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EIU Media Relations

Eastern Illinois University program eliminates tuition and fees for qualified local students


EIU’s Local Scholars Program benefits incoming freshman across a 20-county region

(Charleston, IL) — Eastern Illinois University will offer a unique financial aid package for incoming first-year freshman that can completely eliminate tuition and fees for qualified local students.

The EIU Local Scholars Program is a new financial aid program at Eastern that will directly benefit students and families in a 20-county region across east-central Illinois. Students may be eligible for EIU’s Local Scholars Program if their family’s annual adjusted gross income is $100,000 or less and the student is from a qualifying local county. Counties within that 50-mile radius include Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Dewitt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, and Vermilion.

Further qualifications for EIU’s Local Scholars Program include the following:

  • Students must currently reside in (or will graduate from a high school within) one of the 20 cited counties, even if their physical residence or high school does not fall within a 50-mile radius of EIU’s Charleston, Illinois campus
  • Students must be admitted to EIU as an incoming freshman with full-time status (enrolled in 12 or more credit hours)
  • Students must have their financial aid packaged and completed by April 1
  • Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Students must meet the State of Illinois’ AIM HIGH Grant requirements

“EIU’s Local Scholars Program will cover any remaining tuition and fees after other scholarships and awards have been applied,” explained Josh Norman, associate vice president for Enrollment Management at EIU. “Bundling aid this way allows the University to provide what we call ‘last-dollar’ scholarships that effectively eliminate any remaining tuition and fee balances. The award is good for up to four years and students who maintain their eligibility during that four-year period will never see their Local Scholars awards reduced.”

According to U.S. News & World Report, EIU is already the lowest overall cost-for-attendance university for residential students in Illinois. That distinction is further enhanced by Eastern’s textbook rental program, which saves students an average of more than $1,200 in textbook fees annually. EIU’s application for admission is fast, free and mobile-friendly.  Additionally, EIU does not require SAT or ACT test scores for admission to the university.

“This is another incredible opportunity that EIU has developed explicitly to serve students in our region and keep them in the state of Illinois to pursue their higher education,” Norman added. “We want to extend our gratitude and appreciation to the State of Illinois for its ongoing support, which allows us to offer these critical opportunities for students in and around our region.”

In Spring 2018, the Higher Education Working Group — a bipartisan assembly of Illinois legislators interested in finding common-ground and viable solutions for keeping Illinois students in Illinois—proposed and passed a new merit-based grant program called AIM HIGH. The AIM HIGH Grant was signed into law in August 2018, and the EIU Local Scholars Program is partially funded by the continuation of that grant.

“We regularly hear that Eastern Illinois University is one of the best decisions our students have ever made,” Norman shared. “We’re incredibly excited to give even more prospective students the opportunity to learn firsthand how Eastern Illinois University will always be all in for their success.”

Eligible students and their families are encouraged to visit the EIU website at for additional information about the program.

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Contact Information

Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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