Frequently Asked Questions


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.

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 (first-year, sophomore, junior or senior) and if he or she has a priority (University Honors Program, etc.).


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 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.

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 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.


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 Student Involvement and Leadership Development.

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 Sorority Life.

Health 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.


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.

Family Weekend

What is Family Weekend?

Family Weekend is a chance for family members to visit and experience NIU with their student. In collaboration with the DeKalb and surrounding communities, NIU presents programming and activities for family members of all ages.

Who can attend Family Weekend?

Family Weekend is open to all families and community members! We invite parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, alumni and friends to come to campus and enjoy all of our scheduled events.

How does the schedule work?

Each family’s itinerary for Family Weekend may vary! We do our best to host a variety of events that will appeal to a wide array of interests, so there may be some events scheduled with overlapping start times. It is up to you and your family to decide what activities you participate in.

Many Family Weekend events don’t require any pre-registration and are free. Make sure to review the Family Weekend schedule to learn more.

Where do I register?

Registration for Family Weekend events will go live this summer. Check back in June for updates.

What side of the stadium should I sit on?

Families are welcome to sit on either side of the stadium; however, pricing for the east side and west side of the stadium will vary. If you would like to enjoy the game with your student, we recommend purchasing tickets for east side seating. Tickets for east side seating are in the student section. If your family would prefer not to sit in the student section, you will need to purchase your tickets for the west side of the stadium.

What should I expect during family tailgate and at the football game?

Many people come out to show their Huskie spirit at NIU football games! You can expect there to be tailgating for the football game. Tailgating happens on either side of the stadium. You’ll find the official Family Weekend tailgate on the west side of the stadium. Due to the high amount of people that attend tailgating and football games, make sure to plan extra time and patience for parking and walking.

What can I expect at the tailgate?

Enjoy a family-oriented tailgate experience at “The Yard.” Cheer on families participating in the Bag Toss Tournament or grab a bite to eat from a vendor. Food and drink will be for purchase at various locations in “The Yard”. There will also be a huge TV screen and a “kids zone” with plenty of activities.

Are tickets needed for every event?

No, tickets are not needed for all events. However, some events have an additional fee and/or require a ticket to participate. Make sure to check the schedule to check for event pricing and registration details.