Northern Illinois University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University is centered on student success and growth. Through tremendous opportunities for...

Northern Illinois University

DeKalb, Illinois

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

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
15,027 undergraduate students
88% of undergrad students are full time
51% male — 49% female

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
883 full-time faculty
281 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

28% of students live on campus.

Retention Fall 2015

72% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

50% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 15%
Black or African American 16%
White 57%
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%

The First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience (FYE) at NIU is a collaborative academic plan 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 freshmen 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 on-campus resources. Research has demonstrated that there are significant benefits to participating in UNIV 101; those enrolled in the course tend to have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate on time.
  • REACH: REACH stands for Retention Effort for All in Coming Huskies. The initiative is headed by the Office of Academic Success and involves active communication via telephone. REACH contacts first years and provides them assistance throughout their transition into the college lifestyle. REACH staff are upperclassmen who are highly interested in sharing their experiences and advice, aiming for all students to feel at home.
  • 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 intrinsic to 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 their academic and personal goals for the future. SYE offers sophomores awesome benefits, including a second-year living-learning community and recognition in the honor society.

  • 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. They begin their experience with an orientation, helping them become acquainted to the details of their projects in order to provide the most impactful service possible.
  • Second-Year Experience Living-Learning Community (SYE LLC): The Second-Year Experience offers a living-learning option in which sophomores can live among one another 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 helpful presentations offered by Career Services.

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 their access to all the social activities and extracurriculars available at NIU. Because the first year of college can often make students feel overwhelmed and lost in the crowd, SST makes it easy to 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 individually so as to meet the needs of each individual.


The First- and Second-Year Success Series (FSYSS) is a discussion-based program tailored to first- and second-year students. FSYSS aims to provide students with the tools they need, whether they be academically or personally beneficial. Through a series of workshops, students can learn about the many opportunities NIU has to offer so that they may make the most of their remaining years.


The Research Rookies Program is designed for freshman and sophomore students who wish to engage in research. Through the program, students are connected with faculty members in their area of study, working through a collaborative effort to tackle projects at the collegiate level. The Rookies program introduces participants to the process of developing and carrying out research efforts, gaining useful information throughout every step of the process, from writing a research proposal to reaching a conclusion.

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 experiences, students develop critical thinking as well as written and oral communication skills.

Themed Learning Communities

Themed Learning Communities (TLCs) examine a specific theme through multiple perspectives. Students in TLCs take a series of linked courses, each of which takes a unique, different approach to the a common 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, including 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 of three fellows under the supervision of a peer mentor. Together, they engage in a series of training sessions and reflection periods, ultimately completing 300 hours of meaningful service. Participants even receive a waiver of over $1,000 off their tuition.

Leadership and Service Living-Learning Community

The Leadership and Service LLC allows students to explore their passions further in order to serve and lead both on campus and in the community. Through excursions, community projects, service initiatives, and group collaboration, students develop valuable leadership skills. Each in this LLC acts as an engaged member in the LLC programming.


Admissions Fall 2015

17,099 Total Applicants 
8,610 Total Admissions 
2,259 Total Freshman Enrollment

50.35% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 450 530
SAT Math 450 550
SAT Writing 410 520
ACT Composite 19 25
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 19 25
ACT Writing 6 8


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $9,169 $18,930
Fees $4,830 $4,830
Total $13,999 $23,760
Room and Board (on campus) $10,766 $10,766
Estimated Total On Campus $24,765 $34,526 


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

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

$9,112 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$7,682 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates