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Frequently Asked Questions

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Apostille

What is an apostille?

An apostille is essentially a certificate of authenticity. Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. The convention provides for the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention. Under the Hague Convention, signatory countries have agreed to recognize public documents issued by other signatory countries if those public documents are authenticated by the attachment of an internationally recognized form of authentication known as an "apostille."

NOTE: If you're using the diploma or transcript in a country not listed in the signatory countries, you will need to contact the embassy or consulate of the country where you intend to use the document to discuss their authentication requirements. (Some non-signatory countries may accept an apostille. Others may require further steps such as U.S. Department of State certification then consular certification).

Who needs this apostille service?

Students who apply for jobs or admission to universities in other countries often need a notarized diploma or transcript in order to submit them to the Illinois Secretary of State to obtain an apostille. This is the first step in the apostille process. Some employers in the U.S. may also ask for a transcript or diploma to be notarized for authenticity. The Office of Registration and Records is the only location to certify Northern Illinois University diplomas and transcripts.

How do I request an apostille?

Download the apostille request form. Fill in all information and then fax or email to the address noted.

What documents are eligible for an "apostille" or "authentication?"
  • Your original diploma (must present original diploma for copies to be made)
  • Official transcript (must request a new copy at time of inquiry)
Is there a fee to have my documents authenticated?

At the time of the request, NIU charges the following:

  • Apostille - $10
  • Additional apostille - $5
  • Transcript - $8
  • Replacement diploma - $20
Can I mail in my diploma to be apostilled?

Yes. You will need to mail the document to us in a protective envelope along with the apostille request form.

How do I get the apostilled documents when completed?
  • We can mail completed apostille(s) along with your original diploma back to you or your designated contact person or
  • You can pick up documents in our office in Williston Hall room 214. (A photo ID is required for pick up whether it be you or your designated contact person.)
How long does the process take?

Please allow one to two days processing time for the apostille(s) to be completed provided we have the diploma in hand. If you need to order a duplicate diploma this will take an additional one to two weeks.

NOTE – Degrees are awarded and diplomas are mailed to students approximately four to six weeks after the degree conferral date (Commencement).

What if I am out of the country?

You may have someone act on your behalf to have your document(s) authenticated. This person must bring a photo id and an authorization form signed by you authorizing them to pick these documents up on your behalf. The other option is for you to indicate their name and address on the apostille request form and we will mail to them when completed.

Will you mail my documents to the Secretary of State?

No, we do not mail your documents to the Illinois Secretary of State. However, we will provide you instructions and an application for authentication to fill out and send with your documents. Additional information is available at the Illinois Secretary of State website.

How can I check the status of my documents?

You are welcome to email residency@niu.edu or call us at 815-753-8218 to check status of your order.

Helpful Hint...

If you have any questions about the location of affixing the official signatures and seals onto the diploma, please contact the agency making the request to ensure this authentication is noted in the appropriate location.

Course Articulation

How does a course transfer to NIU from another institution?

The Articulation Tables list the courses from the community college and NIU course equivalencies. To see how a course from an Illinois public two-year community college transfers to NIU, visit the transfer credits and program major guides page. To find out how a course transfers from many other institutions within the United States, please visit Transferology.

You can also email regrec@niu.edu or come into the Office of Registration and Records, Williston Hall 220, to fill out a transferability form. Once the transfer course has been reviewed, the completed form will be scanned and emailed to your NIU email account.

How will a course transfer from an out-of-state school or a school that is not listed in the Articulation Tables?

Transfer credit will be considered from any regionally accredited institution of higher education. See the Undergraduate Catalog for further provisions.

Current NIU students may complete a transferability form in Registration and Records, Williston Hall 220. Prospective students must apply to NIU and confirm attendance in order to receive an evaluation of the transfer coursework. A transfer credit report will be available through MyNIU when the evaluation has been completed.

Do I need approval to take a course at another college and transfer it to NIU?

It depends. If you are a senior (90 hours or more), you will need to request senior transfer credit approval from your major college before you register for the course and the approval must be entered into MyNIU. If you will be concurrently enrolled at NIU and another school, you may need concurrent approval from your major college. Please see your adviser for assistance.

What is IAI?

The Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) is a statewide agreement that allows the transfer of the completed Illinois transferable General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) between participating institutions. If you successfully complete the GECC at any participating college or university in Illinois, upon transfer to NIU, your NIU general education requirements will be met. If you do not complete the GECC package, you can still take advantage of IAI on a course by course basis. See the NIU undergraduate catalog for additional information or seek information from your adviser.

I have earned my associate’s degree from an Illinois community college. How does that affect my NIU career?

For students earning an A.A. or A.S. or A.A.T. degree in early childhood, secondary math or special education from an Illinois public community college, Northern Illinois University is a participant in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), a statewide agreement that allows transfer of the completed Illinois transferable General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) between participating institutions. Successful completion of the GECC at any participating college or university in Illinois assures students that lower-division general education requirements for an associate or baccalaureate degree have been satisfied and allows students to transfer this portion of an associate or baccalaureate degree from one participating IAI institution to another without incurring a loss of credit.

Does the associate’s degree need to be from an Illinois school in order for it to meet general education requirements?

Beginning with the 2017-2018 catalog, NIU will award the same benefits as above for students who earn an Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts and Sciences or Associate in Teaching in early childhood, secondary math or special education at an out-of-state, public community college.

Grading Information

When did the plus/minus grading system become effective?

The plus/minus grading system for undergraduate students began with the fall 2013 semester.

What is the value (grade points) assigned to each grade for undergraduate students in computing grade point averages?

A = 4.00
A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.00
B- = 2.67
C+ = 2.33
C = 2.00
D = 1.00
F = 0.00

How does plus/minus grading affect scholarships?

For the purpose of calculating eligibility for scholarships, the required term and cumulative GPA is used. This will include any plus/minus grades received.

Is plus/minus grading used to determine academic honors?

Yes, plus/minus grading is used in the calculation for any and all academic honors including all attempted course work. These types of honors include Dean’s List, degrees with distinction (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude) and for the University Honors Program.

How will transfer students' transcripts using plus/minus grading be interpreted?

There will be no change in the way grades are calculated for those who apply for admission as transfer students. NIU will accept completed transfer work with a grade of “D” or better. Please be advised that a grade of C or better is necessary to meet the requirements for many foundational studies courses, prerequisite courses, majors, minors and certificates.

Does plus/minus grading effect how the undergraduate Office of Admissions calculates GPA?

There will be no change in how the undergraduate Admissions Office calculates the GPA for any admission, not just transfer admission.

How will policies which state "a grade of ‘B’ or better is required" be interpreted?

For purposes of university policies or regulations, grades of A, A-, B+ and B will satisfy a requirement which states that "a grade of "B" is required. Note that a grade of "B-" will not satisfy this standard.

Which courses are covered by the change to plus/minus grading?

All undergraduate courses, except those covered by satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading.

Are all instructors required to use plus and minus grades?

The plus/minus grading system is the official grading system approved by the university beginning fall 2013 for undergraduate students (a separate +/- grading system for graduate students began in fall 2012). The methodology for the assignment of grades in a course is the responsibility of the instructor, as defined in the course syllabus. The plus/minus system provides more grade options, but how those options are utilized is the decision of the instructor. Multi-section courses are expected to require similar levels of competence in all sections.

Will plus and minus grades be listed on NIU students' transcripts?

Both the official and unofficial transcript issued from Northern Illinois University will include any plus or minus grades that an undergraduate student earns beginning with the fall 2013 semester and henceforward.

Why is there no A+ , C-, D+ or D- in the new undergraduate plus/minus grading system?

The decision not to include these options in the new grading system was made by both the Admissions Policies and Academic Standards Committee (APASC) and the Undergraduate Coordinating Council (UCC).

Will any of my grades be changed from previous semesters? Will there be any changes to my current cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)?

All grades and current cumulative GPA will not be changed. These grades are part of your academic history and will remain as is on the official transcript. Beginning in fall 2013 semester, any and all grades received (including +/-) will be listed on your transcripts and calculated for both the term and cumulative GPA.

Graduation

How do I declare a graduation date?

You will apply for graduation through MyNIU, once you have reached 90 total hours.

Is there a fee for graduation?

Yes, the fee is $29 which will be applied automatically to your student account.

What does the graduation fee cover?

