Commuter Life

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


Since approximately 45 percent of our students commute to campus, we’ve developed our programs with our commuter students in mind. During the academic year, commuters have access to the same educational, spiritual, and social opportunities available to all Northwestern students.

Commuter student supports start right away at our New Student Orientation. We provide information specifically tailored to meet the needs of our commuters. At Orientation, you will meet with other commuting students during commuter connection times. This will give you the opportunity to make friends you’ll have for the coming months and years. Many students find friendships here that last a lifetime.

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 12 credits, including undergraduate and online)
  • Students who are married

Campus-wide activities: Join a club, intramural sport, or attend a student org event! Sharing your interests and passions is a good way to meet other students like you. Meet other students who share the same interests and passions as you OR join in a group to learn something new. Commuter Life exists to serve commuter students by seeing, supporting, engaging, and connecting them 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.


We provide free lockers for commuters. Fill out the Commuter Locker Request form to reserve a locker.

Meal plans

Because commuters have different meal needs than residents, We created a unique meal plan for commuting students. In this plan, most commuters can 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.


Email: [email protected]