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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

FAFSA packages to be sent out next week

Emily Beebe
Zac Gill, city engineer for the City of DeKalb spoke at University Council Wednesday. Gill spoke about the construction occurring at the Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue intersection. (Emily Beebe | Northern Star)

DeKALB – NIU President Lisa Freeman announced at Wednesday’s University Council meeting that, barring any other issues, financial aid packages should be sent out to first-year students by the end of next week and to returning students within the next couple of weeks.

Freeman gave a presentation about NIU’s budget along with its deficit and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Freeman said tuition and student fees make up 40% of NIU’s operating budget.

Freeman reiterated the fact that NIU is operating in a deficit and mentioned ways that NIU is trying to cut its deficit in half by 2025, including reallocating resources and revenue generation. Freeman said one thing NIU is not delivering on is accelerating the budget and planning timeline, which she credits to the FAFSA delay. 

NIU’s deficit was also talked about at the April 24 Faculty Senate meeting.

Chris English, deputy speaker of the Student Government Association senate, announced SGA has passed around 100 pieces of legislation this academic year and has approved 44 student organizations.


Sol Jensen, vice president for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications, gave a presentation and update about the FAFSA backlog.

Jensen said they’re concerned about the financial aid delay because it has impacted students when it comes to FAFSA completion and that Illinois’s FAFSA completion rate is higher than the US average.

“This should not be too big of a surprise though, because we have a high school graduation requirement in the state of Illinois that students complete the FAFSA at the time of graduation,” Jensen said. “The concerning part about this is there’s a negative 30% change. So, in the state of Illinois we’re seeing, currently, 30% fewer students who have completed the FAFSA compared to the same exact time of year last year. So that’s about 27,000 students each year that completed the FAFSA across the state.”

Jensen also said NIU is hosting an event on May 17 for admitted students which will give admitted students the opportunity to speak with the Financial Aid Office.

“We’re going to continue throughout summer to offer programming like that for admitted students that we haven’t done before because typically those students have already made a decision and they’re moving towards orientation,” Jensen said.


Zac Gill, city engineer for the city of DeKalb, gave a presentation about the potential roundabout that will be put at the intersection of Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue. 

Gill said the intersection of Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue needs a lot of work due to it severely lacking Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations, which is where the idea of a roundabout came in.

Gill said he likes the idea of a roundabout because of the potential reduction in conflict.

“One thing I like about the roundabout for pedestrians, and I will speak specifically to some of the disabled community as well but just for general pedestrian usage, the points of conflict are significantly reduced,” Gill said. “The intersection if you want to cross 40 feet of pavement, we’ve got traffic coming both ways. You are making a single lane decision to negotiate traffic, you are crossing one possible conflict vehicle there. You have a revenue giant, pretty robust revenue giant, so you didn’t make a single decision on another conflict.”

Gill said he is grateful that Normal Road was used for the food trucks during both the fall and spring semesters because it provided something for the community to use.

John Heckmann, associate vice president for Facilities Management and Campus Services, said work will be done to make specific drop off locations more accessible, primarily locations at Swen Parson Hall, Founders Memorial Library and Williston Hall.

Gill said they have a timeline for construction with work starting in spring 2025 and completed by fall 2025.

The University Council meeting schedule for the 2024-2025 academic year was also posted in the agenda. Meetings will occur Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 6, Dec. 4, Jan. 29, Feb. 26, April 2 and April 30.

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