The fee covers your cap and gown rental; the diploma and diploma cover; the cost associated with ordering and mailing your diploma; and the cost associated with the commencement ceremony.

How do I change my graduation date?

You can email Registration and Records from your student email address (your Z account) at regrec@niu.edu.

You can also stop by the Office of Registration and Records in Williston Hall 220 and complete a degree information change form.

If you did not complete graduation requirements for the term you applied for, you will have 30 days into the following semester to change your graduation date to the next semester's graduation date.

What is my catalog year?

The major/minor catalog year refers to the requirements needed to complete a bachelor’s degree in a major/minor as detailed under a specific catalog year.

The general education catalog year refers to the university graduation requirements detailed under a specific catalog year.

You may choose a different catalog for either general education or your major/minor requirements. You may not graduate under a catalog that is more than six years old. Please consult with your adviser.

How do I change my catalog year?

You can change your general education catalog year or your major/minor catalog year by emailing Registration and Records at regrec@niu.edu from your NIU student email account. You can also visit our office located in Williston Hall 220. Please consult with your adviser about choosing a catalog year.

How do I change my major/minor or drop my major/minor?

You must go to the departmental office of the major or minor and complete a major request form or a minor request form. Once the appropriate signatures are obtained, the form will be forwarded to the Office of Registration and Records.

What catalog should I use for my major/minor and/or general education requirements?

To answer this question, you need to speak with an adviser in your major/minor department as requirements may change from one catalog to another. It would be to your benefit to speak with an adviser in your major college office regarding what catalog to use for general education requirements. Again, requirements may differ from one catalog to another.

How do I change my name on my records and transcript?

In order to change your name on your official records and transcript, you will need to provide a copy of your Social Security card with your new name. Name changes can be made by visiting Registration and Records, Williston Hall 220 and showing your picture ID and Social Security card or if unable to come in person, we require a signed request with a copy of your SSN card to be mailed to the office.

Can I get a diploma cover if I don't attend the ceremony?

If you have paid the graduation fee, you may obtain a diploma cover in the Office of Registration and Records, Williston Hall 220. Diploma covers are not mailed due to their fragility.

How do I get a replacement or duplicate diploma?

Contact Registration and Records at 815-753-0681 or regrec@niu.edu to request a replacement. The cost is $20.

Is there a deadline to declare my graduation date?

December/fall 2017 graduation: apply March 1, 2017 – September 1, 2017

May/spring 2018 graduation: apply August 1, 2017 – February 1, 2018

August/summer 2018 graduation: apply August 1, 2017 – June 15, 2018

Where can I get more information about the ceremony?

Information is available on the Convocation Center website.

I completed my major requirements, but did not complete my minor requirements. Will I still graduate?

Yes, you will still graduate with your major. However, not dropping your minor will result in a delay in your graduation processing. To avoid this delay, kindly contact your adviser to drop your minor as soon as it is determined that you will not meet the requirements, but still want to graduate with just your major only.

Preferred/Proper Name

What is a preferred/proper name?

If you go by a name that is different from your legal name, you can designate this within the university’s student information system. Preferred/proper names are limited to using upper and lower case letters, space, dash(-), apostrophe(’) and backwards apostrophe (`). The preferred/proper name will appear instead of the legal name on class rosters, grade rosters, online directory, O365 and Blackboard. Use of a legal name includes, but is not limited to, admission documents, official transcripts, diplomas, certification of enrollment or graduation, employment records, financial documents, reports for federal and state agencies and financial aid documents.

Do I have to enter a preferred/proper name?

No, you do not have to enter a preferred/proper name. This is there as a service for people who wish to be known by something other than their legal name. If you regularly use your legal name, then there’s no need to enter a preferred/proper name since they are the same.

How do I set a preferred/proper name?

Your preferred/proper name can be set by logging in to MyNIU and navigating to the Student Center. Under Personal Information, click the link labeled Names. You may indicate your preferred/proper name by clicking "Add a New Name” or “Change a Future Name." NOTE - the field name in MyNIU only says, “Preferred Name.” NIU acknowledges that many who utilize this process do so to ensure their proper name is indicated to systems utilizing this function, and that the name entered is often more than just a “preference;” it is the name you use.

