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Eastern Illinois University


Scholarship Timelines

These timelines can help make the scholarship process easier and help you to avoid missing out on any opportunities.


Institutional Scholarships and Aid Timeline

Merit Scholarships, Transfer Academic Excellence, Textbook Rental Grant, Student Success and Engagement Award, EIU Promise, Panther Promise, Local Scholars

Below is a basic timeline for applying for institutional aid at EIU, but be sure to keep an eye on your MyEIU checklist for any specific requests.

1. File Your FAFSATo be considered for financial aid at EIU, you must file a FAFSA or Alternative Application each year.

Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial aid. Incoming first-year students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA, which can be completed online, is regulated by the U.S. Department of Education. Eastern’s school code is 001674; make sure you list us as your first choice!

FAFSAs are now being accepted for the upcoming academic year, and aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. For that reason, make sure you apply as soon as possible! You don’t want to miss out on your chance to receive the aid for which you qualify.

By listing a college or university within the state of Illinois, any resident of Illinois will have state aid eligibility computed. The information from the processed FAFSA will be electronically transmitted to the school you’ve listed.

If you are an Illinois resident who isn’t otherwise eligible for federal financial aid, you can submit the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.

2. Confirm Your Information / Complete VerificationMake sure your info is correct, and submit verification if selected.

You will get your FAFSA Submission Summary after your FAFSA form is processed. Look over your FAFSA Submission Summary carefully, make sure you didn’t make a mistake on your FAFSA form, and make corrections to your FAFSA data if necessary.

After completing your FAFSA, you may be asked to complete verification. If you're one of these people, don't worry! We will help you through every step of the way!

3. Review Your Financial Aid Award OfferWhen your financial aid offer is available, you will receive a notification in your MyEIU account. 

EIU will use the information received from the FAFSA to determine your financial need and prepare your financial aid offer. You will see a notification in your MyEIU checklist, as well as via an email to your Panthermail account. 

4. Accept Your AwardsUse PAWS to accept / reject your financial aid award offers.

You can review and accept or reject your offer in PAWS. Log in using your EIU NetID and password. Awards should be accepted by June 1, as offers with limited funding are cancelled after that date. Offers available after June 1 should be accepted within two weeks.

  1. Select the "Financial Aid" tab, and click "Award"
  2. Click "Award for Aid Year"
  3. Select the applicable aid year.
  4. Select the "Resources/Additional Information" tab and follow the instructions to complete the Title IV Authorization requirement.
  5. Select the "Terms and Conditions" tab and follow the instructions provided before you are able to accept your awards.
  6. Select the "Accept Award Offer" tab and accept or decline each award. Be sure to select a decision on each award.
  7. Awards can be reviewed on the "Award Overview" tab. You can print a copy of your award letter from this tab by selecting the Print button located at the top of this page.

Other Scholarships

Academic Works, Honors Scholarships, Phi Theta Kappa, etc.

Below is a basic timeline for applying for scholarships through Academic Works. Many scholarships become available each year from January through March, with some opportunities in September and October so be sure check the site periodically for new opportunities.

June & July 

  • Periodically familiarize and review scholarship opportunities available on the EIU scholarship search engine located at Academic Works.
  • Check outside scholarship resources (websites, churches, local organizations, etc.) Many can be found here.
  • Keep a folder. In the folder, keep a notepad to write down the scholarships that you find and are eligible to apply for. Note the scholarship application deadline and then print out the application if available. If the scholarship application is not available, go back to the website later to acquire.
  • During this time, you can search for scholarships monthly or weekly depending on your free time.


