Tuition and Fee Waiver Policy

Policy Approval Authority President
Responsible Division Division of Academic Affairs
Responsible Officer(s) Executive Vice President and Provost
Contact Person Celeste Latham
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Last Review Date 01-17-2023
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 university's mission; the state permits public universities to waive tuition at the undergraduate level within established limits. Tuition waivers are a form of scholarship assistance that makes it possible for students to attend, who otherwise might lack the financial means to have access to higher education.


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.

Some tuition waivers are often 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 graduate teaching assistants or research assistants receive tuition waivers in addition to modest stipends, while enhancing their educational experience; these students help the university carry out its teaching, research and public service mission.

Tuition and Fee Waivers represents an agreement between the university and the student to reduce or eliminate the tuition and/or fees that normally would be charged to the student. The number of awards and dollar amounts vary each year based upon the release of appropriated funds by the State of Illinois, budgetary limits approved by the Board of Trustees, and program need. The waiver awards may be for partial or full tuition depending upon specific waiver criteria, available funds, the number of eligible applicants, and/or program need.

Tuition and Fee Waivers are not for the purpose of paying past due bills nor do they generate a cash refund to students receiving the award. If the recipient withdraws from a class or the university after receiving an award, a concurrent reduction in the amount of the award charged and/or granted to the student will also be made, which may result in owing the university money.

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 located at  (Ill.Admin.Codetit.23 secs. §1075.100-.700)
Due to the financial implications of tuition and fee waivers, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, will ensure waivers awarded are consistent with the university budget and goals and within the 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 with the Bursar. All tuition and fee waivers must be processed through the student accounts receivable system administered by the Bursar. To ensure compliance with these requirements, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost has responsibility for communicating with units on Tuition and Fee Waiver requirements and monitoring compliance.

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