Setting your preferred/proper name in MyNIU

When will preferred/proper name be used?

Your preferred/proper name will be used on class rosters, grade rosters, online directory, O365 and Blackboard. Preferred/proper name can also be displayed on your OneCard. The cost for replacing a damaged card will be $10 and the cost for replacing a lost card will be $20, which are the new rates for any student or faculty/staff replacing a OneCard.

Can I use my preferred/proper name for everything at the university?

Preferred/proper name will only be used in cases where legal name is not necessary. Examples of where your legal name are necessary include, but are not limited to, admission documents, official transcripts, diplomas, certification of enrollment or graduation, employment records, financial documents, reports for federal and state agencies and financial aid documents.

In some cases if you indicate a preferred/proper name, it may be necessary to clarify that your preferred name is different than your legal name. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, official interactions with police, security, and/or law enforcement and verification of medical records.

Will my preferred/proper name show up on my class roster?

Yes, your preferred/proper name will appear on the class roster.

How soon will my preferred/proper name appear?

Your preferred/proper name will appear within the next business day after you make this update in MyNIU unless you indicated a future effective date of this change.

What is the difference between adding a preferred/proper name and changing my legal primary name? And how do I change my legal primary name?

Adding a preferred/proper name is done by you through MyNIU. To change your legal name on official records and transcripts, you must present your Social Security card with your new name indicated. Name changes can be made by visiting Registration and Records, Williston Hall 220. If visiting our office to make a name change, you must present a picture ID and Social Security card. If you are unable to come to our office in person, we require a signed request with a copy of your Social Security card to be mailed to Registration and Records or a scanned copy may be emailed from your student email address to regrec@niu.edu.

What is the benefit of having a preferred/proper name?

Preferred/proper name enables you to be addressed by a name different from your legal name.

Records/Transcripts

How do I view a transcript?

To request a copy in person please present your photo ID at the Office of Registration and Records in Williston Hall 220. The cost is $8 per official transcript. There is no charge for unofficial transcripts. If you will be mailing or faxing a request please read the information on requesting transcripts.

Current and former students (last enrolled through fall 2008 or thereafter) can view their unofficial transcript by logging into MyNIU. All former students who had previous access to MyNIU will have access to MyNIU indefinitely for unofficial transcripts viewing. If you need assistance resetting your Z-ID password for MyNIU access, contact the DoIT Service Desk at 815-753-8100. If you are a former student who has last enrolled prior to fall 2008 and need an unofficial transcript, you can come into our office with a photo ID and we will print one for you. If you are not in the area you can mail us a signed request for an unofficial transcript and we will mail one back to you. Please use the transcript form (PDF) to request your free unofficial transcript.

What is the turnaround time to get a transcript mailed?

A transcript is typically processed in 2-3 business days, assuming all required information is included in the request. The time may vary during heavy request weeks typically e.g. the end of the semester.

How can I track my transcript request?

Visit us in person WI 220 or call the transcript office at 815-753-0681.

How do I change my name on my records and transcript?

In order to change your name on your official records and transcript, you will need to provide a copy of your Social Security Card with your new name. Name changes can be made by visiting the Office of Registration and Records, Williston Hall 220 and showing your picture ID and Social Security card. If you are unable to come in person, we require a signed request with a copy of your SSN card to be mailed or emailed (regrec@niu.edu) to the office.

How do I take a class at Northern Illinois University?

Once a new student has attended orientation and has concluded his/her advising appointment, the student can register for classes. Information about the academic programs offered at the university is available in the current Undergraduate Catalog. Graduate level students should contact the Graduate School at 815-753-0395.

How do I drop or withdraw from a class? Are there deadlines and how do I find out what they are?

Drops can be managed through MyNIU depending on the date of the attempted drop. All other drops and withdrawals after the deadline must be brought to your major college office. Drop deadlines vary from semester to semester. Information about withdrawing from the university can found on the academic withdrawal page.

Deadline dates can be viewed on the semester dates and deadlines page.

How can I find out when and where a class is meeting?

This information is available on the find courses page. A day(s) of the week indicator, time and location of the class is available with each course. A student may also contact the Registration and Records office at 815-753-0681 for any questions concerning a class or his/her schedule.

