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Northwestern Loan

The Northwestern University 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 Northwestern 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.

COVID: Please note that the Northwestern Student Loan is a private loan and not subject to the provisions of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief for federal student loans.

Northwestern Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure Loan types: U.S. and international student loans, Undergraduate parent loans

Lender: Northwestern University

Servicer: Northwestern University Student Finance while partnering with ECSI

Borrower: Northwestern student, Parents of undergraduate students

Status: Student must be full-time to be eligible to apply for the Northwestern Loan.


  • Student Loans: US 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 US 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 Northwestern Parent Loan provides separate applications for students and co-makers. The parent or guardian will apply as the co-maker.
Promissory Note: Will be emailed to co-maker, if any, for signature upon approval of application. Student signature is also required. If no co-maker, note is emailed to student.

Application fee: None/ Insurance fee: None

Origination fee (deducted from each disbursement):

  • Loans for US 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.

Northwestern Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure

The Northwestern 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 2023-24 2022-23
Parent 6.50% 4.50%
US student 6.50% 4.50%
International student with US co-maker 6.50% 4.50%
International student with international co-maker 6.50% 4.50%

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' Northwestern Loan rates

Year        Student Int'l Student - GPAL
2022-23 4.50% 4.50%
2021-22 4.50% 4.50%
2019-20 4.50% 4.50%
2018-19 4.50% 4.50%

Kellogg students' Northwestern Loan rates

Year       Kellogg Student Kellogg International Student - Option A Kellogg International Student - Option B
2022-23 4.50% 4.50% 4.50%
2021-22 4.50% 4.50% 4.50%
2019-20 4.50% 4.50% 4.50%
2018-19 4.50% 4.50% 4.50%

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

Repayment: To make a payment, see Payment Methods.  For questions regarding repayment, contact ECSI.  

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 process. (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 ECSI with questions and to apply. A financial statement is required. (Exception: 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