Share Tweet Share Email

Tuition to hold steady for sixth straight year

December 12, 2019

Rates for tuition, room and board and fees approved for the 2020-2021 academic year reflect Northern Illinois University’s commitment to keeping a college education affordable, said President Dr. Lisa C. Freeman.

The new rates, based upon recommendations from Dr. Freeman, froze tuition at the same level for the sixth straight year, froze room and board at the same level for the fourth straight year and cut student fees for the second straight year.

The net impact is that the typical undergraduate student enrolling at NIU in the fall of 2020 will pay only about $54 more per year than a comparable student who enrolled in fall of 2015.

“As an institution, we are committed to access, affordability and eliminating barriers that stand between students and a college degree,” Dr. Freeman said. “We are acutely aware that for many students and families, every dollar counts, so we work very hard at managing the costs within our control.”

Dr. Freeman noted that NIU has sustained its commitment to affordability through some very difficult financial times. “Our ability to hold the line on costs is a testament to the dedication of our staff and administration, who have worked tirelessly to reduce costs and find efficiencies, without sacrificing the excellence of an NIU education,” she said.

The details of the tuition and fees approved are as follows:


As they have since the 2015-2016 academic year, new undergraduate students will pay $348.84 per credit hour for the first 11 hours of courses. Those who take 12 or more hours will have their tuition capped at $4,732.80 per semester, creating an incentive to take heavier course loads and graduate on an accelerated timeline. Base tuition costs (excluding differentials) for the Graduate School and College of Law also remained unchanged for the fifth straight year.


The board approved a 3.2 percent reduction in student fees for all students, which translates to $3.67 less per credit hour – or about $88 a year less for a student taking 12 or more hours of classes.

The decrease in year-over-year costs was made possible largely due to strategic partnerships forged by the university in recent years. Combining NIU’s Huskie Line buses with services provided by the City of DeKalb and TransVAC to create a regional transportation network enabled the university to reduce the Transportation Access Charge by $3.03 per credit hour. Similarly, a partnership with Northwestern Medicine to run the Student Health Services clinic yielded a $1.08 per credit hour reduction in the Health and Wellness charge.

Fees have decreased by about $25 per credit hour compared to 2015-2016.

Room and Board

The board also voted to leave average room and board rates unchanged for the fourth straight year at $5,440 per semester for the average double occupancy room. Those costs have increased by only $102 since the 2015-16 academic year.

The new housing rates do not pertain to the New Hall and Northern View Apartment complexes on campus. Those facilities are operated as a public-private partnership, and rates are set by an outside agency.