Northern Illinois University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois is a university centered on student success and growth. Through study abroad,...

Northern Illinois University

DeKalb, Illinois

Northern Illinois is a university centered on student success and growth. Through study abroad, internships, and research students gain a wealth of knowledge that can be applied to both personal and academic endeavors.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
15,435 undergraduate students
87% of undergrad students are full time
51% male — 49% female
4% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
171 full-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

28% of students live on campus.

Retention Fall 2014

71% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

50% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 14%
Black or African American 16%
White 58%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 5%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%

First Year Experience

The First Year Experience (FYE) at NIU is a collaborative experience between faculty and students. The purpose of the program is to prepare students for successful academic and personal careers as undergraduates. There are several different components to the FYE, all of which come together to provide a solid foundation from which students can grow.

UNIV 101
About 60% of incoming freshman enroll in UNIV 101, an introductory course that transitions students into college. There are approximately 19 students in each class—a small group setting that fosters peer interaction and engagement. Faculty cover topics such as: success tips, writing and oral communications skills, and how to utilize resources. Research has demonstrated that there are benefits to participating in UNIV 101. Students enrolled in the course tend to have higher GPAs, and are more likely to graduate on time.

REACH stands for Retention Effort for All in Coming Huskies. The initiative is headed by the Office of Academic Success and involves communication via telephone. REACH contacts first years and provides assistance to individuals as they transition into college. REACH staff are upperclassman that are interested in sharing their experiences and advice. Individuals that are struggling to adjust receive more attention from staff. NIU wants all of its students to feel at home, and REACH works to bridge some of the gaps that occur during the initial transition period.

Huskies Get Connected
Students enrolled in the first or second year experience have the opportunity to join the Student Success Team (SST). SST is a valuable resource that helps undergraduates navigate social activities and extra curriculars at NIU. Sometimes, the first year of college can be overwhelming and some students might feel lost in the mix. SST helps those individuals get involved in organizations and activities so that they can expand their friend group and feel a part of the campus. SST leaders consult with undergrads one-on-one, so as to meet the needs of each individual.

Common Reading Experience (CRE)
The Common Reading is a shared academic experience among all first year students. The CRE aims to transcend identities and gender so as to create a bond among all students. There is a sense of community involved with the common reading. Students learn to work together to draw conclusions, ask questions, and analyze the material. Faculty encourage peer collaboration as students pursue common goals.

The Second Year Experience

The Second Year Experience (SYE) is an extension of the first year program. Sophomores involved in SYE build communities among their peers, both in and out of the classroom. The program also pushes students to define academic and personal goals for the future. SYE offers sophomores awesome benefits like honor society recognition and a second year living learning community. Here are some of those benefits in further detail:

Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society: roughly 50 members make up this co-ed honor society. Participation is open to eligible second year students involved in the SYE. Members come from all different backgrounds and areas of study.

Sophomore Days of Service: In a one day volunteer event, sophomores have the chance to give back to the community. NIU regards service as an integral part of education and provides this opportunity to encourage students to make a positive impact on the lives around them. Students begin their experience with an orientation so that they can better understand the details of the project. The day ends with a reflection, allowing students to provide feedback on their effort.

Second Year Experience Community (SYE LLC): The Second Year Experience offers a living learning option in which sophomores live among each other in a community that shares common goals. The LLC functions under the direction of a Community Advisor who understands the academic and social needs of the students. Some of the awesome benefits to participating in the SYE LLC include: monthly dinners with faculty, quarterly service initiatives, and presentations offered by Career Services.

First and Second Year Success Series (FSYSS)

FSYSS is a discussion-based program tailored to first and second year students. FSYSS aims to provide students with the tools they need, whether those are academic or personal resources. Through a series of workshops, students learn about the many opportunities NIU has to offer.

Research Rookies Program

The Research Rookies Program is designed for freshman and sophomore students that wish to engage in research. Through the program, students are connected with faculty members in their area of study. In a collaborative effort, students provide assistance as faculty tackle projects. The Rookies program introduces participants to the process of developing and carrying out research efforts. Students learn about every step of the process, starting with how to write a research proposal.

Student-Faculty Links Program

Student-Faculty Links is a mentoring program that allows undergraduates to connect with professors. Faculty in the program assist students with their questions, point out university resources, and guide decisions regarding academic and personal endeavors.

Experiential Learning

The Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning (OSEEL) is the foremost authority on hands on learning at NIU. Students benefit from the many programs and opportunities available through OSEEL. Through hands on experience, students develop critical thinking, written, and oral communication skills.

Themed Learning Communities

Themed Learning Communities (TLCs) examine a specific theme through multiple perspectives. Students in a TLC take a series of linked courses, each of which takes a different approach to the aforementioned theme. There are only 25 students per TLC, allowing for individualized attention from faculty. Peer mentors are also available to help students work through their course material. There are tons of options to choose from. Some of themed communities include pre-professional health, technology and social networking, and psychology. 

Huskie Service Scholars

Huskie Service Scholars is a leadership program in community outreach and service. Scholars are divided into teams comprised of three fellows and one peer mentor. Students engage in a series of training sessions and reflection periods and must complete at least 300 hours of service. At the end of the program, participants receive a waiver of $1,132 on their tuition.

Leadership and Service Living Learning Community

The Leadership and Service LLC allows students to further explore their passion to serve and lead on campus and in the community. Through excursions, community projects, service initiatives, and group collaboration students develop valuable leadership skills. Each student is required to act as an active member of the community and participate in LLC programming.


Admissions Fall 2014

19,814 Total Applicants
10,083 Total Admissions
2,542 Total Freshmen Enrollment

50.89% of applicants admitted

Freshmen Profile Fall 2014

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 450 550
SAT Math 480 580
SAT Writing 430 550
ACT Composite 19 25
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 19 25
ACT Writing 6 8


Net Price Calculator


  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $8,927 $18,506
Fees $4,227 $4,227
Total $13,154 $22,733
Room and Board (on campus) $11,750 $11,750
Room Only $9,670 $9,670
Board Only $2,080 $2,080
Estimated Total On Campus $24,904 $34,483


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

96% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
76% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$9,800 Average amount of federal state local or institutional grant aid received
$7,567 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

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