$1 million fund aids minorities

By Suzanne Tomse

Awards of up to $10,000 annually can provide financial assistance to qualified minority students of NIU’s graduate school.

The Illinois Consortium for Educational Opportunity Program (ICEOP) provides the awards to Illinois students from a $1 million fund which was allocated by the state when the consortium was established in July 1986.

NIU is a member of the consortium made up of 34 Illinois institutions of higher education. Its goal is to provide money to underrepresented minority students who wish to complete a professional or graduate degree at schools of higher education in Illinois and who intend to pursue teaching or adminstrative employment in Illinois insitutions.

“The idea of the award is to increase the numbers of minority faculty members in Illinois colleges and governing boards,” said James Forstall, associate director of policy studies at the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

To be eligible for an ICEOP award, applicants must be:

uFA resident of Illinois and a United States citizen or pernament resident alien

uFBlack, Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian or Alaskan Native

uFThe recipient of an earned baccalaureate degree

uFOf above-average academic ability

uFUnable to pursue a graduate or professional degree in the absence of an ICEOP award

uFAdmitted to a participating institution to pursue a doctoral, masters, or post-baccalaureate professional degree

uFPrepared to sign an agreement to meet the employment conditions of an ICEOP award if the award is accepted

For a time period equal to the number of years of the award, recipients are obligated to accept a teaching or non-teaching full-time appointment at an Illinois institution of higher education or a position at one of the higher education governing or coordinating boards in Illinois.

Students registered full-time are awarded $10,000 per year, and students registered less than full-time are awarded up to $5,000. In order to receive the full $10,000, students must begin enrollment in the fall semester. If beginning enrollment in the second semester, the recipient receives only up to $5,000.

ecipients may re-apply and are eligible to receive the award for up to four years for a maximum of $40,000. Students in a masters or professional degree program may receive the award for up to two years or $20,000.

In addition to the $10,000 award, which is disbursed in payments over a 10-month period, recipients receive an immediate tuition waiver, said Philip T.K. Daniel, assistant dean to the graduate school.

Last year, ICEOP awards were given to 46 Illinois students out of 137 applicants, said Forstall. Out of the 46, four NIU graduate students received awards in the departments of biology, leadership and educational policy studies, and art.

“We were very competitive with other multi-faceted institutions of higher education,” Daniel said.

Department chairs are encouraged to nominate eligible students for the award, said Daniel. However, students can obtain applications in the Graduate School, Altgeld Hall Room 205A. The deadline for applications is Feb. 9, before 4:30 p.m.