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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

FAFSA frustrations expressed at University Council

Emily Beebe
President Lisa Freeman sits at a table with members of University Council at their meeting Wednesday. NIU has taken measures to support students struggling with the financial aid process. (Emily Beebe | Northern Star)

DeKALB – The Student Government Association announced Wednesday at the University Council meeting that election results should be released late Thursday night. 

The SGA elections had 1,999 votes total, according to Deputy Speaker Chris English. 

At the March 27 Faculty Senate meeting, there were 1,800 votes total, which SGA Treasurer Landon Larkin said it’s the largest turnout they’ve had.

“That’s one of the largest turnouts from students in the last decade,” Larkin said.

University Council President Benjamin Creed also announced that during March’s Board of Trustees meeting, Laurie Elish-Piper accepted the position of executive vice president and provost.


NIU President Lisa Freeman announced that the university is frustrated by the dysfunctional rollout of the Free Application for Federal Student  Aid or FAFSA form. 

Freeman said the Department of Education has made another error in the form which negatively impacts families and students.

”That glimmer of hope is quickly shot down and by the recognition that the Department of Ed has made yet another error that some university was able to detect, errors that are really impeding the abilities of families and students to know what they’re going to get in financial aid and what choices they should make, and it’s very frustrating for them,” Freeman said.

Freeman also said NIU has taken measures to support students who may be struggling throughout the FAFSA process.

“We’ve extended our priority notification deadlines, not just for coming to NIU but also for housing,” Freeman said. “We are definitely seeing an impact particularly on new freshmen, so trying to understand what that impact will be on enrollment has implications for budget and planning.”


During the University Council meeting, Vice President and General Counsel Bryan Perry gave a presentation about two 2023 Supreme Court cases titled Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. Petitioner v. University of North Carolina. Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard College and the University of North Carolina over violations of Title Six of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, according to Perry.

Perry said private universities like Harvard are not subject to specific admission rules like public universities are.

”So as a private university, Harvard is not subject to constitutional rules and mandates. Because they receive federal funds, they’re not allowed to discriminate,” Perry said.

The Students for Fair Admissions vs. Harvard and the University of North Carolina cases are about how both Harvard and the University of North Carolina utilized race as a factor in their admissions decisions, according to the Supreme Court.

Perry said both Harvard and the University of North Carolina violated the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act.

“On June 29, the opinion came up and Supreme Court ruled that Harvard and UNC affirmative action programs did violate the 14th Amendment and Title Six’s Civil Rights Act of ’64,” Perry said.

The last University Council meeting of the semester will take place at 3 p.m. on May 1 in Altgeld Hall, Room 315. Agendas are posted prior to each meeting on the NIU website.

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