Tuition Waivers

NIU offers tuition waivers to employees and retirees, their children, and the survivors of employees who have died. The waiver applies to the cost of classes at NIU. It can also apply to the cost of classes taken at other Illinois public universities, in some cases. You must meet eligibility requirements and fill out an application to obtain this benefit.

Employees and Retirees

If you're a current employee or retiree, you may qualify for a tuition waiver. Please note the following exceptions:

  • If you have the rank of assistant professor or above, you may not pursue a graduate degree or certificate of advanced studies in your teaching field during your appointment.
  • Your spouse or domestic partner is not eligible for a tuition waiver.
  • The interdisciplinary Ph.D. in health sciences has a separate tuition remittance program.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for a tuition waiver, you must:

  • Meet admission standards
  • Be employed for a full-time equivalency of 50% or more
  • Have an initial date of employment on or before the 30th calendar day following the scheduled beginning of the academic term involved, or the last day of registration, whichever is earlier

Number of Classes

You can obtain a waiver for a certain number of credit hours each academic year, which consists of a fall, spring and summer session. You don't have to attend the entire year in order to qualify for a waiver. The number of credit hours you're eligible for depends on your employment status:

  • Retiree or full-time employee: up to 20 hours
  • 3/4 time employee: up to 15 hours
  • 1/2 time employee: up to 10 hours

Please note that credit hours listed above is for employees taking classes at NIU only. If you plan to take classes at another university, you will need to reach out to them directly to determine how many credit hours you are eligible to take under their policy.

If you don't work full time during the summer, the maximum number of hours may be determined by the employment rate of either the summer or the semester immediately preceding the summer, whichever results in the higher waiver.

Covered Costs

The tuition waiver covers tuition, including differential tuition, up to the limit for your employment status. Course delivery fees (i.e. off-campus, online courses, etc.) and material fees are not covered. Refer to "Class Notes" or "Finances" in MyNIU to see fees related to a particular course. See Waivers and Scholarships for more information.

If you enroll in more credit hours than your waiver covers, you're responsible for the additional cost.

Please note: If your tuition waiver for graduate and law level classes exceeds $5,250 in a calendar year, it's subject to employment taxes. You must report it as taxable wages on your W-2. The IRS requires NIU to withhold applicable state and federal income taxes on any taxable employee tuition waivers. We'll withhold federal and state income taxes in accordance with the W-4 form we have on file for you.

How to Apply

Civil service, supportive professional staff and faculty members can fill out a Faculty and Staff Tuition Waiver Application (XLSX) for classes taken at NIU. Retirees can fill out the Retiree Tuition Waiver request form.

Civil service employees can also apply for tuition waivers for classes taken at certain other institutions by filling out an Interinstitutional Tuition Waiver Application (XLS). If you are taking  classes at another university you may not be eligible for 20 credit hours per academic year.  We encourage you to reach out to that institution to determine your benefit amount.

Your supervisor must sign your application if you:

  • Are civil service and want to take classes during scheduled work hours, or want to take more classes than the maximum for your employment status
  • Are supportive professional staff or a faculty member

Electronic signature is now accepted. It is recommended, but not required, that employees use a digital signature/ID Adobe Acrobat and the waiver be sent to using your NIU authenticated email. While all forms of electronic signatures will be accepted, HR does reserve the right to verify with the employee if it is suspected that a document may not be authentic. Submit your completed application by the following deadlines:

  • March 1 (spring semester)
  • July 15 (summer semester)
  • October 1 (fall semester)

Children of Employees and Retirees

If you're a current employee or retiree, your children (under 25 years of age) may qualify for a 50% tuition waiver. If both you and your child's other parent work at NIU, your child is still only eligible for a 50% waiver.

Eligibility Requirements

Your children are eligible for a 50% tuition waiver at NIU or any senior Illinois public university if you:

  • Are employed for a full-time equivalency of 50% or more
  • Have been employed for seven cumulative years at NIU or another senior Illinois public university

If you're retired, your children are eligible for a 50% tuition waiver for classes at NIU only. You must have at least seven years of full-time service at NIU.

If you're reemployed and have service before Dec. 31, 1998, in a benefit-eligible capacity, contact us for guidance.

Your child must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward graduation to continue receiving the waiver.

Number of Classes

Waivers are available during the fall, spring and summer sessions for a maximum of eight semesters. 

Covered Costs

The waiver is applied to tuition. Fees and charges other than tuition are not included in the employer contribution.

The waiver may not be applied to noncredit or graduate/professional academic programs.

How to Apply

Fill out the Dependent Tuition Waiver Application (PDF). Submit it to Human Resource Services.

Survivors of Deceased Employees

The spouse and legally dependent children of any employee who died while employed full time at NIU (or on educational leave with pay, sick leave or disability leave) are entitled to waiver of tuition and other registration fees.

Tuition waivers for survivors of deceased employees are only valid for use at NIU and will not be granted for use at any other university.

Fill out a Tuition Waiver Application for Survivors of Deceased Employees. Submit it to Human Resource Services.

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