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General Family FAQ


Where can my student purchase textbooks?

Your student can purchase and sell textbooks at the University Bookstore located on the Ground Floor of the Holmes Student Center. For more information about buying, renting, or reserving textbooks you can visit out University Bookstore’s website at

Where should I refer my student if he/she is struggling in classes?

We encourage all students that are in need of tutoring of other study help to get in contact with our ACCESS office. ACCESS provides walk-in tutoring services, one-on-one tutoring services, study groups, and many other support services for students who require academic assistance to be successful. For more information regarding tutoring and the other programs provided by ACCESS visit

If students are struggling in a class, encourage them to talk with their professor. Some colleges have specific tutoring options.

How can I contact a professor?

Your student should be the one in contact with their professors. It is a great way for your student to stay on top of their studies and grades. When your student is enrolled in a class, the professor hands out a syllabus with their office hours and contact information, which generally includes an email and phone number. Due to FERPA, the professor may only discuss academic related information with students. If the is an issue encourage your student to reach out to their professor.

What is FERPA?

The Family Education Right and Privacy Act is a federal law that states that students must consent prior to disclosing educational records, which are seen as confidential. These records include: personal information, grades, enrollment records and class schedules. A tutorial concerning FERPA is available online at

How can I check my student’s grades?

Your student can view his or her grades through their MyNIU and blackboard. However, for family members to access their student’s grade, your student will have to set-up Shared Access. Once your student has granted you Shared Access you will be able to login with your own username and password.

What is Shared Access?

Shared Access allows students to grant others access to view their student information. The student can limit the amount of information that other parties can view. To learn more about Shared Access and view instructions on how to set up Shared Access go to

What do I do if my student has a disability or needs additional assistance?

If your student has a disability and/or needs further assistance, they should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC). For students who have questions about implementing any accommodations should contact the DRC at (815) 753-1303 or visit

Who does my student need to talk to if they are undecided or want to change their major?

If your student is undecided, they will meet an advisor through the Academic Advising Center. The advisors at the Academic Advising Center will be able to help your student explore academic interests and determine a major that best fits them. If your student is interested in changing his or her major, they can meet with an advisor from the college they are already a part of or meet with an advisor from the Academic Advising Center. For more information on advising for each college, you may visit the following websites:

College of Business -

College of Education -

College of Health and Human Sciences -

College of Engineering and Engineering Technology -

College of Visual and Performing Arts -

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences -

Academic Advising Center -

How does my student register for classes?

It is highly encouraged that your student meet with his or her adviser at least once a semester to make sure that they are on track to graduate. Students will be able to register for classes through MyNIU. Enrollment times will vary depending on the status of your student (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior) and if he or she get first priorities (University Honors Program, etc.).

I am trying to plan travel for my student to come home for the holidays–when are the school breaks?

For the academic calendar, please visit There you will be able to see the breaks for each semester and other important dates, such as final exams week and commencement.

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What exactly is the NIU OneCard used for?

The OneCard is an identification card for all Northern Illinois University students, staff, faculty, and employees. It grants access to your student’s residence hall and allows them to access their meal plans and Huskie Bucks.

Where can my student eat on campus?

There are multiple dining options all across campus. A list of all the on-campus dining locations can be found at These dining facilities offer a variety of food options at various times throughout the day. If your student has any dietary restrictions or food allergies and would like help navigating the dining location, please contact the nutrition and allergy support staff at (815) 753-9556 or by e-mail at Your student can also visit their office which is located in Neptune Central, room 225.

What is the difference between Flex Dollars and Huskie Bucks?

Flex Dollars can be used in any residential dining location and a select non-residential locations. The funds are allocated once per semester and rollover from week to week. However, if your student has Flex Dollars at the end of the semester those funds are forfeited. Huskie Bucks are separate from your student’s meal plan. Your student’s Huskie Bucks account is a pre-paid debit account that can be used anywhere on campus to purchase meals as well as various services such as laundry and copying/printing. Students can also use Huskie Bucks at select local restaurants.

