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Federal Grants

There are four types of federal grants available to eligible students who complete the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need.

Federal Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is a federally funded grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Apply by completing the FAFSA before the deadline.
  • Need-based, eligibility and awards are determined by Expected Family Contribution (EFC), enrollment status, and NIU's cost of attendance (COA).
  • 2017-2018 awards vary from $606 to $5,920 per year for full-time undergraduates.
  • Awarded to students with an EFC less than $5,329 (for 2017-2018).
  • Awards are offered based on full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours) and will be reduced for three-quarter-time, half-time, or less than half-time enrollment.
  • Available to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's degree or professional degree.
  • Students who do not receive their full Federal Pell Grant award during the fall and spring terms may be eligible for the remaining amount if they attend classes during the summer. Students who have not used their full eligibility during the fall and spring terms may be eligible for Pell during the summer.
  • As of 2012-2013, students may receive a Pell Grant for no longer than six years.

Read more about Pell Grants

Calculating the Number of Years You Can Receive a Pell Grant

Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, you may receive a Pell Grant for the equivalent of six years. If you are near or over the limit, we encourage you to meet with an academic advisor and set up a course plan for graduation. It is important to take the lifetime limit of the Pell Grant into consideration when changing majors and/or scheduling classes. Plan your degree progress carefully to graduate in a timely manner.

  • If Department of Education records indicates you have received more than four-and-a-half years of Pell Grant funding (more than 450 percent but less than 500 percent), you can still receive the maximum amount of your 2017-2018 Pell Grant award. However, if you continue to be Pell Grant eligible, you will not be able to receive the full amount of your eligible award for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • If Department of Education records indicate you have received more than five years of Pell Grant funding (more than 500 percent but less than 600 percent), the amount of your 2017-2018 Pell Grant award will be less than the full annual amount.
  • If Department of Education records indicate you have already received at least six years of Pell Grant funding (more than 600 percent), you are no longer eligible to receive Pell Grant funding.

If you are affected by this rule, you will receive an email from the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and your awards will be updated on your MyNIU account.

You can check your Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Student Access website using your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). You can find the LEU on the Financial Aid Review page.

Visit the Department of Education website or call 1-800-4-FED-AID to understand how the “equivalent of six years” is calculated.


Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The FSEOG is a federally funded grant awarded by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.

  • Apply by completing the FAFSA.
  • Priority given to students with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFC) and who are also Pell Grant recipients.
  • Awards amounts vary.
  • Students must be enrolled at least nine hours.
  • Available to eligible undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's degree or professional degree.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

The TEACH Grant Program provides up to $4,000 a year in grant assistance to junior and senior undergraduates and graduate students who agree to serve for at least four years as full-time “highly qualified” teachers in high-need fields in public or private elementary or secondary schools that serve students from low-income families.

The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office recommends you consider this possible source of funds only if you are committed to teaching a high-need subject in a designated low-income school upon graduation should. This teaching obligation must be completed in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school that is eligible for Title I assistance.

If you do not meet the four-year teaching obligation within eight years of graduation, the grant will convert to an unsubsidized loan, which will have to be repaid with interest calculated back to the date the funds were disbursed.

Read more about TEACH Grants

  • Not need-based, but you must apply by completing the FAFSA.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Available to undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students. Students-at-large and post-baccalaureate students are not eligible.
  • Awards are $4,000 each year, prorated for students enrolled less than full-time.
  • You must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 to be eligible and maintain a 3.25 GPA through the academic program.
  • You must complete TEACH Grant counseling and sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Promise to Pay. Grant recipients agree to teach for at least four years within eight years of finishing their teacher preparation program and to teach high-need subjects in designated schools that serve low-income students.
  • Enroll in a teacher education certificate program in one of the following areas:
    • Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition
    • Foreign Language
    • Mathematics
    • Reading Specialist
    • Science
    • Special Education

Eligible students will be notified through their NIU Z-ID e-mail address.


Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

You may be eligible for an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant if your parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The maximum award amount for 2017-2018 is $5,920 but cannot exceed your cost of attendance for that year. For additional eligibility guidelines and award information, visit the Federal Student Aid website.