Financial Aid FAQs

Tuition and Billing

What is the cost of attendance for Counseling@Northwestern?
Tuition for the 2018-19 academic year for the accelerated Counseling@Northwestern Program is $18,040 per quarter. Students in the accelerated Standard Program will complete six quarters, spanning a minimum of two academic years. Students in the accelerated Bridge to Counseling Program will complete seven quarters. For the 2018-19 academic year, traditional and part-time students are offered a $4,510 per credit tuition rate. Just like the full-time tuition rate, the part-time tuition is subject to the standard Northwestern University tuition increases. You can learn more about cost of attendance here, or you can find information on our Tuition & Financial Aid page.

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Will tuition change with each academic year?
A moderate tuition increase can be expected each academic year.

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How does billing work?
Your tuition and fees bill is delivered electronically, viewable through CAESAR. Navigate as follows: My Account>View or Pay Monthly Bill. When each new bill is posted online, an email notice will be sent to your NU email address. Because bills are delivered monthly, you may also monitor your daily account activity in CAESAR. Navigate as follows: My Account>View My Real-Time Account.

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How can I pay my bill?
Payment methods include electronic check, ePay (using a checking or saving account), or credit card online through CAESAR. You can read additional details on payment methods here.

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What if I can’t pay my tuition all at once?
Payment arrangements can be made by contacting Student Finance at studentaccounts-ev@northwestern.edu or 847-491-5224.

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Do I have to pay out-of-state tuition if I don’t live in Illinois?
There is no in-state or out-of-state tuition. Northwestern is a private university. There is one tuition rate for all students.

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Financial Aid at Northwestern

What is the FAFSA school code?
The school code for Northwestern University is 001739.

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What are all the steps to complete the financial aid process?
Refer to the financial aid checklist here.

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Are there any supplemental financial aid forms I need to complete?
There are no financial aid supplemental documents required for this program.

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Do I have to enroll before I can receive my financial aid award package?
No. Once admitted, students will be able to view their financial aid package prior to enrolling in the program.

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Once admitted, how long will it take to receive my financial aid award package?
It will take approximately two weeks, if students have set up their Northwestern email account.

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How will I receive my financial aid award letter?
Your financial aid award letter will be made available via the student portal, CAESAR.

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How do I accept my student loans?
Instructions on accepting student loans are provided with your email award notice.

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Am I required to accept the full amount that I am offered on my award letter?
No. Instructions are provided with your email award notice.

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Can I use loans to cover expenses beyond tuition (housing, books, living expenses, etc.)?
If you have eligibility for additional loan funds or refunds based on your Cost of Attendance (COA), you are able to use those funds to cover additional education expenses, such as books, supplies, living, meals, etc. You can learn more about cost of attendance here.

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Can I use federal student aid to cover immersions?
If you have eligibility for additional loan funds or a refund, you are able to use those resources to cover immersion expenses.

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How soon will loans disburse to my student account?
Federal student loans are divided and disbursed per quarter. Loans are disbursed no more than 10 days prior to the start of the quarter.

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Does my Direct Loan eligibility cover the entire cost of the program?
Assuming you are eligible for both the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you may borrow for tuition and fees in full.

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Are internal scholarships available for students in this program?
Counseling@Northwestern awards a limited number of scholarships and partner organization benefits to applicants. Be sure to connect with an Admissions Counselor by calling 1-844-684-6221 or email admissions@counseling.northwestern.edu if you would like to be considered for one of these institutionally funded scholarship opportunities.

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Does Northwestern require that I complete any supplemental financial aid forms?
Admitted students are not required to complete any additional forms, but continuing students must complete an online institutional form. The Evanston Office of Graduate Financial Aid will contact you to complete this form as well as your new FAFSA. Both will appear as To Do items in CAESAR.

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How many courses do I need to take to be eligible for federal student aid?
The student must be enrolled at least half-time (2 units per quarter) during the entire loan period in order to be eligible for federal student aid. 

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To learn more about Counseling@Northwestern, contact an admissions counselor at 1-844-684-6221 or admissions@counseling.northwestern.edu.

The FAFSA

What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the Department of Education’s application for determining a student’s eligibility for federal student aid. 

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Where can I find the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is online at fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is a FREE application. If you are asked to pay a fee to complete the application, you are on the wrong website.

