University Residency Requirement

University Residency Exemption Request Form (PDF)

New Freshman Application to Commute Form (PDF)

On-campus living provides unique opportunities for student academic and social involvement. The value on-campus living adds to a student’s college experience is the basis for the University Residency Requirement. First year students are required to complete a Housing & Residential Services contract, submit an Application to Commute, or file a University Residency Requirement Exemption Request.

The University Residency Requirement stipulates that all single students classified as freshmen (under 24 hours of NIU accepted college credit) who will have not reached their 21st birthday by September 1, and are not residing with their parents or legal guardians, must live in a Northern Illinois University residence hall for the full academic year (August – May).

Simply stated you must either:

  1. Complete a Housing & Residential Services contract
  2. Submit a notarized Application to Commute
  3. University Residency Requirement Exemption Request, with supporting documentation

Students who have not done one of these three things will automatically have a Housing & Residential Services standard double room billing for a full semester’s room rate sent to their NIU Bursar’s account for the first semester they are enrolled in an academic year (August – May). Students who do not complete one of the required options by the end of the first week of classes their first semester (or within 30 days of a late admission date) will be billed a $100 contract service charge if the requested exemption is granted. Students who do not complete one of these things and have been billed through the University Residency Requirement will only be considered for a refund if they submit the Application to Commute or University Residency Requirement Exemption Request within the first semester they are enrolled. Requests for contract billing changes after the last class day of the first semester enrolled will not be considered for a refund. The university does not waive finance or late fee charges for students who have not submitted their exemption requests before classes begin their first semester enrolled.

Application to Commute

  • Authorized commuting distance is defined as no further than 50 miles from the NIU DeKalb campus.
  • Living with siblings, friends, or in family owned subsidiary housing in which the parent/guardian does not permanently reside does not meet the standards for a University Residency Requirement exemption.
  • A student completing 24 or more hours at another institution (if those hours are accepted for credit by NIU) prior to the beginning of their first semester at NIU may support their exemption application by supplying an institutional copy of those transcripts.
  • Authorization to commute has not been granted until this request has been processed and a letter granting approval has been returned to the requesting student.
  • A student who is seeking to waive the University Residency Requirement for reasons other than commuting from the permanent home of their parent/guardian may complete a University Residency Requirement Exemption Request form that provides an opportunity for the student to introduce other factors for consideration.

University Housing & Residential Services Residency Exemption Request

  • A married student may submit a University Residency Requirement Exemption Request, accompanied by a copy of their marriage certificate to request release from the University Residency Requirement.
  • A student who is the parent/guardian of a dependent child may request to be released from the University Residency Requirement to care for that child. A copy of the birth certificate or court documentation of guardianship needs to accompany the exemption request.
  • While there are other categories for exemption requests by continuing students, it is rare for a first year student to be released from the University Residency Requirement for any reason other than commuting from the permanent home of their parent/guardian, personal marriage or being the primary care giver (parent or legal guardian) of a dependent child.

Housing & Residential Services
housing@niu.edu
815-753-1525

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