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WIU announces new financial aid program

Sherman Hall is the main administration building — and the oldest building — on WIU's campus in Macomb.
Rich Egger
Sherman Hall is the main administration building — and the oldest building — on WIU's campus in Macomb.

Western Illinois University created a new financial aid program called The Western Way. The university hopes it will help more students from low-income families in Illinois attend WIU.

To qualify for the program, you must have graduated from an Illinois high school with a minimum 3.0 GPA and be accepted into WIU. Once at WIU, a student must take a minimum of 12 credit hours but no more than 15 credit hours to qualify for The Western Way.

A full list of criteria is available at

“It is our hope to help students who want to complete a bachelor’s degree,” Justin Schuch said, the Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment. “Maybe finances have been something on their mind… We can take that one concern off their mind.”

He said students do not need to apply for The Western Way. Instead, the university will look at a student's FAFSA and WIU applications, then notify them if they qualify.

Money given for this program can only be used for tuition and mandatory fees – it cannot be used for housing, dining, or books. Schuch said there are other scholarships and grants available for those expenses.

The Western Way is funded by AIM HIGH, an Illinois government program to help encourage Illinois high school graduates to go to Illinois universities.

“We’re hoping that students from the state of Illinois, we can keep them in the state of Illinois -- have a great education in the state and at WIU,” Schuch said.

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