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Do I need my parents’ tax information to complete the FAFSA if I live on my own?
If a student is applying for graduate school, they do not need their parents’ information to complete the FAFSA.

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When should I complete the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is available every October for the upcoming academic year. If you are planning to use federal student aid, you should complete your FAFSA while applying for admission.

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What constitutes an academic year for federal student aid?
The school year for which financial aid is used to fund a student’s education. Generally, this is the 12-month period that begins on July 1 of one year and ends on June 30 the following year.

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Who is eligible to apply for federal student aid?
In order to apply for federal student aid, you must:

  • be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen;
  • have a valid SSN;
  • be registered with the Selective Service, if you’re male (must register between the age of 18–25);
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree program;
  • be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program;
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • not currently be in default on previous student loans borrowed through FSA; and
  • not have exceeded the maximum aggregate loan limit.

You can learn more about student eligibility criteria here.

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What types of federal student aid are available to graduate students?
The types of federal student aid graduate students are eligible to apply for include the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (formerly known as a Stafford Loan) and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.

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Will I need to fill out the FAFSA each year?
Yes. Eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one award year to the next; you need to fill out the FAFSA for each award year in which you are or plan to be a student.

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Why am I not eligible for the Pell Grant or Direct Subsidized Loans?
The Department of Education only awards the Federal Pell Grant and Direct Subsidized Loan to students pursuing degrees at the undergraduate level.

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Direct Unsubsidized Loans

How do I apply for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan?
To apply for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you must first complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school will use the information from your FAFSA to determine how much student aid you are eligible to receive. Direct Loans are generally included as part of your financial aid package.

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What is the difference between a Direct Unsubsidized Loan and a Direct Subsidized Loan?
Direct Subsidized Loans are only available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The federal government pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half time and during the six-month grace period. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. Learn more about the difference between unsubsidized and subsidized loans here.

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What is the aggregate loan limit?
The total amount of federal student loans that you may borrow across the course of your undergraduate and graduate study. Learn more about aggregate loan amounts here.

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How do I find out if I am near my aggregate loan limit?
You may visit the National Student Loan Data System website to view your federal student loan borrowing history. Please note that private education loans are not listed on this site.  

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What is the current Direct Unsubsidized Loan interest rate?
The interest rate for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan is determined at the beginning of each academic year and is available at StudentAid.gov.

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What criteria are used to determine eligibility for federal student aid?
In order to apply for federal student aid, you must:

  • be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen;
  • have a valid SSN;
  • be registered with the Selective Service, if you’re male (must register between the age of 18–25);
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree program;
  • be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program;
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • not currently be in default on previous student loans borrowed through FSA; and
  • not have exceeded the maximum aggregate loan limit.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on income. You can learn more about student eligibility criteria here.

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Are there any additional loan fees?
There is a loan origination fee that is a percentage of the total loan amount. The loan origination fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive. Information on origination fees can be found here.

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What if I am currently in default or have defaulted on a prior federal student loan?
Visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and contact your lender for details on how to clear the default. Students in default are not eligible for additional federal loans until the default is cleared  

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When do I have to repay my Direct Unsubsidized Loan?
Your Direct Unsubsidized Loan will go into repayment six months after you graduate, take a leave of absence, or fall below half-time status.

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Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

What is a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a federal loan that graduate or professional degree students can use to help pay for education expenses. Learn about Direct PLUS Loans here.

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What are the eligibility criteria to apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
In order to be eligible for federal student aid and apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan, you must:

  • be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen;
  • have a valid SSN;
  • be registered with the Selective Service, if you’re male (must register between the age of 18–25);
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree program;
  • be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program;
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • not currently be in default on previous student loans borrowed through FSA; and
  • not have exceeded the maximum aggregate loan limit.

The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is credit-based. You can learn more about student eligibility criteria here.

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What are the credit criteria to receive the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
One of the eligibility requirements to receive a Graduate PLUS Loan is that the applicant must not have an adverse credit history. A credit check is performed to determine whether a Graduate PLUS Loan applicant meets this requirement. A list of what constitutes "adverse credit history" can be found at the following link: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/plus-adverse-credit.pdf

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How do I apply for the Direct PLUS Loan at Northwestern?
In order to receive a Direct PLUS Loan, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Northwestern initiates the Direct PLUS Loan request on the student’s behalf with their consent via the financial aid offer letter. The school’s financial aid office will provide instructions about the process for requesting a Graduate PLUS Loan.

