Filing FAFSA Early at NEIU

Nicole F. Anderson, News and Co-Managing Editor

Oct. 1 began the application period to file FAFSA. NEIU’s Early FAFSA Task Force committee “#EarlyFAFSA” has a goal of completing 7,000 FAFSA applications with NEIU’s school code.

NEIU’S Financial Aid Executive Director Maureen Amos founded the #EarlyFAFSA initiative at NEIU in 2016 after being a part of the National Early FAFSA Task Force led by the Obama administration. Amos’ experience with the national taskforce led her to bring the Early FAFSA Taskforce to Northeastern.

The Pedroso Center’s Assistant Director Dear Aunaetitrakul is involved with the #EarlyFAFSA initiative.

“We assist the task force with outreach and marketing strategies,” Aunaetitrakul said. “In addition, we are hosting a session on October 23 from 4pm-6pm to target evening students to do the FAFSA application early.”

“We feel that #EarlyFAFSA initiative is important and critical to student success here at NEIU. The sooner students can complete their FAFSA application, the higher the chances for them to get more financial aid packages,” Aunaetitrakul said.

There are 19 members in the #EarlyFAFSA initiative that will be at NEIU’s main campus, El Centro and CCICS hosting workshops to help students fill out their FAFSA applications and answering questions.

The following are #EarlyFAFSA events and workshops:

Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies

700 East Oakwood Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60653

Oct. 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


El Centro Festival de la FAFSA

3390 North Avondale Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618

Oct. 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


Main Campus

5500 North Saint Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625

Oct. 13 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Alumni Hall & B Building Computer Lab


Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs FAFSA Fiesta

5500 North Saint Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625

Oct. 23 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


EagleFest FAFSA Promotions

Oct. 29 – Nov. 1 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


The Nest Franks for FAFSA

3659 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625

Oct. 31 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


The #EarlyFAFSA Task Force at NEIU completed three cycles. In the past, there was only one priority file date, but now, there are a few more. Amos said, “We have a few because we want milestones, or benchmarks.”

FAFSA applicants are to use prior-prior year (PPY) tax information, meaning to file for the 2018-2019, applicants will use 2016 tax information.

Nov. 1 is the priority file date; however, March 1 is also another date, but March 1 is to find students’ eligibility for state grants and institutional scholarships.

“The unique thing about 19-20, is that we have another state scholarship we’re going to get, it’s called Illinois Aim High… It’s only for the new class coming in, freshman, but it’s money that we need to expend and there’s a chance that it can be [sic] exhausted, quite early,” Amos said.

Aim High is for freshman with a high school GPA of 3.0 and it is renewable for three years.

Amos said, “If you’re not eligible for federal benefits, you are more than likely eligible for institutional scholarships and private scholarships.”

Haydee Hernandez, TITLE, added, “And depending on the bracket they [students] fall under, they might be eligible for state, but not necessarily federal.”

Amos said, “We have about 70% of our students that receive some form of financial assistance. And obviously that percentage goes up as the year goes on, because people can still submit FAFSA. You know, even during spring semester, so that percentage goes up.”