NIU Community School of the Arts - General Information


Find us on facebook icon Facebook!  

General Information and Payment 


Registration is easy!  Just email or print the registration form and either send by mail or fax (credit card payments only). You may mail your form to:

NIU Community School of the Arts
College of Visual and Performing Arts
Northern Illinois University
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2828

or fax your form (credit card payment only) to (815) 753-8372. We do not accept telephone registrations.  

Registration Deadlines and Office Hours

Click here for lesson registration deadlines.

At least one week before the start date.

Our office is located in Room 132 in the Music Building. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.- 12 noon and 1 - 4:30 p.m. Call ahead if you need to come during a noon hour.

Installment Payment Plan

FALL/SPRING: The installment plan is available ONLY in fall and spring semesters with the following conditions:

1)  The total balance must be no less than $100 and the first payment must be made by credit card on the date you register. Installment payments are allowed through the first four weeks of the semester; after that, full payment is expected.
2)  For those paying in four installments through the fall and spring semesters, the second installment is due on October 12, the third on January 4, and the fourth on February 29.
3) For those who register for both a fall activity and a fall/spring activity (using the same registration form), the installment payments will be calculated as follows:  fall activities must be paid in full by the due date of the second installment and fall/spring activities must be paid in full by the due date of the fourth installment.  Installments will not be equal.
4)  New classes or additional lesson time added after the first installment payment must be on a new registration form and are not eligible for the installment plan. Payment in full is due at the time the form is submitted.  
5)  The adult who completes the form and who makes the initial payment is the person who remains responsible for all payments. The office is not responsible for splitting payments for multiple payees.
6)  Payees must inform the office if the credit card changes during the course of the payment period. If NIU Outreach Services is unable to process a credit card at the time a payment is due, the card holder will be informed and if new credit card information or payment has not been provided within two weeks, the teacher will be asked to stop lessons. We cannot accept a credit card that expires before the date of your final installment payment.

Registration Fee

A non-refundable $15 registration fee is required for each person at the time of registration. This is a per-person fee and is owed once during the school year and once in summer. Fall students returning in spring are not charged the fee in spring.  One person registering for multiple activities owes $15; the fee for two siblings registered on one form is $30. This fee is used for many expenses, including the cost of background checks required by the university for all employees who work with children.


You are eligible for a discount when you register:

  • more than one family member for an activity on one form; OR
  • one person for two or more activities on one form, OR
  • Are 65 years or older.

Your discount is $25 when you meet any of one of these conditions and register for one semester only and $60 when you register for two semesters (fall and spring) on the same registration form.  To qualify for the discount in fall, you must register by the second installment payment date and in spring by the fourth installment payment date.  Discounts may not be combined.

Refunds and Withdrawals

A student who wishes to withdraw from lessons, classes or ensembles must contact the CSA office at (815) 753-1450; it is not sufficient to speak with the instructor. A doctor’s note is required for all refunds requested for medical reasons.  Mail to:  NIU Community School of the Arts, NIU, 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL 60115 or drop off in Room 132 Music Building.  Students are expected to pay for all lessons, classes, and rehearsals attended and/or scheduled prior to the request to withdraw.  Decisions about refunds are made at the discretion of the office.


Temporary parking passes are available for community school students for $25 in fall or spring ($50 for both fall and spring semesters); passes may be used in any on-campus lots (blue or yellow).  A pass is needed before 7 p.m. on weekdays, so those who schedule lessons on weekends or after 7 p.m. will not need a pass. Temporary passes are only available to community school participants.  NIU students, faculty, and staff may not purchase the pass. It may only be used on one car and is not transferable. There are no refunds for parking passes in summer and after the 2nd installment date in fall and the fourth installment date in spring.

Complete all information requested on the registration form. Passes will be mailed. Note that it can take up to 10 days to process the passes. 

Short Term Parking
Metered parking for one hour ($1.00) is available on Gilbert Drive.  There is on-street parking close to the Music Building near Annie's Woods and on roads immediately to the east of the building; parking passes are not needed for on-street parking.  

New as of spring 2014!  Parking Services has installed 17 spaces near Anderson Building (across Lucinda, opposite the Music Building) with up to 4 hours of parking at $1.00 per hour.  The pay station machine is at the entrance of Anderson. The machine accepts coins, bills, Mastercard and Visa. The spaces are numbered.  Park, memorize the number, and go to the machine to pay. You do not have to return to your car to place the receipt/ticket on the dash, but keep it in case a parking ticket is issued in error. 

Parking on Concert and Special Event Nights
Free parking for community school concerts and special events scheduled before 7 p.m. on weekdays is available for those without a parking permit in the lot that is south of the Music Building (Lot 3 on the parking map). A "Music Event" sign will be posted at the parking lot entrance. Note: This is normally a permit-only lot. 

School Closure for Weather and Emergencies

When NIU is closed because of weather or an emergency, all CSA lessons and classes are cancelled. At times, the community school may cancel an activity or concert for weather-related reasons when the university remains open. If you suspect your activity might be cancelled, call the office during business hours to check. We will do our best to communicate information directly to families about last-minute cancellations: Check your email in-box and your telephone messages. If it is after 4:30 p.m. on a weekday or anytime during a weekend, you’ll find a message on our voice mail. The number is (815) 753-1450. 

Private lessons: Teachers and students may cancel a lesson because of weather conditions at their own discretion and should be in contact with each other if weather conditions prevent travel. Lessons and classes may be rescheduled by the teacher later in the semester, time permitting.

Make-Up Lesson Policy

It is recommended that students keep a record of all lessons attended. Make-up lessons are generally scheduled by teachers during the weeks following the end of the semester. Because of scheduling conflicts of either teachers or students, it is not uncommon for students to begin lessons either earlier or later than the printed schedule.

Student Absence

One make-up lesson is granted each semester for excused absences (illness, family emergency, or religious observances), provided at least 24 hours (or as much notice as possible) is given. Sporting practices and events, family vacations, and non-emergency doctors’ appointments are not considered excused absences. Some teachers may ask students who request a make-up lesson to switch lessons with another student. Others may set up one specific day at the end of the semester to schedule all make-up lessons. Be sure to check with your teacher about this. A lesson missed because bad weather prevents student or teacher travel may be made up by the teacher if time permits.

Teacher Absence

If a teacher is unable to teach a lesson or class, he or she will inform the student(s) at least 24 hours in advance (or as much time as possible) and will reschedule the lesson or class.


Parents should understand that the buildings at NIU are open to the public. Young children should be supervised at all times; older children should be picked up promptly after lessons and classes and should not wander through the buildings. There is no longer a pay telephone in the Music or Art Buildings. There is a phone that can be used for local calls only (free) on the west wall of the Concert Hall hallway and there is a phone that can be used for on-campus calls, including the university police, on the east wall of the Concert Hall hallway. Both of these phones are located in the Music Building.