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Northwestern University

NU Loan

The Northwestern University Loan (NU Loan) is offered in financial aid packages for U.S. and international students and parents of undergraduate students. Students are encouraged to consider their federal aid eligibility before applying for the NU Loan.

Since these details vary by origination date and exact loan type, borrowers should refer to their promissory note for the exact terms and conditions for their loans.

For more information, please review our list of NU Loan FAQs.

Loan types: U.S. and international student loans, Undergraduate parent loans

Lender: Northwestern University

Servicer: Northwestern Student Loans Office

Borrower: Northwestern student, Parents of undergraduate students


  • Student Loans: U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have established satisfactory credit history may apply without a co-maker. All other students should apply with a creditworthy co-maker. A student's spouse or domestic partner may not apply as a co-maker. Co-makers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents (certain exceptions are granted for international students).
  • Undergraduate Parent Loans: The parent or guardian borrower has primary responsibility for payment. In the event the parent defaults, payment will be the responsibility of the student. The NU Loan provides separate applications for students and co-makers. The parent or guardian will apply as the co-maker.

Application process:

  • Students: Apply online (CAESAR  >  For Students  >  Financial Services  >  NU Loan Application  >  OWLS), or contact your Northwestern Loan Services Representative for a paper application.
  • Co-makers: Apply  online via OWLS  after receiving the  personal ID and password. The ID and password will be emailed after the student completes their application.  If the application cannot be completed online, click on the link below and print the paper application. If a paper application is submitted, processing will be delayed up to six weeks.

Promissory Note: Mailed to co-maker, if any, for signature upon approval of application. Student signature is also required. If no co-maker, note is mailed to student.

Application fee: None/ Insurance fee: None

Origination fee (deducted from each disbursement):

  • Loans for U.S. citizens and permanent residents: None
  • Undergraduate international students: 4%
  • Kellogg international student Option A loans: None
  • Kellogg international student Option B loans: 4%
  • Other international student loans: 5%

Loan disbursement: Applied to your student account each term per your award.

Limits: Annual and aggregate limits apply which are based upon program of study.

NU Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure

The NU Loan interest rate is variable and set annually on September 1 based on the cost of the not-for-profit program. The cap is per state of Illinois statute.

Recent rates

Borrower 2015-16 2016-17
Parent 4.50% 4.00%
Parent supplemental loan 5.00% 4.50%
U.S. student need-based loan 4.50% 4.00%
U.S. student optional loan 5.00% 4.50%
International student with U.S. co-maker 5.00% 4.50%
International student with international co-maker 5.50% 5.00%

Interest Accrual     

  • In school: Yes. Interest begins to accrue once the loan is disbursed.
  • In grace period: Currently at six months.
  • In forbearance: Yes
  • Capitalization: Yes, at the end of grace and forbearance periods.

Historical rates

Undergraduate, graduate and professional students' NU Loan rates

Year       Student (need based) Student (optional) Int'l Student - GPAL
2015-16 4.50% 5.00% 5.00%
2014-15 4.50% 5.00% 5.00%
2013-14 4.50% 5.00% 5.00%
2012-13 5.00% 5.50% 5.50%

Kellogg students' NU Loan rates

Year       Kellogg Student (need based) Kellogg Student (optional) Kellogg International Student - Option A Kellogg International Student - Option B
2015-16 4.50% 5.00% 5.00% 5.50%
2014-15 4.50% 5.00% 5.00% 5.50%
2013-14 4.50% 5.00% 5.00% 5.50%
2012-13 5.00% 5.50% 5.50% 6.00%

Grace period: Increases to 6 months for most NU Loans (Exception: Undergraduate parent loans have no grace period).

Repayment Period: Varies. May change due to minimum monthly amount.

Repayment period exceptions:

  • Physical Therapy students: 15 years
  • MD student loans originating in 2005 or later: 20 years
  • All others: 10 years

Payment Schedule: Provided in the exit packet. (Exceptions: The repayment schedule for the undergraduate parent loan is provided with the promissory note. Signature is required to acknowledge receipt of repayment schedule).

Repayment start date: Six months for most NU Loans. (Exception: Undergraduate parents must begin repayment within 45 days of initial disbursement of funds).

Prepayment: There is no penalty for early repayment. When you make your loan payment, specify that you wish it to be applied as a prepayment.

Minimum Payment: $100 per month

Late charge: 5% of monthly payment not to exceed $15

Report to credit bureau: No

Deferment: No

Forbearance: For economic hardship, monthly payments may be reduced for 6-month intervals for a period up to 3 years. Refer to your promissory note for details, and contact the Student Loan Office with questions and to apply. A financial statement is required. (Exceptions MD students can receive forbearance for 12-month intervals as long as they are in a residency or fellowship program).

Cancellation: No

Federal loan consolidation: No, the NU Loan is a private loan

Delinquency and default: Transfer billing to co-maker, transfer loan to collection agency, legal action

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