Tuition and Fee Waiver Policy

Policy Approval Authority President
Responsible Division Division of Student Affairs
Responsible Officer(s) Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
Contact Person Carolinda Douglass
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Proposed Adoption Date 10-08-2007
Effective Adoption Date 10-08-2007
Last Review Date 10-08-2007
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics
Student Affairs


The careful and selective waiver of tuition at Northern Illinois University provides opportunities for students and support for the mission of the university, The state permits public universities to waive tuition at the undergraduate level within established limits. Tuition waivers are a form of scholarship assistance that make it possible for students to attend who otherwise might lack the financial means to have access to higher education.


Some tuition waivers are used to recognize academic excellence or to recruit students with particular talents; these waivers help public universities compete with private universities for well-qualified students. At the graduate level, tuition waivers usually accompany work assignments for students. For instance, students assigned to work as a graduate teaching assistants or research assistants receive tuition waivers in addition to modest stipends, while enhancing their own educational experience; these students help the university carry out its teaching, research and public service mission. Another important use of waivers at the graduate level is to offer access to graduate coursework in return for the much-valued work of professionals in the field who directly support the university's academic programs, such as K-12 teachers who supervise student teachers or hospital or clinical personnel who supervise students engaged in clinical practice experiences.

The university is committed to using tuition waivers to advance the mission of the university, its programs and enrollment objectives. Certain waiver programs are mandated by Illinois Statute, and have been implemented to comply with those requirements. Other programs have been implemented at the discretion of the university within guidelines established by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Due to the financial implications of tuition and fee waivers, the Executive Vice President, Business and Finance, has been charged with the overall responsibility for administering waiver programs. The Executive Vice President will ensure waivers awarded are consistent with the university budget and goals and within limitations established. The intent, however, is that appropriate units on campus will administer specific waiver programs assigned to them. The appropriate university vice president is expected to approve each specific waiver program policy. Waiver program policies must be documented and on file in a designated location. The suggested format is attached.

All waiver programs must be consistent with Illinois Compiled Statutes, Tuition and Fee Waiver Guidelines for Illinois Public Universities issued by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and Board of Trustee Regulations. Any new waiver programs must be approved by the university president and be consistent with the Statutes, Guidelines and Regulations.

Each waiver program will be administered in a manner that includes:

  • Written applications or nominations
  • Written eligibility selection criteria
  • Written decision documents as to why applicants are accepted or rejected.
Note that certain waiver categories are used to recruit students based on their specific talents and the needs of the university, In these cases certain documentation such as applications and decision documents might not be appropriate or practical. In these situations, the unit administering the program should maintain written documentation of their selection criteria and award process. Additionally, the unit should maintain documentation on all waivers awarded.

The university policies for each waiver type specify the percentage of tuition eligible to be waived and whether it is at the in-state or out-of-state rate. In general, students are awarded only one waiver from one source. However, tuition waivers from multiple sources may be combined, but are limited to 100% of tuition charged for the semester.

If a student selected to receive a waiver is required to perform any service, the student is required to sign an agreement with the university delineating and determining the conditions of such service. Additionally, the agreement must outline the level of support the university will provide.

The above documentation should be maintained for each program for at least five years after termination of the fee waiver.

All tuition and fee waivers are processed through the student accounts receivable system administered by the Bursar. In order to ensure accurate and consistent reporting of waivers, all reports to external agencies reflecting actual waivers awarded shall be either approved by or prepared by the Bursar.
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