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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

When calling the Bursar’s Office regarding my child’s account, the receptionist would only provide me with general Bursar information. Why?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended is a federal law intended to protect the privacy of student educational records accumulated from early childhood through college.  FERPA provided parents with certain rights with respect to their children’s educational records.  However, once a student reaches the age of 18 or enters college, the rights previously held by the parents transfer exclusively to the student.

Students have the option to delegate information through “Shared Access.”  Shared Access allows a student to grant, up to 2 individuals, access to view their student information.  The student can grant access to information such as: Academics, Admissions, Financials, Financial Aid, and To Do List.  To set up and authorize the release of information, please review the following DoIT KB article.  The Office of the Bursar representative would be able to discuss specific account details with the individuals the student has authorized the release of financial information.

Furthermore, FERPA restriction guidelines will not allow the Office of the Bursar to disclose the existence of the account if the account has been flagged as “non-disclosure.”  You may change your non-disclosure status with Registration and Records, or go online via  MyNIU.  If you do not change your non-disclosure agreement, you will need to come to the Office of the Bursar with a photo ID.

To Change/Update FERPA Restrictions: Navigate to MyNIU Student Center. Scroll to Personal Information, Demographic Data and click on the security tab. See the following DoIT KB article for more information.

There is a hold on my student account. What is this for?

Departments that assign holds to student accounts generally send a separate notification indicating why the hold was assigned. These holds may prevent you from registering for classes and/or obtaining transcripts.

A Bursar hold is a financial hold placed on a student account that may prevent registering for classes, being readmitted to the university, and/or obtaining a transcript or diploma.

Please read about holds on our Past Due Account Information page.

Tuition and Fees

What expenses does my graduate tuition cover?

The major portion of revenue from graduate tuition is used cover the costs of instruction. The remaining portion is used to meet the ever-emerging demands for cutting edge academic programs and services for NIU students. Critical areas for funding include: library journals and books, support for courses in high demand; technology upgrades, academic strategic planning initiatives designed to strengthen, direct and further improve academic programs, research and the academic experience of students. Other items receiving support are the graduate colloquium; maintenance for classroom buildings and other campus facilities such as Holmes Student Center, the Recreation Center and Convocation Center; campus infrastructure improvements in order to provide students with a quality learning environment; the university’s intercollegiate athletic programs for both men and women; University Health Service which provides comprehensive ambulatory health care for students while the university is in session; and the Huskie Bus service.

Why is my graduate tuition so much higher than previously? Will I also be charged fees?

Prior to fall 2015, tuition and fees have been broken out separately. This caused some confusion about the total cost of a class. We know that from time to time, students have been surprised to receive charges for additional fees associated with enrolling in a course. Now, we have consolidated all charges for a class into a single ”tuition” charge to simplify your bill and make it clearer, up front, exactly what it costs to take a given course. The only additional fees you may be assessed are material fees that are relevant for a specific class. This is our way of avoiding any surprises for you.

I am a graduate student and my tuition rate is higher than my friend’s who is also a grad student at NIU. Why?

It is likely you are pursuing a degree in an area where the cost of delivering instruction is higher than average and you are being charged a differential tuition rate. Differential tuition rates are assessed to certain programs where the cost of delivery is higher than that of average university programs, e.g., enhanced curriculum through subject-specific hardware, cutting-edge technologies and computer upgrades, as well as faculty support including training, software and other course materials other than textbooks. Differential tuition may also be charged for programs to cover curriculum enhancements that provide a higher value for the graduate of that program in terms of future career opportunities and earning potential. It may also arise where demand for a program is particularly high.

What are the tuition and fee rates per course?

Tuition and fees are charged per credit hour according to your student classification and residency status. Illinois undergraduates are charged also according to the term of initial enrollment as required by the the truth-in-tuition law. View the current rates on our  Tuition & Fees page or the NIU Planning & Cost Estimator.

What is truth-in-tuition and why did my rates change?

Truth-in-tuition is an Illinois state law requiring an Illinois resident that is an undergraduate student and seeking a degree for the first time to be charged the same tuition rate for nine (9) continuous fall and spring semesters. Read more about the  truth-in-tuition policy (pdf).

Are there any required undergraduate student fees?

Mandatory general student fees are charged based on the number of enrolled hours per term. See the Fees & Common Charges page for more information and an explanation of the individual fees.

Why was I charged student medical insurance? Can I cancel out of it?

Students initially enrolled for nine on-campus credit hours are charged for student medical insurance. International students are required to be enrolled in student medical insurance. Check the Student Insurance Office website for all forms, as well as deadlines to apply for the cancelation of the insurance.

Who do I contact to remove/adjust parking tickets, library fines, late immunization fees, and/or any other miscellaneous charges on my statement?

The Office of the Bursar does not have the authority to make adjustments to your account for these types of charges. If you have questions, contact the office or department that initiated the charge. Call the NIU operators at 815-753-1000 to reach the appropriate department.

Why was I assessed a late payment fee?

Students who pay less than the total amount due by the respective due date will be assessed a monthly late payment fee of 1.08% on the remaining unpaid balance, with a minimum late fee charge of $0.50. View the payment policy for further information regarding late payment fees.

Payments

When are payments due?

Payment of all charges for a term is due one week prior to the start of the term to which the charges apply. Students can pay the full account balance at this time or an amount less than the full amount unless enrolled in the Huskie Installment Plan. Students who pay less than the total amount due by the respective due date will be assessed a monthly late payment fee of 1.08% on the remaining unpaid portion, with a minimum late fee charge of $0.50. View the actual payment due dates on the Payment Due Dates page.

Can I make installment payments?

The Huskie Installment Plan (HIP) is a payment option designed to provide budgetary assistance in meeting NIU students' semester educational expenses. Through HIP, instead of making a lump sump payment at the beginning of each term, you can spread your NIU semester expenses over four equal monthly payments. View the Huskie Installment Plan (HIP) page for details.

Will my classes be cancelled if my payment is late?

No. Your classes will not be cancelled for late payments. However, a  late payment fee of 1.08% may be assessed to the unpaid balance on your student account if not paid in full by the due date. Also, a Bursar financial hold may be placed on your student account that may prevent registering for classes and/or obtaining a transcript or diploma.

Where can my payments be made and what forms of payment are acceptable?

Please view the Make a Payment page for your payment options.

Which credit cards do you accept for payment?

Currently, the Office of the Bursar accepts American Express, Discover and MasterCard for credit card payments via  MyNIU . Please view the Make a Payment page for additional information on payments. Please note: A 2.4% convenience fee will be charged for credit/debit card payments. There is no convenience fee for the e-check option.

Can I drop off a payment after regular office hours when the Bursar’s Office is closed?

Yes. Drop boxes are available for payments made before or after regularly scheduled office hours. These drop boxes are located just to the left of the Hotel desk on the second floor of Holmes Student Center or on the wall to the left of the main entrance of the Bursar’s Office in Swen Parson Hall, Room 235. Please view the Make a Payment page for additional information on payments.

Can someone other than the student make an online payment?

Yes. Through the use of Shared Access, students can grant access to the Make a Payment feature on MyNIU.

I made an online payment to my student account and the Bursar hold is still on. How can it be removed?

If your account is paid and the hold needs to be removed immediately, please contact the  Office of the Bursar during regular business hours. Otherwise, it should come off through overnight processing.

Are both my credit card number and electronic check number encrypted on MyNIU when making an online payment?

No. This information is not stored on MyNIU. Your payment is processed through a secure payment gateway before the payment is received by NIU for security purposes. No person has access to this confidential information.

My employer has a reimbursement program for taking college classes. Does NIU offer a deferment plan for the costs paid by the employer?

No. A reimbursement program represents a contractual agreement between the student and his/her sponsor (employer).

I am concerned about not being able to make payments for the semester. What should I do?

You should set up an appointment to speak with an account counselor as soon as possible.

I received a "Returned Payment Fee" on my account. What is that for?

A payment was returned and marked as unpaid by your financial institution (bank). NIU charges $25.00 for each returned payment. Inquiries can be directed to the  Office of the Bursar.

The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition (529 Plan) is paying for my tuition and fees. What do I need to do to notify NIU?

Please read about  College Illinois! on our Third-Party Contracts page.

Account Statements

I have financial aid (e.g., loans, grants, and scholarships) but I do not see it reflected on my Account Statement. What should I do?

Log in to your MyNIU account and navigate to the Student Center. Within the Finances section, click the Term Account Detail link, then select the term you want to view. On this page you will see your charges, payments, and any financial aid for the term. Any additional questions regarding your financial aid should be directed to the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.

Why is my current account balance in MyNIU different than the amount due on my monthly account statement?

The monthly account statement reflects charges, payments and aid as of the statement date. However, MyNIU reflects real-time activity that may also include activity after the statement date.

Where is my account statement mailed?

Account statements are mailed to your permanent address unless a billing address is on file.

I submitted an address for billing, but my statements are going to a different address. Why?

Important: if you completed an address change form with the United States Postal Service, this change may override your specified address that you have on file at NIU. The post office will only deliver your mail to the address you have on file with them. If you have questions, please contact the Bursar Office.

Can I have my account statements mailed to someone other than myself?

Yes. You have two options:

  1. If you prefer someone else to receive your account statement in the mail, an alternative billing address must be established. Please notify the Bursar’s Office either in person or from your student Z-ID e-mail account.

