(CBS) -- The University of Illinois will pay for eight semesters of tuition for incoming freshmen who are Illinois residents and meet certain income requirements.
The program, called Illinois Commitment, will take effect in the fall of 2019, and the entering freshman class and transfer students will be eligible.
The university says it will provide financial awards to cover the tuition and campus fees for in-state students whose family income is less than $61,000, the current median family income in Illinois.
University officials said the program was created because too many students said cost and lack of financial aid was forcing them to go to university out-of-state.
"We're acutely aware that a number of students in our state who could be part of the Illinois family never even consider applying, simply because they don't believe that they could afford to attend the Urbana campus," Robert J. Jones, the chancellor of the Urbana campus, said in a statement.
The program will not affect the federal and state aid available to other Urbana campus students.
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