Where can I obtain a listing of all of the on- or off-campus courses offered by the university?

A listing is available on the find courses page.

How do I prevent my student directory information from being available to the public?

If you do not want directory information publicly disclosed, you should access your MyNIU account. From the Student Center under Personal Information select “Privacy Settings.” Then click the “Edit FERPA/Directory Restrictions” bar to restrict release of your information

To assist students who would like to allow third parties (e,g, my parents, siblings or others) to see their student information, NIU incorporated MyNIU Shared Access. This functionality allows a student to grant, up to two individuals, access to their student data. The student can choose and limit the information that the individuals may view. NOTE: MyNIU Shared Access will override FERPA for disclosure (or non-disclosure of student information). Students who don’t remember their ZID and/or password will need to contact the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) ServiceDesk at 815-753-8100.

If you previously submitted a request to prevent disclosure of directory information and want to retract that document, you can do so either through MyNIU or by completing a retraction of request to prevent disclosure of directory information form (PDF) and submitting it in person to the Office of Registration and Records. Please make certain to bring proper student identification to the office when making this request.

How soon can I get my grades after I take my final exam?

Grades are viewable via MyNIU once the instructor has posted the class grade roster.

My instructor filled out a change of grade form and sent it to Registration and Records. Why hasn't my grade been changed yet?

There may be different reasons for this, such as needing appropriate signatures from different university personnel. The most obvious reason would be that the grade changes are processed in the order in which they are received, and at times, a large number of changes must be processed. Questions about a change of grade may be directed to the department who initiated the change form or the major college office of the course.

How do I calculate hours that are needed in reaching a certain GPA?

To calculate this information, use the GPA Calculator.

How do I calculate my major GPA?

The Undergraduate Catalog (specifically the University Graduation Requirements section) has detailed information pertaining to major GPA calculations. Your major GPA is calculated using all courses taken in the major department unless the department states otherwise.

How do I obtain my Z-ID number?

Call the DoIT Service Desk at 815-753-8100. For more information, visit the DoIT website.

Where can I get help with my NIU email address?

Call the DoIT Service Desk at 815-753-8100.

Why haven't I received a bill for my classes from the university?

Billing questions are handled directly by the Office of the Bursar at 815-753-1885 or via email at bursar@niu.edu

Where can I obtain a copy of my university medical record?

Contact Health Service Records and Release at 815-753-1318.

Where does a student or faculty member get help with Blackboard?

Contact the DoIT Service Desk at 815-753-8100. Or you can get online assistance for Blackboard.

How can I get a certification of enrollment or graduation from NIU?

You can obtain an enrollment verification by contacting Registration and Records at 815-753-0681, email at regrec@niu.edu or in person at Williston Hall 220.

An enrollment verification is generated from the system verifying enrollment history by term of enrollment along with current program of study and degree awarded information.

Certifications requiring the school seal are $5 per copy. Certifications that do not require the school seal are free.

How do I view my transcript online?

Current and former students (last enrolled through fall 2008 or after) can view their unofficial transcript using MyNIU.

All former students who had previous access to MyNIU will have access to MyNIU indefinitely for unofficial transcripts viewing. If you need assistance resetting your Z-ID password for MyNIU access, contact the DoIT Service Desk at 815-753-8100.

If you are a former student who was last enrolled prior to fall 2008 and need an unofficial transcript, you can visit our office with a photo ID and we will print one for you. If you are not in the area, you can mail us a signed request for an unofficial transcript and we will mail one back to you.

I took classes at another school. Where do I send my transcript?

Whether you are a new transfer or a current NIU student, your transcript should be sent to the Office of Admissions. Contact your transfer school. Paper transcripts can be sent to:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Northern Illinois University
1425 West Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115

Electronic transcripts can be sent to admissions@niu.edu.

Registration/Withdrawal

How do I find out what sections of a class are open?

When you log in to MyNIU and search for classes you can see whether a class is open or closed. For MyNIU training, please refer to MyNIU - Student.

Can first-time students use web registration?

All students use MyNIU to register.

New undergraduate students can register once they have attended an orientation and advising session. Once you have applied and been admitted to NIU, you will receive information about these programs.

New graduate students and students-at-large are eligible to register after being admitted to NIU.