How do I add money to my student’s Huskie Bucks?

To make an online deposit, visit and click “Huskie Bucks Deposit” under "Payment Type".  For more information and other deposit options please visit

Note: Online deposits may take up to three business days to electronically transfer into a Huskie Bucks account. 

What do I do if my student wants to change his or her meal plan?

If your student wishes to change his or her meal plan, they can fill out the Dining Meal Plan Change Request form at

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Where can I find out more about safety on NIU’s campus?

Northern Illinois University works hard to maintain a safe campus for students, faculty, and staff. NIU provides a variety of resources that are designed to increase the safety on campus as well as our students’ ability to make responsible choices. The University Police Department has a positive relationship with the local law enforcement agencies to enhance a safe and healthy community outside the campus. For more information regarding services offered to students please visit the NIU Police Department’s website at

Is there a service that will take my student to his or her car at night or to other campus locations?

NIU has a variety of safety options for your student to be safe while on campus at night. If your student would like an escort to his or her car after a late night class, they can contact the Student Huskie Patrol at (815) 753-9658. For more details regarding Student Huskie Patrol go to If your student does not have a car and would like a ride back to his or her residence or a location near campus, they can ride the Huskie Safe Line. This service runs from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. For more details about the Huskie Safe Line and to see the pick-up and drop-off location visit

What are the NIU Safety Bulletins and how do I sign up?

We have three different kinds of safety bulletins: Emergency Alerts, Timely Warnings and Community Awareness Bulletins. If you would like to learn specific details about each bulletin, visit In order to get registered for any of these bulletins, your student can register two emergency contacts through their MyNIU. Steps on how to register can be found at

What is the plan for inclement weather?

In the event of inclement weather, your student can go to Here they will be able to see any updated information regarding the university’s operational status. Your student will also be able to read the university’s severe weather and university closure procedures, as well as off-campus weather closing procedures.

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Who can I contact about on-campus or off-campus housing?

If your student is going to be living on campus you can contact Housing & Dining at (815) 753-1525 or you can e-mail them at For more on-campus housing information you can go to their website If your student is looking to live off-campus you can contact Military and Post-Traditional Student Services at (815) 753-9999 or you can e-mail them at For more off-campus housing information you can visit their website

What are the on-campus housing options?

Information regarding our on-campus housing options and rates can be found at

Does my freshman student have to live on-campus?

If your student is a single, new freshmen who will not have reached their 21st birthday by September 1, and are not living with their parents or legal guardians, or are not the custodial parent of a dependent child, must live in the residences halls as long as there is space available. More information about the residency requirements can be found at

Where should we begin looking for off-campus housing?

Military and Post-Traditional Student Services is a great resource for your student if they are looking to live off-campus. They can help your student find apartment options in the DeKalb or Sycamore area. Visit their website, for search tools to find apartments or even roommates.

What should I advise my student to do if there is a conflict with his/her roommate?

If your student is having conflicts with his/her roommate, you should encourage them to speak with their Community Advisor (CA). CA’s are trained to assist students with any roommate issues that may arise. Housing & Dining also has other hall staff that is available to help with mediating any roommate conflicts. For more information on living with a roommate, visit

What do I do if my student is struggling with homesickness?

It is normal for students to struggle with being homesick, especially if this is the first time they are spending a significant period of time away from home. One of the best ways to help students feel more comfortable with being away from home is to encourage them to get involved. There are many opportunities for your student to get involved and make new friends.

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How can my student get involved on campus or learn more about campus involvement?

If your student is looking to get involved encourage them to visit the Student Involvement & Leadership Development (SILD) office located in the Campus Life Building. They oversee all of NIU’s student organizations and will be able to get your student connected with one of our 300+ organizations. SILD can also help your student start their own organization. For more information, visit

My student is living off campus and is struggling to find their place/get involved…what can I do to help them adjust?

