Undergraduate Financial Aid

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid provides counseling and financial support needed to obtain a Northwestern education. The Office administers the financial aid for Evanston undergraduate students. This includes federal, state, institutional aid as well as processing of outside scholarships. The Financial Aid Office has committed staff who are here to help you. To get started, be sure to check out these questions and answers below.

There are so many acronyms and terms that I’m confused by, like EFC or COA. Where can I go to get basic information?
I’m trying to estimate my quarterly bill but don’t know where to start?

The Financial Aid Billing Worksheet is interactive and allows you to plug in your award letter details to estimate your quarterly invoice.

I am an only child in a single parent household with limited income. Where can I go to find out what my financial aid package might look like this year?

If you are a prospective student, you should consider visiting the net price calculator website for an estimate of your financial aid eligibility. Review this page on aid package basics  to gain a better understanding of how your family circumstances impact your financial aid eligibility. You can also contact the Financial Aid Office directly to discuss your unique circumstances.

I received a number of external scholarships but am not sure how they will impact my financial aid award.

Visit this link to see exactly how external scholarships will impact your financial aid package.

What is work-study?

Federal work-study helps students find employment to meet educational costs. For more information, visit this link.

What is the difference between a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan?

There are a number of differences between the two, but at a minimum, subsidized loans do not accrue interest during at least half-time enrollment, but unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest upon disbursement. For more details, visit the Financial Aid Office website for information on the various educational loan programs.

My mom just lost her job and she’s not going to be able to pay my tuition bill next quarter. What should I do?

If a family has new or additional information regarding their financial circumstances, they should contact the Financial Aid Office. Your special circumstances will need to be outlined in writing to the Financial Aid Committee using the Financial Aid Special Circumstances Review Request with any supporting documentation as outlined on the application. Information about the financial aid special circumstances review process can be found here.

Is financial aid available over the summer?
Is my financial aid guaranteed for all four years?

Northwestern’s financial aid program is based upon financial need so students must reapply for assistance each year. However, Northwestern is committed to meeting demonstrated need each year, and in all likelihood a student’s financial aid will increase over the course of the four years.

How do I reapply for financial aid?

You will need to submit application materials to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid every year by May 1. You can track your application status on your CAESAR To Do List. Visit the Undergraduate Financial Aid Website for additional application instructions. 

Does financial aid cover my books?

When the Financial Aid Office determines your financial aid eligibility, they use estimated costs for the academic year, which includes an allotment for books and supplies. If your financial aid exceeds your billable charges, you may be eligible for a financial aid refund, which can be used toward your other expenses, such as your books. By using the estimated billing worksheet, you will be able to see if you are eligible to receive a refund.

I would like to live in a single. Will financial aid cover the costs?

Financial aid is based upon the weighted average of a double room on campus and a full meal plan. If you choose to live in a single, it will be up to you to handle the additional costs. If you require special accommodations or would like to discuss alternative financing options to help with the additional cost, you should contact the Financial Aid Office.

Must I choose the full meal plan?

No, many students choose the fourteen meal plan which allows their financial aid to help with other costs. Aid is not adjusted if you choose a lower cost meal plan or are in a lower cost room; neither is it adjusted upwards.

Will my aid be adjusted if I live off campus?

Financial aid is based upon the weighted average of a double room on campus and a full meal plan. This same budget is used for students living off-campus, regardless of their actual costs. Students living at home with their parents or other family (commuters) have a lower room and board allowance. The Financial Aid Office has a page dedicated to explaining the impact of financial aid for students living off-campus as well as some important considerations before you finalize your plans.

Does Northwestern have a payment plan for tuition?

Yes, there is a payment plan called 9PAY which allows your family to make 9 monthly payments rather than 3 quarterly payments. Visit the Student Financial Services website for additional information and application instructions.

What happens if I need to drop a class? Is my aid adjusted?

Depending of the timing of the drop, your aid may need to be adjusted. Consult with a financial aid counselor and be sure to review enrollment requirements for financial aid.

How do I accept my financial aid?

CAESAR > Main Menu > Student Financial Services > Accept/Decline Financial Aid

If you have already accepted/declined your aid but wish to change your decision, call the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid at 847-491-7400 or email us at undergradaid@u.northwestern.edu.

There is a great deal of information available at the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid website.