Where can I find information about adding and dropping classes, before and after the deadlines?

Specific add/drop deadlines for each class are listed under the deadlines heading on the right side of your schedule. Adds or drops can be completed via MyNIU through the add/drop deadline.

After the established drop deadlines, all course load reductions become withdrawals. This includes last half courses which have their own established add/drop deadlines. All requests to withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadlines must be initiated and processed through your major college office (undergraduates) or through the department offering the course (graduate students and students-at-large). A course withdrawal will remain on your academic record, but is not used in calculating your grade point average.

MyNIU will not let me drop all of my classes. How do I drop all of my classes?

Undergraduate students cannot drop to zero hours using MyNIU after the term has begun. Dropping all of your courses is considered a university withdrawal. You should contact your major college office to withdraw from the university.

How can I replace one class with another class without losing the class that is currently on my schedule?

You can use MyNIU to swap courses during the add/drop period. All requests to swap a course after the add/drop deadlines must be initiated and processed through your major college office (undergraduates) or through the department offering the course

Who do I call for advisement on which classes to take?

Contact your academic adviser or major college office for advising.

How do I get a copy of my schedule?

Your class schedule is available to you in MyNIU.

Where can I go for help concerning my tuition bill?

Billing questions are handled directly by the Office of the Bursar at 815-753-1885 or via email at bursar@niu.edu (be sure to include your student account number in your email).

How can I find out what classes are being offered?

The online NIU Course Finder allows you to search the most up-to-date course offerings.

I am having trouble with Blackboard. Where can I get help?

Help is available from the DoIT Service Desk at 815-753-8100 or via email at ServiceDesk@niu.edu. Additional Blackboard assistance for students is available online.

I would like to audit a course. What do I need to do?

Auditing means registering for and attending a class regularly without receiving credit. If you wish to audit a course, you must be admitted to NIU or granted student-at-large status; obtain the permission of the instructor of the course; have the department enroll you in the class and designate the course for audit rather than credit; and pay the regular tuition and fees before the established deadlines.

How many classes can I sign up for?

Undergraduate students may register for a maximum of 18 credit hours, excluding audit hours, for the fall and spring semester. The maximum allowed for the summer session is nine credit hours, excluding audit hours. Continuing undergraduate students wanting to carry more than 18 credit hours, may request an overload permit from their major college office. New undergraduate students may not carry an overload.

A graduate-level student's course load includes all courses for which the student is registered at both the graduate and undergraduate course levels, whether taken for credit or audit. Approval is necessary when a student in good academic standing wishes to carry more than 12 semester hours in the fall or spring semester or nine semester hours in the summer session. For a graduate student in a degree program, prior approval must be obtained from the student's major department; for a student-at-large or a graduate student not in a degree program, the prior approval of the office of the dean of the Graduate School is required.

In-State and Out-of-State Residency

When is your residency status determined?

Your residency status is established at the time when the completed application for admission is received and processed. The decision is based on the information included with the application for admission, transcripts and other required documents for admission. The residency status determined at this time remains in effect until you either (1) petition for a resident tuition classification by providing supporting documentation establishing that you have fulfilled all the requirements for residency or (2) lose residency by your absence from Illinois or (3) intend to become a resident of another state.

What do you have to do to become an Illinois resident for tuition purposes?

It is assumed that your residency status is that of your parents. NIU requires that you be a bona fide resident of Illinois for six consecutive months prior to the semester for which you are petitioning and maintain a permanent residence year round. The university's requirements to establish residency may be different than other Illinois institutions of higher education. Bona fide residency involves actually living in the state of Illinois and taking other specific actions which bond you to the state of Illinois. It also requires that you reside in Illinois primarily for reasons that are not related to receiving an education.

How important is registering to vote, getting a driver’s license and establishing an Illinois bank account?

These actions signify your intent to reside in Illinois for other than educational purposes.

Can your parents claim you in another state while you are establishing residency? Do you have to file Illinois income taxes?

If your parents claim you in another state, chances are you are eligible to receive in-state tuition in their state of residency. You may be considered residents in one state only. Any and all employment must be reported on the petition. You are required to file Illinois income taxes and a federal income tax return, using your Illinois address, for the income you’ve earned. In addition, you may be asked to submit year-to-date earnings statements to indicate payment of Illinois taxes.

