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NU Loan Summary

The Northwestern University Loan (NU Loan) is offered in financial aid packages for U.S. and international students and parents of undergraduate students.

The chart below provides a partial list of the terms and conditions for the NU Loan:

  • General Information
  • Interest Rates
  • Repayment Information
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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

Northwestern University Loan (NU Loan) Info NU Loan Approval Process Co-makers and Credit Personal Info Required on the NU Loan Application

Financial Aid and Loan Info Required on the NU Loan Application

Northwestern University Loan (NU Loan) Info
1. What is the NU Loan?
The NU Loan is a low interest rate educational financing option with flexible repayment terms. The NU Loan approval rate is extremely high. There is no application fee and most NU Loans do not have an origination fee. NU Loans for U. S. students have no origination fee, and loans for international students have origination fees of 0 - 5%, depending upon the program. Students are the primary borrowers for graduate and professional student NU Loans and international undergraduate student NU Loans. Parents or legal guardians are the primary borrowers for undergraduate parent NU Loans. NU Loan funds disburse directly to the student's tuition and fees account.

The NU Loan is a not-for-profit program that is funded privately by the University and administered by the Northwestern University Student Loan Office. The Northwestern University Student Loan Office services the NU Loan from application through repayment until it is paid in full. See also NU Loan General Information.
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2. Are there limits to the amounts I may borrow?
Annual and aggregate limits apply.  The limits are based upon your program of study and were established to set parameters for what is determined to be a reasonable amount to borrow to complete your education at Northwestern.

 NU Loan Approval Process
1. How does the approval process work?
The conditional approval decision will take up to 24 hours. If additional information is needed in order to approve your loan someone from the Student Loan Office will contact you by the end of the next business day. In that situation, your final decision will take longer than 24 hours.

Final approval occurs when the Financial Aid Office has approved the amount you applied for on your loan application and the Student Loan Office has verified loan information. Once your loan has reached a status of final approval, promissory notes will be sent to the co-maker or the student if s/he has been approved without a co-maker.

The proceeds of the loan cannot be disbursed until the beginning of the first term covered by the loan regardless of when your loan was approved. The disbursement schedule for your loan is printed on your Financial Aid Award Notice.
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2. Will my loan application be approved in time?
Follow these steps to make sure your loan funds are available at the beginning of the term:

  • Apply online.
  • Submit your application early.
  • Respond promptly to calls or emails about your NU Loan application. Although the NU Loan approval rate is very high, we may need additional information for some applications.

If you follow the above guidelines there should be sufficient time for approval of your loans and disbursement of funds to your tuition and fees account by the first day of the term. If you have indicated on your Financial Aid award notice that you have accepted the loan, an anticipated loan credit for the loan will appear on your fall term invoice.
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Co-makers and Credit
1. What is a co-maker?
A co-maker is someone who shares equally in the responsibility of repaying the loan.

  • For the undergraduate parent NU Loan, the co-maker is usually the parent or guardian. If the co-maker is NOT the parent or guardian, we prefer that the co-maker is someone the student has known for at least 5 years and has a work history of 2 or more years. The co-maker is expected to meet the total responsibility of repayment of the loan.  
  • Be aware that in the event that the co-maker defaults, the student will become responsible for repayment of the loan.
  • For student loans, the student is expected to meet the total responsibility for repayment of the loan. In the event that the student defaults, the co-maker will assume total responsibility for repayment of the debt.
  • The student's spouse or domestic partner may not be a co-maker on the student's loan.