Your student can visit, which is our Military and Post-Traditional Student Services website. Their commuter lounge is a great place to hang out in between classes and can meet other students who commute, transferred, are non-traditional, etc. Joining a student organization is another great and easy way for your student to meet new people and get involved on campus.

What kind of career planning and placement services does Northern Illinois University offer?

NIU’s Career Services provides students with the ability to seek out help with critiquing their resumes and gaining experience in interview scenarios. Each semester Career Services hosts a job fair and internship fair for all students. For more information, visit

How does my student join a Fraternity or Sorority on campus?

Each social fraternity and sorority on our campus reports to one of our four councils. The Panhellenic Council (PHC) recognizes 8 sororities, 7 national and 1 local. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) recognizes 14 chapters and 1 colony. The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) recognizes 7 organizations. Finally, our United Greek Council (UGC) recognizes 12 organizations. For more information on the joining process for our four councils please visit the Student Involvement & Leadership Development website

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Health Services

If my student gets sick, what is the best place for them to go?

NIU’s Health Services is a convenient place for your student to seek treatment. Health Services is available to all students who are registered for at least one credit hour and have been assessed on-campus tuition and fees. For more information about Health Services, visit their website at

What is the nearest hospital to Northern Illinois University?

The nearest hospital to NIU is the Kishwaukee Hospital. Kishwaukee Hospital is located at Kish Hospital Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115. More information can be found on their website at

Where can my student work out?

If your student is looking to work out on campus encourage them to visit the Campus Recreation Center. This is the ideal place for your student to do cardiovascular activities, lift weights, join an intramural sport, and much more. We also have additional workout facilities on campus, including in New Hall and Gilbert Hall. For more information regarding the Campus Recreation Center and all of NIU’s other workout centers, visit their website at

Why was my student charged for health insurance?

If your student is registered for 9 or more credit hours they are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan. For more information regarding the student health insurance and the waiver process visit their website at or call Student Health Insurance at (815) 753-0122

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How can my student get a parking permit for campus? What are the different options?

Your student can purchase a parking permit online or at Campus Parking Services located on Normal Road, south of the NIU parking deck. There are parking options for students living on-campus, off-campus, or are commuting. For more information regarding prices and which parking permit your student is eligible for, visit

If my student has to come home but does not have a car what are our options for transportation?

The Huskie Bus line has a route, identified by the number 12, which goes to and from campus to the Elburn MetraRail Train Station. This service is offered on Friday’s and Sunday’s. For more information regarding prices and the bus schedule visit

If my student is not bringing a car to campus, what options does he/she have to get around?

The Huskie Bus line is a free service for all current NIU students to use. It serves the main campus, including academic buildings, residence halls, and offices and also has other routes  that travel off-campus to locations such as local apartments, shopping stores, and restaurants. For information regarding the routes and bus schedules you can visit

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How do I pay tuition and fees for my student?

Tuition and fees can be viewed on your student’s MyNIU account. To make a payment you can mail in payments, pay online, or pay in person. For more details on each payment option please visit

Where can I view an estimated cost of attendance for Northern Illinois University?

To calculate and estimated cost of attendance per semester, including tuition and fees, visit the tution estimator on the Office of the Bursar's website (

What is the FAFSA and how do I fill it out?

The Financial Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form that is used to determine the amount of financial support a family is expected to contribute to the price of a attending a postsecondary institution. The results of the FAFSA are used in determining student grants, work study, and loan amount. To begin the FAFSA, encourage your student to visit We encourage family members to help their student fill out the FAFSA since the amount of funding depends on the accuracy of your student’s answers, and some of the questions pertain specifically to the parents and/or guardians of the student. 

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Orientation & Family Connections 
023 Holmes Student Center
Northern Illinois University 
DeKalb, IL 60115-2898 

Facebookoffice:  815-753-1535