Paw Paw has a population of about 800.
“When you come from Russia, you imagine America to be like New York or Chicago,” Oleg Grachev said. “I was kind of shocked when I got here. But I was still determined to get my education.”
At Paw Paw High School, he excelled in nearly all his classes. He was so happy and successful, he realized he wanted to stay in the U.S. for college and pursue a business degree. His realization, however, came a bit late – most universities' application periods were already closed by the time he made his decision to stay in the spring.
Oleg Grachev applied to the University of Chicago and was denied instantly.
“I wasn’t prepared,” he said.
Then he discovered NIU.
Grachev found out NIU’s admissions office was still accepting applications into the summer. He applied, and only a few weeks later, was accepted.
The good news didn’t end there. The university offered him an international student scholarship, which essentially cut his tuition in half, he said.
“My family would have never been able to handle the burden of a United States education," Oleg Grachev said. "Having that support from NIU since the beginning has helped us greatly.”