Northern Illinois University Reviews and Ranking Awards

Dekalb, Illinois

University Headquarters

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Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a public research institution located in DeKalb, Illinois. Founded in 1895, the school now also has satellite centers throughout the state in Chicago, Naperville, Rockford, and Oregon.

Overview of Northern Illinois University (NIU)

The university strives to be an engine for innovation and to advance social mobility, as well as promote personal, professional, and intellectual growth. The school is also dedicated to transforming the world through research, artistry, teaching, and outreach. Other core values include curiosity, creativity, equality, inclusion, ethics, integrity, services, and stewardship.

The total student population at Northern Illinois University is 16,234, with 11,834 enrolled in undergraduate programs. The school employs approximately 814 full-time and 292 part-time faculty members. While the majority of these professionals dedicate their time and efforts to instruction, 18 are involved in research and public service. The institution also employs 922 graduate assistants, 595 of whom provide instructional assistance and 327 of whom perform research. Overall, the student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. This is below the national average reported by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2018 and indicates that students likely receive more individualized attention than at other higher education facilities.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Suburb: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 15:1
Graduation Rate 49%
Year Founded 1895

Student Enrollment

Total Students16,609


Undergraduate Student

Male 5,944
Female 6,187

Graduate Student

Male 2,194
Female 2,284

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Northern Illinois University Reviews

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NIU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 6,652
Female 9,035


Male 3,126
Female 4,427

Acceptance Rate48%

Male 47%
Female 49%

Enrollment 1,883

Male   875
Female 1,018
Application Fee $40
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline August 1
Common Application Accepted No

NIU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The cost of undergraduate tuition is determined by residency status and program major. As of the spring 2023 semester, domestic in-state and out-of-state students enrolled in 12 credit hours or more will be charged $4,895.06 in tuition per term. This does not, however, include any of the various fees assessed by Northern Illinois University, which may include general fees, delivery fees, course change fees, academic program enhancement fees, and student medical insurance. It’s important to note that students pursuing computer science, engineering, and nursing majors may be assessed a different tuition rate.

In addition to tuition and fees, prospective students must plan to pay for room and board. There are residence halls available on campus, but prices vary depending on the accommodation selected. Students will also need to account for the cost of books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Northern Illinois University is committed to helping students afford life-changing education. To this end, undergraduate tuition rates haven’t increased in the last five years. The university also adds millions of dollars in new scholarships yearly.

Access to financial aid is easy, with advisors available to walk students through the entire process. In fact, more than 80% of those enrolled receive support paying for college. All students are also encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to determine the total amount of aid awarded. During the 2021-2022 academic year, 58% of students still required loans.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $18,346
Average Total Aid $10,411
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Room & Board $10,880

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $12,352
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $12,352
  • Books and Supplies - $1,300
  • Room & Board - $10,880
  • Other - $2,870


Northern Illinois University empowers students through educational excellence and experiential learning through the pursuit of knowledge and sharing of research and artistry. Those enrolled are also encouraged to engage communities for the benefit of the region, nation, and world. Outstanding faculty help those enrolled explore and grow in an exciting learning environment that combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience.

Students can choose from over 100 fields of study within 42 different schools and departments.

The academic colleges present at Northern Illinois University include:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Engineering and Engineering Technology
  • Health and Human Sciences
  • Law
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Visual and Performing Arts

The retention rate for first-time, full-time, undergraduate freshmen who began their studies in 2019 was 67%. Part-time students with the criteria had a 39% retention rate. Notably, this is slightly below the national average of 68%. Additionally, the rate for part-time bachelor’s students was even lower, totaling at 39%. Overall, however, this data indicates that most full-time students enrolled at the university chose to return in 2020 for further education.

The overall graduation rate for students who began their studies in fall 2015 was 51%. This means that just over half of students were able to complete requirements within 150% of normal time. While 31% of counted students graduated within four years, most complete program requirements within six years.

Northern Illinois University is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of six agencies recognized by the United State Department of Education. In addition to this regional accreditation, some programs possess specialized accreditation. The College of Education, for example, is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. Additionally, programs in counseling have received accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) since 1989. The athletic training program is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).

Student Population Total

Student Population 16,609

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 650 Total Graduates / 20%
Accounting 169 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 145 Graduates
Operations Management and Supervision 96 Graduates
Finance, General 89 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 518 Total Graduates / 16%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 159 Graduates
Health/Medical Preparatory Programs, Other 157 Graduates
Public Health, General 56 Graduates
Dietetics/Dietitian 54 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 238 Total Graduates / 7%
Mechanical Engineering 123 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 90 Graduates
Industrial Engineering 23 Graduates
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 2 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 196 Total Graduates / 6%
Political Science and Government, General 80 Graduates
Sociology, General 69 Graduates
Economics, General 24 Graduates
Geography 13 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 188 Total Graduates / 6%
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 162 Graduates
Journalism 26 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 44%

Outcome & Salary

Northern Illinois University provides students and alumni with a wide variety of career services and resources including one-on-one professional counseling, internship assistance, career, resume building, and career fairs. It also provides a significant amount of graduate employment data. Based on information collected from an alumni survey in 2016, 91% of graduates were employed within one year. Additionally, there were over 251,000 alumni living and working in 150 different countries throughout the world at that time. PayScale also reports that the median early career salary for Northern Illinois University graduates is $53,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $53,900
College Grads Average Salary $71,349
College Grads Mid Career Salary $97,000
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $713,490
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,683,490
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $73,384
10 Year Projected ROI $640,106
20 Year Projected ROI $1,610,106
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840