Why NIU?

Seven reasons NIU is your top pick

Let us show you what it means to be a member of our Huskie family!

Your college experience will shape not only your career, but also your life.

It’s a big decision.

So why choose NIU? Consider these seven factors that make us your ideal fit.

  • 1

    Affordability and scholarships

    Students in classroom

    More than 80 percent of our undergraduates receive financial aid. We believe a life-changing education should be within reach of everyone.

    With our new AIM HIGH and Partner Scholarships starting fall 2019, students enrolling from Illinois have the potential to cover full tuition by stacking these special awards on top of NIU’s existing Merit Scholarships and other types of assistance.

    What’s more, we’ve held our undergraduate tuition at the same rate for five years, including for 2019-20. Your rate won’t change as you complete your four-year degree. You also aren’t charged extra for taking courses beyond 12 credit hours, meaning you could graduate more quickly.

  • 2

    Location, location, location!

    Mission by Chicago Theatre

    At NIU, you’ll be just down the road from the largest Midwestern city in the U.S. Northern Illinois describes not only an outstanding university, but an energetic region — literally at the center of everything.

    Our proximity to Chicago and its suburbs translates into endless opportunities for you. Partnerships with national laboratories like Argonne and Fermilab offer Huskies real-life training, networking and even internships in such fields as engineering, computing, data visualization and physical sciences.

  • 3

    Academics: Quality and quantity

    CEET Senior Design Day

    The options at NIU are more than plentiful, with 100-plus courses of study.

    Some of our high-interest programs include environmental studies, biology, computer science, accountancy, marketing, finance, business administration, pre-med, physical therapy, psychology, sociology, chemistry, music, communication studies, history and English.

    Maybe you’re not sure yet about your major? It’s OK to be undecided — NIU is the perfect place to explore your passions and find a major that that matches your interests.

  • 4

    Caring faculty who teach and do

    Biology lab

    We all know a great professor makes all the difference. NIU professors stand with the best, not only for the personal attention and hands-on experiences they provide, but also for the groundbreaking work they conduct in their fields.

    • Climate change?
      We're on it.
    • Cancer research?
      We're doing it.
    • Particle physics?
      Yep, we're on the cutting edge.


    In fact, NIU faculty and staff obtained more than $12 million in research awards in 2018, with most of the funding coming from the federal government. We’re a leader in the laboratory, but even more importantly, we’re a ladder to your success.

  • 5

    Accessibility and advantage

    Daphne Voorhis studying in Ireland

    Working alongside NIU professors, you’ll have amazing opportunities in the laboratory, on stage, off campus in the Chicago region and maybe even in a foreign country.

    Through our Research Rookies program, you could begin conducting your own independent research with a faculty mentor as soon as your first semester. You can choose to study abroad with any major — from 10 days to a year.

    Our University Honors is among a handful of programs nationwide that embed in-depth academics with hands-on learning experiences outside the classroom. And all NIU alumni leave prepared for the workforce, with an average starting salary above $50,000.

  • 6

    A place where you belong

    Huskie Fall Kick-off event

    Did you know more than half of our first-year students are also first-generation college students? No matter what life experiences you bring, you’ll have a home here.

    You’ll meet people from different communities, cultures and countries. You’ll live, learn and socialize with students who share your interests. And you’ll be surrounded by resources and supportive staff to help you achieve success.

    Chicago-area culture provides plentiful fun on top of NIU’s life-changing opportunities. On campus, you can choose from 300-plus student organizations, enjoy NCAA Division I sports teams and world-class performances, do volunteer work, make lifelong friends and much more.

  • 7

    An education you can take anywhere

    NIU graduates at commencement

    Nothing speaks more to the value of an NIU education than our graduates. Our 240,000 Huskie alumni are found in just about all walks of life.

    Actors and artists. Novelists and screenwriters. Musicians and composers. CEOs and CFOs. Doctors and lawyers. Engineers and entrepreneurs. Members of Congress and leaders in our communities.

    You get the picture. We’ll give you the tools to innovate, change lives and make a difference — because your future really is our focus.