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Out-of-State Tuition FAQ


Domestic tuition-rate structure

How is NIU changing its tuition structure?

NIU is moving to a new domestic-rate structure for tuition. The change will set out-of-state tuition for domestic students at the equivalent of the in-state tuition rate, effectively making NIU more affordable to U.S. students from outside Illinois.

The change will apply to students enrolled as NIU undergraduates or through the NIU Graduate School. It will take effect beginning with the fall 2018 semester.

Will undergraduate tuition rates for domestic students from outside Illinois be guaranteed for four years, like rates for in-state residents?

Yes, we will extend the tuition guarantee to all undergraduate U.S. residents. So those enrolling for the first time at NIU as degree-seeking undergraduates will continue to be guaranteed the set of program/course tuition rates in effect their initial year of enrollment for four continuous years of undergraduate study. In fact, NIU currently extends the rates for a ninth fall or spring if needed.

The guaranteed rate does not apply to any graduate students. The graduate tuition rate will continue to be set each year by the NIU Board of Trustees.

When will the new tuition rate structure go into effect?

The new rate structure will take effect beginning with the fall 2018 semester at NIU.

Why is NIU adopting the new tuition structure?

In short, we believe eliminating the out-of-state tuition structure, and adopting a domestic structure, is better for ALL of our students, as well as the university and our state.

  • It will make an NIU education more accessible to students nationwide.
  • It will make it more affordable for current out-of-state U.S. students to continue and complete their NIU education.
  • By attracting students from a more expansive geographic area, we’ll increase diversity on our campus and enrich our culture with new perspectives and ideas.
  • The new rate structure should help NIU grow its new enrollment, thereby enhancing the university’s overall financial stability and benefitting our entire community.
  • More out-of-state students will make connections in our region, stay in Illinois after graduation and bolster the state’s skilled workforce.
  • The new rate structure will enhance the institution’s enrollment and national reputation without negatively impacting the enrollment of Illinois residents.
How much is tuition at NIU?

Current rates are posted online. Rates for fall 2018 and spring 2019 haven’t yet been established.

What makes NIU attractive to students from other states?

The high quality of our faculty and academic programs is well-known beyond the borders of Illinois. NIU has the advantage of being a major public research university that provides hands-on learning experiences to students who can conduct research with faculty beginning freshman year. Our campus also maintains a more close-knit, regional-university feel. We have more than 100 outstanding academic programs, more than 300 student organizations, NCAA Division I Athletics and a student-to-faculty ratio of 13-1. At the same time, the university is near two federal research laboratories, an international airport and the world-class City of Chicago. Students can take advantage of countless cultural and internship opportunities throughout the region, and make important professional connections through our outstanding alumni network.

How will currently enrolled domestic students from outside Illinois be impacted?

Currently enrolled domestic students who are paying a higher out-of-state rate at NIU will benefit from the new rate when they return to campus for the fall 2018 semester.

How much money will this save a currently enrolled out-of-state student beginning next fall?

Tuition rates for fall 2018 have not yet been established, but the savings could be substantial for students from outside Illinois. For example, full-time undergraduate students (non-engineering) from outside the Midwest currently are assessed about double the tuition cost ($9,465.60 per term) as in-state students ($4,732.80 per term).

How many out-of-state students currently attend NIU?

Currently, we have nearly 700 students from 46 U.S. states, demonstrating that regardless of where they live, many students seek to earn an NIU degree. We value what those students bring to our campus community, and we want to see their numbers grow.

What NIU programs are students from other states most interested in?

Prospective students from out-of-state are much like their in-state peers, having shown interest in an array of academic programs, including biological sciences, engineering, psychology, business, computer science, sociology and others.

Why did NIU charge more in the past for out-of-state students?

The practice is a holdover from the days when the state used to allocate money to state universities based upon the in-state student headcount.

How will this affect in-state students?

We believe that this change will be positive for Illinois students as well. It will strengthen the university financially—that’s good for all of our students—and create a more robust student experience by increasing geographic diversity.

Will NIU accept fewer Illinois students?

We want more Illinois students! We will continue to focus the majority of our recruitment efforts on expanding enrollment of students from our home state—that won’t change.

How will this affect tuition for Illinois residents?

NIU’s 2018-19 tuition rates will be set at a later date by the NIU Board of Trustees, but we believe the new tuition structure will generate additional revenue through volume and improve the financial health of the university—so all of our students would benefit.

Have other Illinois universities eliminated out-of-state tuition rates?

Some Illinois public universities have already eliminated or substantially modified/reduced their out-of-state tuition structures.

How is this new tuition structure good for Illinois?

Illinois is among nation’s largest net exporters of freshmen to other states’ public colleges. This effort will help counter that trend. By attracting students from across the nation to NIU and helping them make connections with alumni and employers in the region, we will be strengthening the pool of skilled workers in Illinois.

Because Illinois public universities receive state funding, shouldn’t Illinois students pay less than students from other states?
  • As the percentage of state support for higher education has declined, this has become less of an issue—and the state long ago stopped allocating resources to state universities based upon in-state-student headcounts.
  • By attracting more out-of-state students, we hope to increase income for the university, which could allow us to better hold the line on tuition and other costs for all students.
Are international students eligible for the new rate structure?

The new rate structure will only apply to U.S. residents.

For further questions related to undergraduate admissions, call 815-753-0446 or email For further questions related to Graduate School admissions, call 815-753-0395 or email


Undergraduate application deadlines

Term Deadline
Summer 2018 May 15, 2018
Fall 2018 August 1, 2018
Spring 2019 December 1, 2018

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