    Important: If you completed an address change form with the United States Postal Service, this change may override this new alternative billing address. The post office will only deliver your mail to the address you have on file with them. If you have questions, please contact the Bursar Office.
  2. Through the use of Shared Access, you can grant others access to view your account statements on MyNIU.
I have misplaced my account statement. How can I obtain another copy?

All account statements, beginning with fall 2011, are available online 24/7 via MyNIU. For instructions on accessing your online, self service account statements, view our  job aid (pdf).

Through the use of Shared Access, you can grant others access to account statements on MyNIU.

I am having difficulty viewing a statement online. What should I do?

Various web browsers have settings that actively block pop-up windows. Perform the following steps in your browser:

Apple Safari:
"Block Pop-Up Windows" needs to be unselected. Navigation: Edit > Block Pop-Up Windows (Ctrl + Shift + K)

Firefox:
Upon clicking the View Statement link, an Information Bar should display on the screen. Click the "Options" button. Select "Allow Pop-Ups".

Google Chrome:
Click Chrome menu on browser toolbar. Select Settings. Click "Show advanced settings" at bottom. In the "Privacy" section, click the Content settings button. In the Pop-ups section click the "Manage exceptions" button. Type sa.niu.edu to Allow. Click "Done".

Internet Explorer:
Upon clicking the View Statement link, an Information Bar should display on the screen. Click the bar. Select "Always Allow Pop-Ups from This Site".

If you continue to have difficulties pulling up the self service account statement, you should contact the DoIT Service Desk  opens in new window at 815-753-8100.

Refunds

When will initial refunds from Financial Aid be processed for the current semester?

If you are  entitled to receive a refund due to a credit balance on your account, financial aid refunds are processed during the 3rd week of the semester and then daily throughout the semester.

Do I need to request a refund of a credit balance?

No. Refunds are automatically processed as eligible credit balances occur. For a more secure and timely refund, direct deposit is encouraged. Otherwise a check will be processed and mailed to your residence hall or your local address. If no local address is on file, the check will be mailed to your permanent address. View the  Refunds page for more information.

Can I pick up my refund check?

No. Refund checks are not available for pickup at the Bursar Office. For a more secure and timely refund, direct deposit is encouraged. View the  Refunds page for more information.

How will the money be sent to the bank when using direct deposit?

The funds will be sent electronically through the banking system and will take 3-5 business days to be deposited in your account. You can verify receipt of the funds by contacting your bank.

What if I want to cancel direct deposit?

Simply complete a new  Direct Deposit Form (pdf) and indicate that you want to cancel direct deposit.

What happens if I close my bank account and do not notify the Office of the Bursar?

If NIU has already issued the refund, contact your bank. If the bank has returned the refund to the Office of the Bursar, a paper check will be issued to the local address you have on file. For future refunds, please update your direct deposit information.

As an NIU employee, I have direct deposit set up for my payroll. Will my Bursar refund be automatically deposited into that account?

No. You will need to fill out a separate request for direct deposit of the refund. The Office of the Bursar direct deposit form is available.

Withdrawals

I enrolled at NIU but I decided not to attend the university this semester. What should I do?

Undergraduates:
Contact the college of your major by completing the  Undergraduate Procedures for Withdrawing from the University  opens in new window . If you signed up for a room with housing, contact the Housing & Residential Services Office at 815-753-1525 to cancel your housing. There will be a cancellation fee added to your account from the Housing & Residential Services Office.

Graduates:
Please follow the instructions on the  Graduate Student Withdrawal Procedures  opens in new window page.

To receive full credit for your tuition and fees, withdraw before the term begins. Merely ceasing to attend classes does NOT cancel enrollment or qualify you for a reduction of course charges.

How will a course withdrawal/university withdrawal affect my student account?

You will still need to contact your college office to apply for any withdrawal. The portion of refundable charges paid will be dependent upon the date of withdrawal as determined by your college office. View the  Withdrawal Reduction Schedule and select the correct term.

Undergraduates:
Course Withdrawal Procedures  opens in new window
University Withdrawal Procedures  opens in new window

If you signed up for a room with housing, contact the Housing & Residential Services Office at (815) 753-1525 to cancel your housing. There will be a cancellation fee added to your account from the Housing & Residential Services Office.

Graduates:
Please follow the instructions on the  Graduate Student Withdrawal Procedures  opens in new window page.

To receive full credit for your tuition and fees, withdraw before the term begins. Merely ceasing to attend classes does NOT cancel enrollment or qualify you for a reduction of course charges.

How will a withdrawal affect my financial aid for the term?

If you have received any financial aid such as student loans, scholarships, grants or waivers, it is important to contact the  Financial Aid and Scholarship Office  opens in new window . If you received a refund from your financial aid, you may need to return the refund to the university. Check your MyNIU opens in new window to see if you owe money or contact the Office of the Bursar.

1098-T Tuition Statements

What is the purpose of IRS Form 1098-T?

