Skip to main content
Northwestern University



NU Loan approval process:

Co-makers and credit:

Personal info required on the NU Loan application:

Financial Aid and loan info required on the Northwestern Loan application:


What is the Northwestern Loan?

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

The Northwestern Loan is a not-for-profit program that is funded privately by the University and administered by the Northwestern University Student Finance. Student Finance services the Northwestern Loan from application through repayment until it is paid in full. See also Northwestern Loan General Information.

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.

Back to top

Northwestern Loan Approval Process

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 Student Finance 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 Student Finance 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.

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:

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.

Back to top

Co-makers and Credit

What is a co-maker?

A co-maker is someone who shares equally in the responsibility of repaying the loan.

As the parent of an undergraduate applying for an Northwestern Parent Loan - 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 Northwestern Loan - Parent and Northwestern 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.

Do I need one or two co-makers?

You can apply for the Northwestern 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.

Will I be approved on my own (US graduate and professional students only)?

Certain graduate and professional students may apply for the Northwestern Loan without a co-maker. In order to be approved for an Northwestern 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. Student Finance will contact you if this is necessary.

What is credit history? How do I know if I'm creditworthy?

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 or 800-888-4213, Experian at or 888-Experian (888-397-3742), Equifax at or 800-685-1111.

Back to top

Personal Info Required on the Northwestern Loan Application

What if I don't have an SSN, an official US Social Security Number?

International students who do not already have a valid Social Security number are assigned a temporary number. This number is similar in format to a Social Security number but starts with the digits '99'. You may apply for a loan with the temporary number.

If you have an SSN or ITIN, be sure to provide it to Student Finance. Complete the following steps:

If you are not eligible for a Social Security card:

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.

What if I don't know or can't find my Northwestern 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 Northwestern email address you can look it up in Northwestern's online directory. 

What do I do if my official Northwestern email address doesn't end in or or

If your official Northwestern email address has a prefix between the @ and, such as law in or kellogg in, 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.

I do not currently reside in the US. What should I enter for state of legal residence?

Enter Illinois (IL) because you will be living here while attending school.

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:

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

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.

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.

What is a US Visa Number?

The US Visa Number is a 14 digit alphanumeric 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.

Back to top

Financial Aid and Loan Info Required on the Northwestern Loan Application

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.

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.

Where do I find my Northwestern 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.

What is the Northwestern Loan - Parent?

The Northwestern 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 Northwestern Loan - Parent funds. Parents may borrow additional funds with the Northwestern Loan - Parent Supplemental (details below). Contact your Financial Aid Office with any questions.

What is the Northwestern Loan - Parent Supplemental

The Northwestern Loan - Parent Supplemental is available to parents and legal guardians of undergraduates who borrow the full cost of tuition with the Northwestern Loan - Parent and wish to borrow additional funds above the cost of tuition. Northwestern Loan - Parent Supplemental funds can be borrowed at a slightly higher interest rate than Northwestern Loan - Parent funds. The Northwestern 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.

What is the Optional Northwestern Loan?

The Optional Northwestern Loan is available to students in certain schools/programs. If available, Optional Northwestern Loan funds can be borrowed, at a slightly higher interest rate than Need-based Northwestern Loan funds, to replace a portion of the contribution that is expected of you (i.e. family contribution plus other contribution). The Optional Northwestern 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 Northwestern 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.

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 Northwestern Loan in this amount.

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 Northwestern Loans (University Parent-Student Loan, University Alternative Loan, Kellogg International Loan, etc.) you have borrowed in prior years, not including this application. Northwestern Loans for prior years were known as the:

Prior Federal and Other Loans from Northwestern is the total amount of Federal loans and Alternative (Other) loans, not including the Northwestern 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 Sallie Mae, Discover, and Wells Fargo.

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 Sallie Mae, Discover, Wells Fargo, etc., you have borrowed while attending schools other than Northwestern University.

How do I contact my Financial Aid Office?

Contact your school or department's Office of Financial Aid.

Back to top

Back to top