Commuter Life

Thinking about commuting to Northwestern? Learn more about parking permits, lockers, meals plans, and computer access.

Entrance to University of Northwestern

Approximately 45 percent of our students commute to campus, where Northwestern provides convenient parking, lockers, and access to computers.

We’ve developed our programs with our commuter students in mind. We start right away at our New Student Orientation by providing information specifically tailored to meet the needs of our commuters. During the academic year, commuters have access to the same educational, spiritual, and social opportunities available to all Northwestern students.

Who can commute?

  • Students living with one or both parents
  • Students over the age of 21 by the first day of Fall semester
  • Students who are part time (fewer than than 12 credits, including undergraduate and online)
  • Students who are married

Orientation: Connect in your New Student Group with other commuters. This is a time when you’ll make friends you’ll have for the coming months and years. Many students find friendships here that last a lifetime.

Campus-wide activities: Join a club, intramural sport, or student ministry. Sharing your interests and passions is a good way to meet others students like you. Better yet, join a group that you don’t know a lot about. You could learn something new and make different kinds of friends. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a good thing! Commuter Life exists to serve commuter students through seeing, supporting, engaging, and connecting you with the greater Northwestern community.

Get What You Need as a Commuter

Commuter Parking Permit

Don't worry about finding a parking spot! Northwestern reserves our best parking for commuters. Park near the academic buildings and residence areas! Read Public Safety’s guidelines for parking and motor vehicle use.

A commuter parking permit allows commuter students to park in general parking lots from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m., seven days a week. Commuters are not allowed to park in the faculty/staff lots behind Nazareth Hall, Totino Fine Art Center, Ericksen Center, Mel Johnson Media Center, or in any reserved parking space (including those near the resident student housing) except during posted hours.


Commuters bring stuff with them each day. We get it! Northwestern provides free lockers for commuters. Fill out the form to request a locker.

Meal plans

Because commuters have different meal needs than residents, Northwestern created a unique meal plan for commuting students. In this plan, most commuters are able to purchase three meals each week in our dining center. This is a great way to connect with your Northwestern community.

Computer access

Computers in the academic buildings, the library, and residence buildings are available to commuting students allowing you to have full access to your academic files on and off campus.



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