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2. What is a domestic partner and can my domestic partner be a co-maker on my loan?
A domestic partner is defined as an individual who is jointly responsible, with the student, for their common welfare and shares financial obligations with the student. A student's domestic partner may not be a co-maker on the student's loan.
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3. As the parent of an undergraduate applying for an NU Loan - Parent, why am I considered a co-maker if I'm the primary borrower?
Although the parent or legal guardian is the primary borrower for an undergraduate NU Loan - Parent and NU Loan - Parent Supplemental, the student is receiving the financial benefit of the loan. All proceeds are applied to the student's tuition and fees account. The parents or legal guardians are accepting responsibility for making the payments.
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4. Do I need one or two co-makers?
You can apply for the NU Loan using one or two co-makers. If your primary co-maker does not wish to be solely responsible as co-maker on your loan, you may want to add a second co-maker to the loan. Two co-makers share the co-maker responsibility of the loan, one as a primary co-maker, one as a secondary co-maker.
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5. Will I be approved on my own (U.S. graduate and professional students only)?
Certain graduate and professional students may apply for the NU Loan without a co-maker. In order to be approved for a NU Loan without a co-maker, you need to have a positive credit history. The amount of time you have had credit, the amount of credit you have, your payment history, and the amount of or existence of such things as revolving credit accounts, delinquencies, defaults, bankruptcies, liens, etc. are taken into account. If, for whatever reason, you are not approved based on your credit alone, you will be able to apply with a co-maker. The Student Loan Office will contact you if this is necessary.
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6. What is credit history? How do I know if I'm credit worthy?
Your credit history is a record of your past and present indebtedness. This information is obtained from one or more national credit bureaus. Your credit report may include information about your previous credit performance, current level of indebtedness, length of credit history, types of credit in use, pursuit of new credit, accounts in collection, defaults, bankruptcies, liens, judgments, charge-offs, and other applicable information. A creditworthy person is one who has a positive credit history and meets other requirements as determined by the lending institution. You can obtain a copy of your credit report from Trans Union at www.transunion.com or 800-888-4213, Experian at www.experian.com or 888-Experian (888-397-3742), Equifax at www.equifax.com or 800-685-1111.
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Personal Info Required on the NU Loan Application
1. Social Security Number?
If you are a US citizen or permanent resident you are required to have a United States Social Security number. If you are an international student who is not a US citizen or a permanent resident, you are assigned a temporary number by the Registrar's Office to use until you obtain a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
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2. What if I don't have an SSN, an official U.S. Social Security Number?
International students who do not already have a valid Social Security number are assigned a temporary number by the Northwestern University Registrar's Office. This number is similar in format to a Social Security number but starts with the digits '000' or '99'. You may apply for a loan with the temporary number. However, in order to disburse your loan funds, the Student Loan Office must have your official U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or proof of application for either the SSN or ITIN will be adequate.

If you have a SSN or ITIN, be sure to provide it to the Student Loan Office. Complete the following steps:

  • Go to the University Registrar's office (633 Clark St, 1st floor, room 621) or your school's Registrar with your Social Security or ITIN card and a photo ID (NU WildCARD is NOT acceptable).
  • If you also receive a stipend check from Northwestern University, go to the Payroll office (720 University Pl., 2nd floor) with your Social Security or ITIN card and a photo ID (NU WildCARD is NOT acceptable).
  • Complete form W-9S which will be sent to you by the Student Loan Office and forward it to the Student Loan Office at 555 Clark St. - 3rd floor, Evanston, IL 60208 , or via fax to 847-491-2537.

If you are not eligible for a Social Security card:

  • Submit an Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (Form W-7) to the Internal Revenue Service indicating that you are seeking an ITIN for purposes of reporting educational loan interest paid.
  • Forward a copy of the completed Form W-7 to the Student Loan Office at 555 Clark St. - 3rd floor, Evanston, IL 60208 , or via fax to 847-491-2537.
    If you are receiving a stipend, please also forward a copy of Form W-7 to Payroll.

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3. Why do I have to use my Northwestern University email address?
Your Northwestern University email address is the official form of communication between you and the university.
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4. What if I don't know or can't find my NU email address?
Your NU email address is assigned to you either once you apply or once the school receives your enrollment deposit. If you do not know or remember your NU email address you can look it up in Northwestern's online directory. See also E-Mail at Northwestern.
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5. What do I do if my official NU email address doesn't end in @northwestern.edu or @u.northwestern.edu or @nlaw.northwestern.edu?
If your official Northwestern University email address has a prefix between the @ and northwestern.edu, such as law in yourname@law.northwestern.edu or kellogg in yourname@kellogg.northwestern.edu, ignore the prefix when entering your email address on the loan application. Just enter the portion of your email address which is to the left of the @, yourname in the examples. Your email will get routed to your correct mailbox without the prefix.
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6. I do not currently reside in the U.S. What should I enter for state of legal residence?
Enter Illinois (IL) because you will be living here while attending school.
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7. How should I enter an international address?
Please enter mailing addresses in the same format that you would like to have them appear on an envelope. The country will be printed on the last line of the address on the envelope, although it is specified first on the loan application. Your promissory notes will be mailed to you, so it is important that the postal service is able to route and deliver your mail based on the address you enter on you loan applications.

General format for entry of international addresses:
COUNTRY
Street address, post office box number, and possibly town
City or town name, province, state, or county, and postal code

Example
Number
Mailing Address Enter As
1 8-6-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tokyo 170-3293
JAPAN
JAPAN
8-6-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tokyo 170-3293
2 2045 Royal Road
London WIP 6HQ
UNITED KINGDOM
UNITED KINGDOM
2045 Royal Road
London WIP 6HQ
3 Urion 30
Col. Atlatilco
02860 MEXICO, D.F.
MEXICO
MEXICO
Urion 30
Col. Atlatilco
02860 MEXICO, D.F.

