Thanks for posting your query!!
If you compare the two universities, NIU has overall higher rank compared to UTA. Although both universities are public universities and their out-of-state tuition and fees is almost similar, the cost of living at DeKalb, IL (where NIU is located) is slightly higher compared to the cost of living at Arlington, TX (based on data published by U.S. News).
For a graduate program, it is always best to go through the coursework and faculty profiles to understand if the program matches your expectations. You can also request for placement history of the alumni from the department and discuss with the program coordinator the kind of resources available within the department and the university for placements (career development center, on-campus recruitment or assistance, networking opportunities, etc.). You should try to understand the placement aspects in context of international students.
The amount specified on I-20 document reflects the tuition fees, living expenses, and other expected expenditures for one year. As mentioned above, since the tuition fee for the two universities is very similar and there is only slight difference in the cost of living between two places, the amount on I-20 for the two universities should not be drastically different.
Hope this information is helpful for you in your decision making!!
ELS International Education Pathways Pvt. Ltd. (www.els.in )
Over 55 Years of Leadership in International Education – 1961-Present
india.inqui email@example.com ">india.inqui firstname.lastname@example.org