SIU covering tuition for some low-income students

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The program will be available to full-time, undergraduate students enrolling in a baccalaureate degree program beginning in fall 2021 at either SIUE and SIUC

ST. LOUIS — Students who begin their four-year education this fall at either Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville or Southern Illinois University – Carbondale and meet certain income criteria won’t carry the full burden of paying for their education.

Trustees of the Southern Illinois University System announced at their meeting earlier this month the launch of a new initiative, SIU System Commitment. Beginning in fall 2021, the program will cover tuition and mandatory fees for new, four-year undergraduate students with family income under $63,375 and who meet several other requirements.

The program will be available to full-time, undergraduate students enrolling in a baccalaureate degree program beginning in fall 2021 at either SIUE and SIUC. Participants must be Illinois residents who attended an Illinois high school and apply for admission by the March 1 priority deadline.

To be eligible, participants must submit a Free Application for Student AID (FAFSA), have a family income less than $63,575 annually with assets less than $50,000. SIU System President Dan Mahony said in a press release that the program would fill the gap that might remain after other financial aid and scholarships.

Officials noted that according to an Institute for Higher Education Policy study from 2017, students from lower-income backgrounds could only afford 1% to 5% of the 2,000 colleges included in the report. “A student’s ZIP code or economic status should not prevent them from achieving their goal of obtaining a college degree,” Mahony said.

“From our Board of Trustees all the way through our system and campus leadership, this has been a priority, and it signals an important message we want to send to students and their families that the SIU campuses are doing all they can to make college available, especially for those who have the most challenging time paying for it,” Mahony said. 

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