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8. What is included in gross income?
Your gross annual income is the total amount of your income before taxes, insurance, and other benefits, etc. are deducted. Please include income from all sources such as salary, interest, dividends, rental income, royalties, social security, pension, commission, child support, etc.
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9. What is a reference?
A reference is someone you have known for at least 5 years who will know your whereabouts if we need to contact you in the future. Each reference must have a separate address and phone number. We prefer a reference with a US address. If you are an international student and cannot provide a reference with a US address, you may provide a reference with an international address.
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10. What is a US  Visa Number?

The US Visa Number is a 14 digit alpha/numeric identifier that is assigned to you by the US Department of State. It can be found on your passport document and is listed as the control number. In most instances it starts with a 2, followed by a series of numbers and letters. Please make sure you enter O (capital O) and 0 (zero) correctly. Zero is shown as a character with a line through it.

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Financial Aid and Loan Info Required on the NU Loan Application
1. When will the Financial Aid Office issue my Award Notice? 

Your Financial Aid Office sends the financial aid award notice to you after your application for financial aid has been processed.

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2. What if I didn't receive an Award Notice?
If you have not received a Financial Aid award or if you have questions about your financial aid, contact your Financial Aid Office.
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3. Where do I find my NU Loan Amount?
You can find the amount of NU Loan funds you were awarded in the Financial Aid Offer section of your Financial Aid Award Notice. The NU Loan amount is highlighted on the Sample Award Letter. On your loan application, you may apply for less than you were awarded. However, if you would like to apply for more than you were awarded, you must contact your Financial Aid Office for approval.
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4. What is the NU Loan - Parent?
The NU Loan - Parent is available to parents and legal guardians of undergraduates for borrowing funds up to the cost of tuition. A student does not need to be eligible for financial aid for his/her parents to borrow NU Loan - Parent funds. Parents may borrow additional funds with the NU Loan - Parent Supplemental. Contact your Financial Aid Office with any questions.
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5. What is the NU Loan - Parent Supplemental?
The NU Loan - Parent Supplemental is available to parents and legal guardians of undergraduates who borrow the full cost of tuition with the NU Loan - Parent and wish to borrow additional funds above the cost of tuition. NU Loan - Parent Supplemental funds can be borrowed at a slightly higher interest rate than NU Loan - Parent funds. The NU Loan - Parent Supplemental Amount will not be shown on the Financial Aid award notice since undergraduate aid is packaged only up to the cost of tuition. Contact your Financial Aid Office with any questions.
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6. What is the Optional NU Loan?
The Optional NU Loan is available to students in certain schools/programs. If available, Optional NU Loan funds can be borrowed, at a slightly higher interest rate than Need-based NU Loan funds, to replace a portion of the contribution that is expected of you (i.e. family contribution plus other contribution). The Optional NU Loan amount for which you are allowed to apply may or may not be listed in the Financial Aid Offer section of your award notice. If shown, the NU Loan - Optional amount can be found in the Eligibility section of your award notice under Estimate of Resources and Total Resources. Contact your Financial Aid Office with any questions.
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7. What do you mean by Other Educational Loans Expected for this academic year?
Other educational loans that you expect to borrow for this academic year may include private or alternative loans from lenders other than Northwestern University, such as CitiAssist, Access, Signature, etc. Do not include any federal loans or the NU Loan in this amount.
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8. What do you mean by All Other Prior Educational Loans from Northwestern?

Prior educational loans from Northwestern include:

  • Prior NU Loans is the total amount of NU Loans (University Parent-Student Loan, University Alternative Loan, Kellogg International Loan, etc.) you have borrowed in prior years, not including this application.NU Loans for prior years were known as the:
    • University Parent-Student Loan (UPSL, PUPSL)
    • Graduate/Professional Alternative Loan (GPAL)
    • University Loan (Need-based and Optional, SUPSL)
    • University Loan for Medical School (MUPSL)
    • University Alternative Loan (Kellogg International)
  • Prior Federal and Other Loans from NU is the total amount of Federal loans and Alternative (Other) loans, not including the NU Loan, you have borrowed while attending Northwestern University as both an undergraduate and graduate student. Federal loans include Stafford, Perkins, and Consolidation loans. Alternative (Other) loans are also known as private loans and include loans such as CitiAssist, Signature, and Access.

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9. What do you mean by All Other Prior Educational Loans from Other Schools?
All Other Loans is the total amount of Federal loans, including Stafford, Perkins, Consolidation loans, and private or alternative loans, such as CitiAssist, Signature, Access, etc., you have borrowed while attending schools other than Northwestern University.
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10. How do I contact my Financial Aid Office?
Contact your school or department's Office of Financial Aid.
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