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 go to

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

We encourage students who need tutoring or other study help to go to NIU provides walk-in tutoring services, one-on-one tutoring services, study groups, and many other support services. 

If your student is 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's 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 discuss academic related information only with students. 

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 confidential. These records include: personal information, grades, enrollment records and class schedules. For more information on FERPA and NIU policies about student record privacy, visit

How can I check my student’s grades?

Your student can view his or her grades through their MyNIU and Blackboard. For family members to access their student’s grades, your student has 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. See

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. See

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 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 an advisor from the Academic Advising Center. Each college has advisors. 

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 register for classes through MyNIU. Enrollment times vary depending on the status of your student (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior) and if he or she has a priority (University Honors Program, etc.).

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

See the Academic Calendar.

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What exactly is the NIU OneCard used for?

The OneCard is an identification card for all NIU students, faculty and staff. 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. For operating hours, menus and payment options visit

What is the difference between Flex Dollars and Huskie Bucks?

Flex Dollars are a fast and convenient way of making purchases in all the Grab ‘N’ Go locations across campus and for paying the set price at our All You Care to Eat residential dining facilities. Each Huskie Unlimited Access Plan includes 10 Flex Dollars.

You can add additional Flex Dollars to your meal plan at

Huskie Bucks can be used for food purchases at all on-campus residential dining facilities and the Grab’N’Go locations. Visit for a list of all dining halls and restaurants where Huskie Bucks are accepted.


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

NIU’s Department of Police and Public Safety provides service and protection to the university campus and community. Our police officers have powers of arrest in the state of Illinois and are certified emergency medical technicians. Police operations include proactive patrol, crime prevention, criminal investigation, evidence collection, paramedic services, traffic management and training. Our administrative services section includes our telecommunications, security guard, access control and police records units.

Collaboration is an important part of our jobs. We work with other organizations on and off campus. For example, our officers attend meetings in sorority houses, fraternity houses and residence halls. We provide dozens of safety education programs and services to help students, faculty and staff, visitors and members of the surrounding communities. We work closely with the DeKalb Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to proactively reduce crime and address quality of life issues in our community. For more information visit

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

Huskie Patrol - The Huskie Patrol, 815-753-9658, operates on weeknights from 8 p.m.-4 a.m. Trained patrol members meet and escort students to residence halls, parking lots or any other destination on campus free of charge.

Huskie Safe Line - Huskie Safe Line ( is a shuttle service during late night hours after the Huskie Bus Line stops running. This free service is available to NIU students, faculty and staff as well as community members with disabilities. The shuttle travels a fixed route with 35 pick-up and drop-off locations.

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

Safety bulletins ( from NIU proactively inform you about crimes that recently occurred on or near campus so you can take the appropriate precautions. They also work to prevent similar crimes and assist us in identifying offenders.

NIU students have the ability to register up to two additional contacts to receive Emergency Alerts. Your student can sign you up via their MyNIU.

In the event of a situation that presents an imminent and verifiable danger to the campus community, notifications will be sent to the parents, spouses and others AFTER a message has been sent to all students and employees. The primary purpose of this service is to notify the people on campus as quickly as possible when an emergency occurs.

What is the plan for inclement weather?

See for current information regarding the university’s operational status, the university’s severe weather and university closure procedures and off-campus weather closing procedures.

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

If your student is going to be living on campus you can contact Housing and Residential Services at 815-753-1525 or For more on-campus housing information see

 Where should we begin looking for off-campus housing?

Military and Post-Traditional Student Services Off-Campus Housing is a great resource for apartment options in the DeKalb and Sycamore area. It has search tools to find apartments and 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, encourage them to speak with their Community Advisor (CA). CA’s are trained to assist students with roommate issues. Housing and Residential Services also has other hall staff available to help with mediating roommate conflicts.

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?

If your student is looking to get involved encourage them to visit the Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD) office in the Campus Life Building. They oversee all of NIU’s student organizations and will 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 NIU offer?

NIU’s Career Services provides help with critiquing 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 nine sororities. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) recognizes 15 chapters. The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) recognizes 8 organizations. Finally, our United Greek Council (UGC) recognizes 14 organizations. For more information on joining  see Fraternity and Soririty Life.

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Health Services

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

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. 

What is the nearest hospital to Northern Illinois University?

The nearest hospital to NIU is the Kishwaukee Hospital, at Kish Hospital Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115

Where can my student work out?

Recreation and Wellness facilities is the ideal place for cardiovascular activities, weight lifting, intramural sports, and much more. We also have additional workout facilities on campus, including in New Hall and Gilbert Hall.

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 information student health insurance and the waiver process, see Student Health Insurance.

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

See Parking Services.

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

Elburn Shuttle - We’re super close to the Elburn Metra train station. The Elburn Shuttle runs from the Holmes Student Center to the Elburn Metra train station on Fridays and Sundays only. There is no Elburn Shuttle on Saturday. The bus is identified by the number "12.”

Shuttle tickets are purchased at the Box Office in the Holmes Student Center. It costs $6.25 for students. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance.

Greyhound Bus Service - The Holmes Student Center is among seven stops on a Greyhound Bus route between Chicago and Davenport, Iowa. The route includes stops in Rochelle, Dixon and Moline. Greyhound stops at all cities on the route four times a day, seven days a week.

Tickets can be purchased online or through Greyhound’s mobile app. For more buses see

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

The HuskieLine is a free service for all current NIU students. It serves the main campus, including academic buildings, residence halls, and offices and also off-campus locations such as local apartments, stores and restaurants. 

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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. You can mail payments, pay online, or pay in person. See

Where can I view an estimated cost of attendance for NIU?

To calculate an estimated cost of attendance per semester, including tuition and fees, use the tuition estimator.

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

The Financial Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used to determine the amount of financial support a family is expected to contribute to the cost of attending a postsecondary institution. The FAFSA is used in determining student grants, work study, and loans. 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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Contact Us

Orientation and Family Connections
Holmes Student Center 605
DeKalb, IL 60115