University Residency Requirement

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At NIU, all freshmen (students that have under 24 hours of NIU-accepted college credit) who have not reached their 21st birthday by September 1 and are not residing with their parents or legal guardians are required to live on campus for their first year.

All students bound by the residency requirement must:

Check if the University Residency Requirement applies to you.

Have you already signed a residence hall contract?
If you've already signed a housing contract, you can no longer make a residency requirement exemption request. Instead, you will need to make a contract release request.
How many NIU-accepted college credit hours do you have before the academic year begins?
Contact Registration and Records for help figuring out how many credit hours you currently have.
You are not required to live on campus.
Will you be at least 21 years old by September 1 of the academic year you'll be taking classes at NIU?
You are not required to live on campus.
Are you living with your parents or legal guardians?

You must request an exemption if you're commuting from a permanent home address within a 50-mile radius of DeKalb. Submit a residency requirement exemption request and a notarized application to commute.

Note that living with siblings, friends or in family-owned subsidiary housing in which the parent or guardian does not permanently reside does not meet the standards for an exemption.

Are you planning on commuting from a permanent home address within a 50-mile radius of DeKalb?

You must request an exemption if you're commuting from a permanent home address within a 50-mile radius of DeKalb and you are living with your parents or legal guardians. Submit a residency requirement exemption request and a notarized application to commute.

Note that living with siblings, friends or in family-owned subsidiary housing in which the parent or guardian does not permanently reside does not meet the standards for an exemption.

You must live on campus or be granted an exemption to the residency requirement. You can request an exemption for another reason, like having at least a year of military service or being the custodial parent of a dependent child. Keep reading below for a list of valid reasons and how to request an exemption.

Reasons for Requesting an Exemption

A student can request an exemption if they are married. A copy of the marriage certificate must accompany the exemption request.

Submit to Housing:

  1. A residency requirement exemption request.
  2. A copy of your marriage certificate.

A student can request an exemption if they are the custodial parent of a dependent child. A copy of the birth certificate or court documentation of guardianship must accompany the exemption request.

Submit to Housing:

  1. A residency requirement exemption request.
  2. A copy of the birth certificate or court documentation of guardianship.

A student can request an exemption if they are commuting from a permanent home address within a 50-mile radius of DeKalb. Living with siblings, friends or in family-owned subsidiary housing in which the parent or guardian does not permanently reside does not meet the standards for an exemption.

Submit to Housing:

  1. A residency requirement exemption request.
  2. A notarized application to commute.

A student can request an exemption if they have served at least one year in the military.

Submit to Housing:

  1. A residency requirement exemption request.
  2. A copy of discharge papers.

If you believe you have a unique situation that would qualify you for an exemption from the University Residency Requirement, you may submit a personal narrative describing the situation and documentation to support your case.

Other exemptions are very rare and are not typically granted to allow students to live in other off-campus housing with friends or other family members.

Submit to Housing:

  1. A residency requirement exemption request.
  2. A personal narrative and any documentation to support your case.

Submitting Your Request to Housing

Please email your residency requirement exemption request and any supporting documentation to housing@niu.edu.

Alternatively, you can mail the request and supporting documentation to:

Housing and Residential Services
Neptune East 101
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115


If you are not granted an exemption and do not sign up for on-campus housing

If you are not granted an exemption and do not sign up for on-campus housing, you will automatically have a Housing and Residential Services standard double room billing for a full semester's room rate sent to your NIU Bursar's account for the first semester you are enrolled in an academic year (August – May).

If you do not complete one of these options by the end of the first week of classes your first semester (or within 30 days of a late admission date), you will be billed a $100 contract service charge if the requested exemption is granted.

Students who do not complete one of these options and have been billed through the University Residency Requirement will only be considered for a refund if they request a University Residency Requirement Exemption Request within the first semester they are enrolled. Requests for contract billing changes after the last class day of the first semester enrolled will not be considered for a refund. The university does not waive finance or late fee charges for students who have not submitted their exemption requests before classes begin their first semester enrolled.

Housing and Residential Services
housing@niu.edu
815-753-1525

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