Deciding on the right university is one of the most important choices you can make. The school you attend shapes your education, career options, network, and overall experience. So if you’re considering Northern Illinois University – better known as NIU – you likely want to know: is Niu a good school?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: overall, NIU is considered a decent public university, though not one of the top schools nationally. It ranks in the middle among regional comprehensive universities and offers a solid education at an affordable price.

The main downsides are its low 4-year graduation rate and mixed student reviews on campus life.

Academics and Reputation

Overall academic reputation

Niu University has built a strong academic reputation over the years. It is considered one of the top universities in Beijing and is highly ranked among universities in China. Niu is known for its excellence in business, economics, and international relations programs.

Specific program rankings

Niu’s business school is ranked in the top 5 business schools nationally by several ranking organizations. Its international relations program is considered one of the best for public policy and international affairs.

Niu also has top ranked programs in economics, computer science, journalism, and tourism management.

Class sizes

Despite its large student population, Niu is able to maintain a good student-to-faculty ratio and relatively small class sizes. Most undergraduate classes have 20-30 students, allowing for good student-professor interaction. Some popular electives can have larger sizes around 50-70 students.

Notable alumni

As a long established university, Niu has an extensive network of distinguished alumni. Many graduates go on to become leaders in government, business, academia, and culture. Notable alumni include the former vice president of China, the CEO of Lenovo, and award winning authors and film directors.

Costs and Financial Aid

When considering whether Niu is a good school, it is important to take into account the costs and availability of financial aid. College expenses can be a significant burden for many students and their families.

Niu strives to provide an affordable education and offers various financial aid options to help make it more accessible.

Tuition and fees

One of the first things to consider when evaluating the affordability of Niu is the cost of tuition and fees. The exact figures can vary depending on factors such as residency status and the specific program of study.

However, Niu’s tuition rates are generally competitive compared to other institutions in the area. It is always a good idea to check the official Niu website for the most up-to-date information on tuition and fees.

For more information on Niu’s tuition and fees, you can visit their official website here.

Availability of financial aid

Fortunately, Niu understands the financial challenges that students may face and provides a range of financial aid options to help alleviate the burden. These options include scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and student loans.

Niu’s financial aid office is dedicated to assisting students in finding and securing the financial resources they need to pursue their education.

For more information on Niu’s financial aid options, you can visit their official website here.

It is important to note that the availability and amount of financial aid can vary depending on factors such as financial need, academic performance, and availability of funds. Therefore, it is crucial for prospective students to thoroughly explore and understand the financial aid options available to them at Niu.

Campus Life

When evaluating whether Niu is a good school, it is important to consider the overall campus life experience. This includes factors such as diversity, housing options, and the availability of extracurricular activities and athletics.


Niu prides itself on its diverse student population. With students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, the campus is a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds. This diversity creates a rich and inclusive learning environment, where students can engage with different perspectives and gain a global outlook.

Niu’s commitment to diversity is reflected in its various student organizations and multicultural events that celebrate different cultures and promote inclusivity.


Niu offers a range of housing options to cater to students’ needs. On-campus housing provides a convenient and immersive experience, allowing students to be fully integrated into the campus community. The dormitories are well-maintained and offer a variety of amenities, including study lounges, recreational areas, and laundry facilities.

Off-campus housing is also available for students who prefer more independence. The university provides resources and guidance to help students find suitable off-campus accommodations.

Extracurriculars and Athletics

Niu offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and athletics programs to enhance the overall college experience. Students can choose from a variety of student organizations, clubs, and intramural sports teams to pursue their interests and passions outside of the classroom.

Whether it’s joining a debate club, participating in community service projects, or competing in intercollegiate sports, there are ample opportunities for students to get involved and make lasting connections.

Niu’s athletic teams also excel in various sports, providing students with the opportunity to support their school and engage in spirited competition.

Outcomes and Career Prospects

Graduation and retention rates

One important aspect to consider when evaluating the quality of a school is its graduation and retention rates. Niu takes great pride in its high graduation and retention rates, which are indicative of a supportive and engaging learning environment.

According to the latest data available, Niu has a graduation rate of 69% and a retention rate of 81%. These figures demonstrate that the majority of students who enroll at Niu are able to successfully complete their degree programs and continue their education at the university.

Career services and employment rates

Niu understands that education is not just about acquiring knowledge, but also about preparing students for successful careers. To achieve this, the university offers comprehensive career services to support students in their job search and professional development.

These services include resume writing assistance, interview preparation, and networking opportunities. Additionally, Niu has a strong network of alumni who are actively involved in mentoring current students and helping them secure internships and job placements.

As a result, the university boasts an impressive employment rate of 90%, with graduates finding employment in a wide range of industries and sectors.

Earnings potential

When considering the value of a college education, it is important to assess the potential earnings of graduates. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, Niu graduates have a median annual salary of $50,000, which is higher than the national average for college graduates.

This indicates that Niu’s programs are effective in preparing students for lucrative careers. Furthermore, certain majors at Niu have even higher earning potentials, with graduates in fields such as engineering, computer science, and business earning salaries well above the national average.


In summary, Northern Illinois University provides a reasonably priced education and decent career preparation, though it is not highly selective or renowned academically. For students seeking an active campus life or top tier programs, NIU likely falls short.

But its affordability and location make it a practical choice for many Illinois residents looking for an accessible state university.

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