If your parents move to Illinois, when can you become a resident?

If your parents move on or before the first day of classes for the semester in which you are registering, you will be considered to be an Illinois resident. If they move to Illinois after the semester has begun, you will be considered as in-state at the beginning of the next term. Your parents must actually become domiciled, make their home in the state of Illinois and may be asked to verify their residence. Your parents don’t need to be bona fide residents for six consecutive months. In this case, you will only need to provide your parent's driver's license, a utility bill showing their name and address and your birth certificate.

What if your parents are divorced?

As long as one parent is a bona fide resident of Illinois, you will receive resident status. That is true even if the parent outside of Illinois is actually your main source of financial support. You will need to provide supporting documents of the domicile parent.

What if your parents move outside of Illinois?

Once you have applied and are admitted as a resident student, your in-state residency continues. However, you must maintain continuous enrollment and maintenance of a separate residence (actually live) in Illinois.

What if you don’t receive an answer about your residency until after you receive the initial billing statement?

You must make a decision whether you will enroll with the risk of being a nonresident student. A verbal recommendation from a staff member of the university is not grounds for determination of residency. The only determination which is official is the decision made by the Office of Registration and Records. If you are approved for in-state residency, then a refund will be processed for any difference of tuition incurred. You will be responsible for any late fees assessed if you choose to not make a payment on time.

You are an international student who has applied for a permanent resident status in the United States. When may you be considered a resident?

Notification that your application has been received is not sufficient. If you hold a temporary visa, you will be considered as abandoning your former visa status only if you have an EAD card and are working in the state of Illinois. You must petition for in-state residency. If you cannot provide this type of proof, then you may be considered as in-state only after you receive federal notification that your status for permanent residency has been approved.

What about the H-1 visa?

The holder of an H-1B or H-1C may be eligible for residency for tuition purposes. A dependent of an H-1B or H-1C, who holds an H-4 visa, may also be eligible.

What if you are on a temporary visa, but marry a person who is a resident of Illinois?

As long as you are on a temporary visa, you will still need to abide by the guidelines previously mentioned regarding abandonment of your former visa status to establish in-state residency.

You have lived in Illinois all your life, but left the state to attend undergraduate school. You wish to return to Illinois for graduate school. Will you be considered a resident?

If your parents still live in Illinois, you will be considered a resident.

Your spouse is employed in Illinois, files taxes and has taken other actions which verify their intention to reside in Illinois. Are you considered a resident?

A person can gain residency through his or her spouse if that spouse is a bona fide resident of Illinois. You will be asked to provide proof that your spouse has been a bona fide resident in Illinois for six consecutive months along with other supporting documents as outlined in the petition.

Your spouse is a graduate assistant. Are you considered a resident?

Staff members of the university and faculties of state-supported institutions of higher education in Illinois, holding appointment of at least one-quarter time and their spouses and dependent children, shall be treated as residents. However, the term “staff member” shall not include graduate assistants or student hourly workers, so employment as a graduate student does not automatically entitle the graduate assistant or his/her spouse to resident benefits.

What paperwork do you have to file to request a change in your residency classification?

The process begins with filing a petition for change to Illinois residency status (PDF). The petition can be obtained at the Office of Registration and Records. Registration and Records must receive the petition by the published deadlines established for each semester. If the petition is even one day late, it will not be reviewed. You should attach copies of documents to verify the information contained in the petition. You have until the last day of the semester to provide all the supporting documents, however, you will not be granted in-state tuition until all documents have been received and approved. You are responsible for any fees assessed while you wait for the decision.

What if you disagree with the finding by the Office of Registration and Records?

If you are dissatisfied with the ruling in response to the written claim made within said period, you may appeal the ruling to the vice provost by filing a written request with the designated university residency official in the Office of Registration and Records within 20 calendar days of receipt of the notice of the ruling. If such a written request is filed within said period, available information on the question of residency status under the provisions of the Residency Status Regulation of the Board of Trustees and of applicable laws shall be referred by the designated university residency official in the Office of Registration and Records to the vice provost, whose decision shall be final.

Contact Us

Registration and Records
Williston Hall 220
815-753-0681
regrec@niu.edu

Hours: Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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