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Eastern Illinois University


EIU Local Scholars

The EIU Local Scholars program can significantly reduce – and in some cases completely eliminate – tuition and fees for qualified Illinois residents.


EIU Local Scholars is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning that it covers any tuition or fees remaining after other scholarships and awards have been applied.

EIU Local Scholars FAQ

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 June 1
  • You are admitted to EIU as a full-time incoming first-year student
  • You have your EIU financial aid packaged and completed by June 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 June 1!

Do current students or EIU graduate students apply? 

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

Do transfer students qualify? 

No! Transfer students do not qualify for EIU Local Scholars.

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 and 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 Local Scholars 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 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 entire 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 Local Scholars, however most state, federal and need-based scholarships do require a FAFSA annually. If no FAFSA is submitted, your renewed EIU Local Scholars award amount will remain the same as your initial award.

Can I receive other financial aid in addition to the EIU Local Scholars? 

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 student, you will not qualify for it in later years, even if your family’s income goes below $100,000.

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 EIU Local Scholars 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.


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