University Council discusses potential scholarships


In this Oct. 11 file photo, Dean of Students Kelly Wesener-Michael speaks during the University Council meeting Wednesday next to Sol Jensen, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications.

By Fathima Siddiqui

DeKALB – The University Council met Wednesday to share student responses on the impact of the events held throughout the week.

NIU has joined the Illinois Innovation Network to create the Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability, NICCS, which will be located on the far west side of campus. NICCS is being built for students and faculty to find solutions for environmental and sustainability issues, according to the NIU Newsroom. The building was made possible through the current fiscal year appropriation of $15 million.

“It is a very encouraging initiative given the enthusiasm of our students in our community for this area,” President Lisa Freeman said.

NIU is considering other projects as well such as community revitalization and initiatives related to manufacturing and health care.

NIU partnered with Governors State University and Western Illinois University to hold an event Tuesday called Salute to Illinois Scholars in Rockford.

The event was for academically high-achieving students including new or upcoming high school graduates and transfer students, according to Sol Jensen, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications. He said about 400 people were at the event including students and their families.

“The feedback was very positive,” Freeman said. “Obviously, anything we can do together as public universities to help stem out migration of our most talented students is positive.”

A program called AIM HIGH was also introduced at the meeting. AIM HIGH is a scholarship program providing additional aid to higher achieving students. The goal is to increase the number of students who receive academic merit scholarships.

The highest achieving students are receiving $7,000 a year from other scholarships and an additional $2,466 through the AIM HIGH program. Combining these two scholarships provides students with their full tuition covered for a year.

Jensen said NIU already has a very large population of transfer students and the funding is heavily focused on them as well.

“Through this AIM HIGH initiative, we’re actually able to provide a lot more in funding toward our transfer students,” Jensen said.

Another scholarship being offered is for students who are graduating from any high school in DeKalb County. Jensen said A $3,000 scholarship will be offered in an effort to keep the best students in the community and convince them to transition to NIU after high school.

Jensen said another focus is to attract students coming from the city of Chicago. He also said there is a great opportunity to draw more students from the city through these scholarships. For example, students who meet their Star Scholarship criteria, a scholarship for students in the city, are more likely to receive scholarships from AIM HIGH if they transition to NIU.