How to Apply for Financial Aid
You can apply for federal financial aid if you meet certain criteria established by the university and the federal government. You can view federal criteria on the Tuition and Financial Aid FAQ. We recommend that you read through the following information before you begin the financial aid process and that you apply for financial aid at the same time you apply to Counseling@Northwestern.
To be eligible to receive federal financial aid, you must be:
- admitted to Northwestern University and accept your admit offer;
- a citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
- enrolled at least half time (2 credits per quarter) during the entire loan period and;
- in good standing on prior federal loans. You can check the status of your prior federal loans on the National Student Loan Data System at nslds.ed.gov.
Apply for Federal Student Aid
To apply for federal loan programs, you must complete the 2016–17 FAFSA (if applying to the April or June 2017 cohort) or the 2017–18 FAFSA (if applying to September 2017, January 2018, April 2018, or June 2018 cohort), which can be found online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The school code for Northwestern University is 001739.
Your 2015 tax information is required to complete the Financial Information section of the 2016–17 and 2017–18 FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool may be used to transfer your federal tax return information to your FAFSA.
Upon completion of the FAFSA, students may be eligible for the following federal student loans:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Graduate students can receive up to $20,500 per academic year. The fixed interest rate is 5.31%. Interest accrues from the date of disbursement.
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan: This credit-based loan is used in addition to the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. It provides additional loan funds to cover tuition and Cost of Living expenses, up to the Cost of Attendance, per academic year. The fixed interest rate is 6.31%. Interest accrues from the date of disbursement.
Your Financial Aid Award Notice
Once you sign your Intent to Enroll form with Counseling@Northwestern and activate your Net ID, Student Financial Services will send an email award notice to your Northwestern University email address. This should happen approximately two weeks after your FAFSA is received.
Student loans can always be adjusted, reduced, or canceled by contacting Student Financial Services.
Review your additional To Do List requirements in CAESAR (the university’s online system for students).
At the start of each quarter, student loan funds are disbursed to Northwestern.
If you borrowed loans in excess of your tuition charges for cost of living (housing, books, transportation, etc.), you can set up direct deposit to receive your financial aid refund. You must request a refund each quarter, if eligible. Students must sign up for direct deposit and request a refund in CAESAR; see instructions below. Refunds take up to two business days to deposit into a student’s checking account.
To set up direct deposit in CAESAR, navigate to CAESAR > Student Financial Services > Set Up Direct Deposit.
To request a refund in CAESAR, navigate to CAESAR > Student Financial Services > Request a Refund.
You can learn more on the Tuition and Financial Aid FAQ. You can also download the Financial Aid Document and visit the Student Financial Services website for additional details about general financial aid and loan options.