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When should I apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
The Graduate PLUS Loan is initiated by the school through the financial aid offer letter. The school's financial aid office will provide additional instructions about their process for requesting a Graduate PLUS Loan.

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What are my options if I am denied the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
If you are denied the Graduate PLUS Loan, you may reapply with an endorser or follow instructions on the Department of Education's website to appeal the denial.

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What is the current Direct Graduate PLUS Loan interest rate?
The interest rate for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is determined at the beginning of each academic year and is available at StudentAid.gov.

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Does the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan affect my aggregate loan limit?
No. Only Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans (formerly referred to as Stafford Loans) and federal loans made through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program count toward the aggregate loan amount.

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How much can I borrow with the Direct PLUS Loan?
If approved for a Direct PLUS Loan, you can borrow up to the full program budget as determined by Northwestern.

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When do I have to repay my Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
Your Direct Graduate PLUS Loan will go into repayment six months after you graduate, take a leave of absence, or fall below half-time status.

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Loan Repayment

When do I have to pay back my loan?
After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you will have a six-month grace period before you are required to begin repayment. During this period, you’ll receive repayment information from your loan servicer, and you will be notified of your first payment due date. Payments are usually due monthly. Learn more about repayment timelines at StudentAid.ed.gov.

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Do I have to pay my student loans back while I’m in school?
Your federal loans will be in a deferment status while you are enrolled at least half-time. Your federal loans will go into repayment six months after you have completed your program or dropped your enrollment status to less than half-time. You are not required to pay while in school; however if you choose to, there is no penalty to pre-pay.

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Can I consolidate my graduate loans and my undergraduate loans?
A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you to consolidate (combine) multiple federal education loans into one loan including both graduate and undergraduate loans. The result is a single monthly payment instead of multiple payments. Learn more about loan consolidation at StudentAid.ed.gov.

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What are the repayment plan options and how do I select one?
Loan servicers offer a range of repayment options, including income-based repayment. Your servicer will contact you during your six-month grace period to select a repayment option. You should select your repayment option before your first payment is due.

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Is there a repayment calculator or estimator that I can use?
There is a repayment calculator available at StudentLoans.gov.

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Are there loan forgiveness options available?
There are loan forgiveness options available at StudentAid.ed.gov.

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Military Education Benefits

How do I apply for military benefits?
To begin the process of applying for eligible military education benefits, visit the Veterans Affairs website.

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What else do I need in addition to my Education Benefits Application?
Visit Vets.gov to complete the Education Benefits Application, which generates a request for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Once approved for benefits, the VA will mail the COE to you within 6-8 weeks from submitting the application. You will need to provide Northwestern with your updated COE.

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What is the national maximum amount per academic year for private schools?
The Post 9/11 GI Bill payment rates are determined at the beginning of each military academic year on August 1st. The 2018-2019 tuition and fee payments can be found on the Education and Training page of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

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What is the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP)?
The Yellow Ribbon program allows degree-granting private colleges and universities in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the annual maximum cap for the resident tuition and fees at public institutions. Veterans who are utilizing Post-9/11 GI Benefits and who are entitled to 100% of their benefit may be eligible. To participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, you must be using Post-9/11 GI benefits at 100% eligibility, not on active duty, and not a military spouse. There are a limited number of Yellow Ribbon awards available. Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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What is the difference between active and non-active duty?
Active duty service members serve the military full time and are not currently eligible for the YRP. Non-active duty service members are not currently serving the military in any capacity and are eligible for YRP at 100 percent per COE.

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What are the eligibility factors for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
You are potentially eligible if you have at least 90 days of aggregate active-duty service after September 10, 2001, and are still on active duty, or if you are an honorably discharged veteran or were discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. Learn more about the Post-9/11 GI Bill at benefits.va.gov.

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What is the current Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)?
The MHA rates are determined at the beginning of each military academic year on August 1st. The 2018-2019 MHA rate can be found on the Post-9/11 GI Bill page of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

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Who can I contact at Northwestern for questions about using Military Education Benefits?
For questions regarding Military Education Benefits at Northwestern, contact Charmaine Nicholson by email at c-nicholson@northwestern.edu or by phone at 847-491-8465.

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