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Adult Learner Frequently Asked Questions

Do you live off-campus, commute to classes, or work full-time? Are you a military student, a veteran, a parent, or over 24? If so, then you are an adult learner.

At NIU, we understand that the needs of adult learners are different from the needs of most recent high-school graduates. We offer a range of services and support staff to help you balance your education with work and family responsibilities—so you can succeed.

Here are some of the NIU resources available to you:

  • We offer more than 30 different online or blended programs so you can earn a certificate or complete your degree while maintaining your busy schedule.
  • NIU Campus Childcare and Child Development Lab: For parents of young children (infant to 5 years), we offer two high-quality, accredited on-campus childcare centers, with half-day rates and NIU student discounts available for NIU Campus Childcare.
  • Military and Post-Traditional Services: Here you’ll find a lounge space with computer access and free coffee, mentorship programs, off-campus housing assistance and assistance with military benefits. This office aims to be the one-stop shop for NIU adult learners.
  • Student Success Specialist Mandy Wescott: If you have concerns about successfully returning to school, Mandy is the person to call. She’ll help you navigate NIU resources and find strategies to integrate school into your busy life.
  • NIU Student Financial Aid and Scholarship Office: Find out what federal financial aid you qualify for, get help filling out your FAFSA form, search for scholarships that fit your goals and experiences and more. If you’re not available during business hours, contact our Student Financial Aid Office for evening or weekend appointments. 

You may apply online to any of our undergraduate or graduate programs. There is a non-refundable $40 application fee and official transcripts from all prior colleges or universities are required as part of your application process. For more information on undergraduate or transfer applicants, go to www.niu.edu/admissions. To apply for graduate studies, go to www.grad.niu.edu/grad/apply/graduate.shtml

Transfer and off-campus students will be able to view an official credit evaluation on MyNIU shortly after confirming enrollment.

Yes. We require that you submit official transcripts from all community colleges and public or private universities. Who knows? You may be granted additional transfer credit you didn’t realize you could earn.

No; if you are not intending to come to the DeKalb Campus for classes, your advisor can waive the orientation requirement.

You might qualify for financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by both the federal and state financial aid programs which include loans to pay for college. There are important deadlines for filing (March 1 is the priority deadline, but applications are accepted after that date). Check www.fafsa.ed.gov for the form and the deadlines. The FAFSA School Code for NIU is 001737.

Even though you are not eligible for Pell or Map grants, you may qualify for some student loans or scholarships. Full-time students may be eligible for Graduate Assistantships. Scholarship information is available at www.scholarships.niu.edu. A common deadline for scholarships is January 15.

NIU provides resources for students with a variety of disabilities. You should submit documentation and request services as soon as possible. Visit the NIU Disability Resource Center website for additional information.

You will be assigned an academic advisor once you are admitted to NIU. Your advisor is the most important contact for information about course requirements. Regular contact is the best way to ensure you are on the right pathway to your academic goal.

NIU’s libraries' resources are available to our off-campus students via online and through inter-library loan.

Yes. Contact the Military Student Services office by phone at 815-753-0691 or by email at MSS@niu.edu for assistance. .