unless it exceeds the annual cost of attendance in combination with other awards.
If you receive scholarships or other awards that fully cover your tuition and required fees budget for the first year of your award, your EIU Promise award will be canceled. Examples of such awards include the Pemberton Presidential Scholars Award, the Children of Deceased Employees Waiver, DCFS, DORS, or the ISAC Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program. In some circumstances, your full tuition and fees could also be covered in combination with the State of Illinois MAP grant, but exceptions may apply because of the differences in these waiver programs.
If the EIU Local Scholars cannot be applied in your first year, you will not receive the award in subsequent years.
If you receive an award specific to food and housing, this award will not reduce the EIU Local Scholars award.
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:
- Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Stay continuously enrolled as a full-time student at EIU (summer enrollment not required)
- Meet AIM HIGH Grant requirements
- Maintain Illinois residency
Do I need to submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
Yes, to initially qualify for this program, you must submit a FAFSA at fafsa.gov. 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.
Can I receive other financial aid in addition to the EIU Local Scholars award?
Yes. You can also receive additional aid such as loans and student employment to help you pay for other expenses like room and board, supplies, and other personal or miscellaneous expenses.
What is family adjusted gross income?
Adjusted gross income (AGI) is the combined income for you and your family as reported to the IRS on your federal income tax return. It’s on Line 4 if you filed a Form 1040EZ, Line 21 if you filed a Form 1040A, or Line 37 if you filed a Form 1040.
What if my family’s income goes above or below $100,000 after my first year?
You’ll still qualify for EIU Local Scholars. However, if you did not receive the EIU Local Scholars award your first year as a freshman, you will not qualify for it in later years, even if your family’s income goes below $100,000.
Are there any other eligibility requirements?
In addition to the qualifications listed above, to receive financial aid from the EIU Promise program, you must also meet the state’s AIM HIGH Grant eligible student requirements. You must:
- have attended an Illinois high school
- be engaged in a program of study that will be completed by the end of the school year
- apply to be enrolled for the first time at EIU
- be a citizen, or a non-citizen eligible for federal student aid
- not have received a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of 135 semester credit hours
- not be incarcerated
- not be in default on any student loan or owe a refund or repayment on any state or federal grant or scholarship
- file a FAFSA (only required for application, not renewal)
- have demonstrated need with household income (taxed and untaxed) no greater than eight times the 2022 poverty guidelines:
|People in Household
||$37,760 added for each additional person
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 Local Scholars 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 Local Scholars Program is dependent on that grant and on state appropriation annually.