The purpose of IRS Form 1098-T is to assist you in determining if you are eligible for one or more educational tax credits.

When are 1098-T tax forms sent out?

1098-T Forms are mailed by January 31 to your billing address. If you have only a permanent address on file, the form will be mailed there.

What happens if I never received my 1098-T tax form?

A copy of your 1098-T will be available on MyNIU opens in new window . Once logged in, navigate to MyNIU Student Center > Finances section > View 1098-T link within the dropdown menu. The online form will also provide you with detail making up the amounts reported on your 1098-T form. If you have a problem with logging in, please call the DoIT Service Desk  opens in new window at 815-753-8100.

Through the use of Shared Access, students can grant others access to their 1098-T forms on MyNIU.

How do I know if I qualify for an educational tax credit? How do I claim it if I qualify?

Only you and/or your tax consultant can determine if you are eligible for any educational tax benefits. NIU staff members are not tax professionals and due to the complexity of the tax code, cannot provide tax advice or determine your eligibility for educational tax benefits. We can provide you with information about your account, which you may need in order to determine your eligibility for tax benefits. However, any questions about your eligibility should be directed to the IRS or a tax professional.

There is no dollar ($) amount in Box 1. Why?

The IRS instructs institutions to report either payments received (Box 1) OR amounts billed for qualified tuition and related expenses (Box 2) on the 1098-T Form. NIU has elected to report qualified tuition and fees that were posted to your account during the tax year (Box 2). Therefore, Box 1 will be blank on the 1098-T Form.

Why does Box 2 include future spring charges?

The amount in Box 2 reflects all qualified tuition and related expenses that were posted to the tuition account in the calendar (tax) year. If the student registers for future spring classes in November and December, these charges will be on the 1098-T Form as indicated in Box 7.

What is included in Box 5?

This box reflects the total of scholarships and grants that were posted to the tuition account during the calendar (tax) year. This may also include adjustments to scholarships and grants posted late for a prior year.

What charges and/or fees are not included on the 1098-T tax form?

The student-to-student program fee (undergraduate only), housing, bookstore charges and any fines assessed to the student are not reported.

I am having difficulty viewing my 1098-T online. What should I do?

Various web browsers have settings that actively block Pop-Up windows. Perform the following steps in your browser:

Apple Safari:
"Block Pop-Up Windows" needs to be unselected. Navigation: Edit > Block Pop-Up Windows (Ctrl + Shift + K)

Firefox:
Upon clicking the View Statement link, an Information Bar should display on the screen. Click the "Options" button. Select "Allow Pop-Ups".

Google Chrome:
Click Chrome menu on browser toolbar. Select Settings. Click "Show advanced settings" at bottom. In the "Privacy" section, click the Content settings button. In the Pop-ups section click the "Manage exceptions" button. Type sa.niu.edu to Allow. Click "Done".

Internet Explorer:
Upon clicking the View Statement link, an Information Bar should display on the screen. Click the bar. Select "Always Allow Pop-Ups from This Site".

If you continue to have difficulties pulling up the 1098-T, you should contact the DoIT Service Desk  opens in new window at 815-753-8100.

I'm having trouble printing my 1098-T online. What can I do?

Please note that all eligible students receive a printed copy of their 1098T form in the mail. If you are having trouble printing your 1098-T within your Internet browser, please try the following:

Internet Explorer | Apple Safari:
Navigation: File > Print (Ctrl + P). Click the "OK" or "Print" button.

Mozilla Firefox:
Navigation: Edit > Select All (Ctrl + A). Then proceed to File > Print (Ctrl + P). In the Print range section, choose the "Selection" option. Click the "OK" button.

For additional information regarding tax credits, view the Internal Revenue Service opens in new window website. For questions relating specifically to information provided by NIU on your 1098-T tuition statement, you may contact the NIU Office of the Bursar.

Please note, however, this office CANNOT provide any tax advice.

Student Organizations

How do student organizations set up an Accounts Receivable account?

Read about setting up an AR account on the  Student Organization Billing page.

Does my student organization need an Accounts Receivable customer number to book events on campus?

If your group is SA recognized but not SA funded, YES, you do need an AR customer number. If your group is SA funded, NO, you do not need an AR customer number. Please view the Student Organization Billing page.

I forgot my student organization's customer number. Can you tell me what it is?

No. The Accounts Receivable Office cannot provide student organization information over the phone. One of the signers of the AR documents must come into our office and show a photo ID in order for any information to be released. Please view the Student Organization Billing page.

I was the president or treasurer of a student organization on campus. Why do I owe the debt from my student organization?

When you signed your organization up for an account with NIU, you accepted personal responsibility for the payment of charges for that organization.

Contact Us

Office of the Bursar
Swen Parson Hall Room 235

Phone: 815-753-1885
Email: bursar@niu.edu 

Business Hours