Merit Scholarships

Merit scholarships for domestic incoming freshman and transfer students are awarded based on the information submitted with the application for admission to NIU. Some of these scholarships are competitive and may not be awarded to all qualified students.

You will automatically be considered for merit scholarships at the time of admission, and you will be notified of your award in your admission letter. You will receive the full details of the scholarship award about two weeks after you receive the admission letter.  Some scholarships may require an interview or participation in a campus engagement activity in order to receive the full amount of the award. You will be notified in your scholarship award letter if additional steps are required.

To estimate scholarship amounts, use the Scholarship Calculator or Merit Scholarship Distribution Matrix (PDF).

Types of Merit Scholarships

Award Duration Available For Eligibility Requirements Potential  Amount
New Freshman Students Four years First-time incoming freshmen NIU uses an academic index score, computed with the cumulative high school grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and highest reported composite ACT score (or SAT equivalent). Calculate
New Transfer Students Two years Incoming transfer students 30 transferable credit hours completed at time of admission and a cumulative transfer GPA of 3.50-4.0 $2000/year
30 transferable credit hours completed at time of admission and a cumulative transfer GPA of 3.25-3.49 $1500/year
30 transferable credit hours completed at time of admission and a cumulative transfer GPA of 3.00-3.24 $1000/year
Huskie Legacy Award First year at NIU Children of NIU alumni that are also an incoming freshman or transfer student Must meet published admission criteria and priority deadline. $1000
Presidential Scholarship Four years  First-time incoming freshman entering during the fall semester Minimum of 3.75 high school GPA and a composite ACT score of 33 (or SAT score of 1500) or higher. Full tuition, fees, room and board

Huskie Legacy Award

Children of NIU alumni who meet NIU's published admission criteria for incoming freshman and transfer students and the priority scholarship deadline are eligible to receive the Huskie Legacy Award. The Legacy Award is awarded at the time of admission and provides $1,000 for the your first year at NIU.

The Huskie Legacy Award may be combined with a New Freshman or Transfer Student Scholarship.

Presidential Scholarship

NIU’s most prestigious merit scholarship provides full in-state tuition, mandatory fees and on-campus room and board for up to four years. Due to the limited number that we offer each year, this award is very competitive and only available to domestic first-time, incoming freshman students for the fall semester (spring applicants are not considered for the Presidential Scholarship).

Presidential Scholars actively participate in the University Honors Programbenefiting from priority course registration, the Honors House residential option, specialized curriculum and faculty connections. The Presidential Scholars cohort is comprised of like-minded and academically-motivated students from a variety of disciplines on campus. NIU Presidential Scholars are well-rounded and civically-minded. They participate in research, athletics, study abroad, marching band, student government, intramural sports and any other number of our 300+ student organizations. Other opportunities include formal and informal mentoring, networking, social and philanthropic activities.

Your application for admission, including all required documents (transcript, test score, application fee or waiver), must be submitted no later than December 1 in order to be considered for the Presidential Scholarship.

Questions should be directed to




Scholarship Deadlines

Your application for admission plus all required documents (transcript, test score, application fee or waiver) must be received by the priority deadline to be considered for a merit scholarship.  However, merit scholarships will continue to be awarded on a rolling basis after the priority deadline if funds remain available. 

Spring Admission

  • October 1 is the priority deadline for all spring merit scholarships, including the Huskie Legacy Award
  • The Presidential Scholarship is not awarded for the spring semester.

 Summer or Fall Admission

  • December 1 is the priority deadline for freshman merit scholarships, including the Presidential and the Huskie Legacy Award
  • March 1 is the priority deadline for transfer merit scholarships, including the Huskie Legacy Award