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Keys, Cards, and Security


The residence hall community is home to thousands of students. It is important for residents to be safe and secure in the residence halls. All community members must be actively involved with creating a safe and secure environment to ensure all students can focus on academic success and building lasting friendships.

If you've lost or misplaced your room key or OneCard, visit the front desk of your residence hall for help getting back into your room.

One-Hour Loaner Key or Card

  • Use when your key or OneCard is in your room and you are locked out
  • Visit your hall's front desk with a picture ID to get a loaner key or card.
  • If you do not return your loaner key or card within an hour, it will be reclassified as a temporary key or card and a $30 charge will apply.
One-Hour Loaner Key or Card
First time No charge
Second time $10
Third time $20
Fourth time and any time after $30 and referred to staff for possible disciplinary sanctions

Seven-Day Temporary Key or Card

  • Use when you may have left your key or OneCard at home or a friend's place and will need more than an hour to find it
  • If a temporary key is not returned after seven days, staff request an automatic core change and you will be charged for materials and labor to change locks (average costs between $140 and $210)
  • If a temporary card is not returned after seven days, you will be charged $10 for a replacement.
  • If your OneCard is lost or stolen, suspended it immediately to prevent any possible misuse. When you check out a temporary card we will automatically suspend your OneCard for you. Learn about reporting a lost or stolen OneCard and receiving a new one.
  • Residents that have lost their OneCard can request a temporary meal plan card at any residential dining hall.
Seven-Day Temporary Key or Card
First time $30
Second time and any time after $30 and referred to a staff member for possible disciplinary sanctions

Dropped something down an elevator shaft?

Bent or Broken Keys or OneCards

There is no charge for replacing bent or broken keys. See your hall's front desk for a replacement key. The OneCard office issues replacement OneCards for a fee.

Building and Lobby Security

  • Residents must not prop open community access doors or exterior doors.
  • The main entrance and all outside doors to each building are secured from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. each night. During this time, exterior doors will be locked, building access will be restricted, and proper identification of all residents and their guests will be required to gain entry to the building. In addition to Main Desk staff, Access Control will also provide security during the night. Residents who do not have proper identification may be fined $25.
  • Current residents must show their current Hall Entry Card and NIU OneCard to gain entrance into their residence hall.
  • Guests of current residents must have one of the following forms of identification to gain access into the residence hall with their host: Current NIU OneCard, State issued Driver’s License, State issued ID, Passport, Military ID, or F.O.I.D. card.
  • Residents and guests are required to show proper identification to Housing and Residential Services staff upon reasonable request. Without proper identification, residents and guests may be asked to leave the building.
  • Video recording may occur in some areas of the residence halls.

Room Security

  • Residents are expected to lock their rooms and carry their keys and OneCard with them at all times.
  • Residents of Grant C and D Towers, New Residence Hall, and Gilbert Hall should not hang things from the inside door handle of any door that has a proximity reader on it (room doors, and New Hall cluster doors) as this will drain the battery on the lock.
  • Engaging in acts that may endanger the safety of others (e.g., pennying/blocking a person in a room, dangerous "pranks," etc.) is prohibited.

Misuse of Keys or OneCard

Residents shall not:

  • Give possession of one’s room key to another person.
  • Give possession of one’s NIU OneCard to another person.
  • Have possession of a residence hall room key not issued by the University.
  • Allow one's room key or NIU OneCard to be duplicated or modified.
  • Use a key or NIU OneCard to gain entry to a floor/building other than their current building or residence.

Housing and Residential Services

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