  • Continue to search for scholarships.
    • For current Eastern students, some fall scholarship application deadlines will occur in September and October. Be sure to complete relevant applications so you don’t miss out on fall scholarship deadlines.
    • During this time period, scholarship searches can be done weekly depending on your free time.
  • Begin working on your personal essay.
    • A basic template essay can be created now, and then you can adapt the written piece later according to specific essay questions for any particular scholarship.
  • When writing a personal essay, consider the following questions:
    1. What is special, unique and impressive about you?
    2. What unusual obstacles or hardships have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
    3. What have you learned from the challenges you have had in your life?
    4. What events or people have shaped and influenced your life?
    5. Why are you the best fit for the scholarship?
    6. What have you done to prove that you are worth this scholarship's funding?
    7. What are your personal, academic and professional goals?
    8. How have you contributed to the community and what have you learned from these experiences?
    9. Why might you be a stronger candidate than other applicants?
    10. What are the most compelling reasons you can give to the scholarship committee to be interested in you?
  • Begin collecting letters of recommendation.
    • For each year of school, you should collect 3-5 letters of recommendation. This is to keep your personal contacts and documented new learning experiences fresh.
    • For new first-year students, these letters can come from principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors, supervisors from employment or volunteer work, coaches and also mentors.
    • For continuing Eastern students, letters of recommendation should come from professors, academic advisors, supervisors from employment or volunteer work, coaches and also mentors.
    • When asking someone to write a letter of recommendation, suggest that they write it out to “To whom it may concern.” This will allow you to make several copies of the letter later to attach to each scholarship application. When received, place in your scholarship folder until needed at a later date.

September, October & November 

  • Financial Aid
    • File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as it opens. This will help to ensure that you have access to state and federal grant money if eligibility requirements are met.
  • Apply for fall scholarship opportunities.
      • For continuing Eastern students, be sure to apply for fall scholarships that you are eligible to apply for. Departments with fall scholarship selections include the School of Business, College of Education and Professional Studies, Family & Consumer Sciences, Study Abroad, International Students and Scholars office, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Honors College.
      • Don’t forget to apply for those outside scholarships that do have fall application deadlines.
  • Continue to look for new scholarship opportunities, document deadlines, and acquire applications. During this time period, scholarship searches can be done weekly depending on your free time.
  • Continue researching spring semester scholarship opportunities at Eastern but also on the Internet. Document those that you are eligible for along with their application deadline for spring. Secure applications if available.
  • Secure letters of recommendation and complete the personal statement if not yet written.


  • At Eastern, scholarship application periods will begin to open starting in December and then throughout the spring months ending in March. Spend December reviewing your spring semester scholarship list, reviewing notes in your folder, and completing scholarship applications.
  • Winter Break
    • This is a great time to complete applications, make copies of letters of recommendation and modify personal essays as needed to accommodate specific questions for scholarships. With your personal essay already complete, you should only have to ‘cut and paste’ the document to your application.
  • Outside Scholarship opportunities
    • Also during the months of December, January and February, many scholarship opportunities will become available in your home community. Spend some time during winter break seeking out these scholarship opportunities. Document what you find in your scholarship folder.
  • Honors-specific scholarships
    • High school seniors, don’t miss out on applying for scholarship opportunities that are available through the Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College. The application deadline for the Presidential Scholars Award, Pemberton Presidential Award and Honors Award is in early January of each year. Please view specific criteria and deadlines here.

January, February & March 

  • Continue researching scholarship opportunities at Eastern but also on the Internet. Document those that you are eligible for, along with application deadlines, and print out the applications.
  • Submit EIU's General Scholarship Application and apply to recommended awards by March 15.
  • Stop by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to review the outside scholarship shelf. Many outside scholarship providers share their information with the office to give to you.
  • High school seniors, be sure to visit your guidance counselor's office on a regular basis in the spring months. They will often have information regarding scholarships that are offered in your home area. Pick up applications, complete, and mail to the scholarship provider prior to the application deadline.
  • Complete applications and turn them in to the sponsoring departments or outside providers. Be sure to ask someone to proofread your scholarship application(s) prior to mailing.
  • Before you send your scholarship applications, ask yourself these questions:
    • Did I fill out the application correctly?
    • Did I sign my application?
    • Did I have someone proofread and edit my personal essay?
    • Did I follow all of the essay guidelines?
    • Did I include all of the requested documents? (Personal essay, letters of recommendation, application, etc.)

April & May 

  • If the scholarship application deadline has passed and you have not yet heard anything about a particular scholarship, contact the department or outside source that is sponsoring the scholarship and inquire.


Office of AdmissionsOffice of Financial Aid & ScholarshipsMyEIU Admissions PortalAcademic Works Scholarship Search