Brown Dawg and Grey Dawg at a football game in Saluki Stadium

Photo by Yenitza Melgoza

October 12, 2023

SIU extends pledge to close financial gaps to more families

by Kim Rendfeld

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is extending its Saluki Commitment and Saluki Transfer Commitment – a guarantee to fully cover tuition and mandatory fees – to Illinois families who earn up to $103,040 and meet other criteria. The prior limit was $63,575. 

Expanding the number of students who qualify for Saluki Commitment initiatives fits well with SIU Carbondale’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030, and its pillar of student success and engagement, said Wendell Williams, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management. 

“We are dedicated to improving access and to eliminating barriers,” he said. “Raising the income limit makes the premier, hands-on education we offer more affordable to middle-income Illinoisans who might receive little or no need-based financial aid.” 

Here is how the AIM High/Saluki Commitment for first-time students and the AIM High/Saluki Transfer Commitment for transfer students work. Students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, called the FAFSA. If the federal financial aid package and Illinois MAP grants do not fully pay for tuition and mandatory fees, SIU Carbondale will close the financial gap for students who qualify. Requirements include being an Illinois resident who graduated from an Illinois high school, having family assets less than $50,000 based on the FAFSA and meeting minimum grade point averages. All qualifications are listed on the Financial Aid Office website

With the state allocating significantly more money to MAP (Monetary Award Program) grants for college students, SIU Carbondale is able to use more AIM HIGH funds, also from the state, to extend the Saluki Commitment initiatives to more students, Williams said. 

“We are grateful to state leaders for their commitment to higher education in Illinois,” he said. 

Elyse Weller, director of the Financial Aid Office, said she hopes this new initiative will encourage more students to fill out the FAFSA. 

“We suspect many students don’t fill out the FAFSA because they believe their families earn too much money for them to receive aid,” she said. “By expanding the Saluki Commitment initiatives, we can guarantee students who qualify will get assistance from us.”