DEKALB, Ill. (CBS) — Students moved into a new dormitory at Northern Illinois University this week, and they’re paying as much as $6,500 a semester for the privilege to live there.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, the New Residence Halls East and West are the first new dorms that have opened at NIU since 1968. The new dorms have 12-person suites, or “clusters,” instead of typical floor settings with one- or two-person rooms.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

Each cluster has its own common area, with a two-microwave kitchenette, dining tables, and a 55-inch flat-screen TV, the Daily Herald reported. Washer-dryers are also included in the common area.

The Chicago Sun-Times described the setup as “sort of like a set adapted from reality TV’s ‘Big Brother.’”

The new dorm also offers semi-private bathrooms shared only by two students, rather than the traditional – and infamously awkward – dorm restrooms with multiple stalls, urinals, sinks and showers.

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Each student also has his or her own sink, medicine cabinet and bedroom.

The dorm has also stepped up security. Students need a passcard to get in the building, then a card and a four-digit code to get into the cluster and a key for your own bedroom area, the Daily Herald reported.

But living in the facility won’t come cheap. Depending on the meal plan, students could pay as much as $6,500 per semester to live in the New Residence Halls, the Sun-Times reported.

Many universities have aimed for alternative setups to traditional dorms in recent years.

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Among the best known local examples is the 1237 West residence hall at DePaul University, which features loft-style suites for up to four students – each with private bedrooms. The privately-operated dorm at 1237 W. Fullerton Ave., originally known as Loft-Right when it opened in 2006, also features trendy furniture designed by Herman Miller in every suite.