There are a number of resources available online to student loan borrowers designed to help navigate their debt, evaluate their options so that they can make educated borrowing decisions, and establish realistic repayment plans for the future. We have outlined some of them below.
Financial Awareness Counseling
Financial Awareness Counseling provides tools and information to help understand financial aid and help in managing finances. In addition to helping students with budgeting and credit information, the counseling tool also helps student loan borrowers calculate estimated monthly repayment amounts under various repayment plans, the pros and cons of loan consolidation and loan forgiveness, deferments, and forbearance information.
When you first borrowed federal student loans, you were required to complete online entrance counseling before your loans could be disbursed. Financial awareness counseling is part of an ongoing effort to help you "put all the pieces together" by providing tools and information while you are attending school to assist you in managing your finances. Topics covered in this step by step guide include:
- Your current loan balance
- How to plan ahead, spend wisely and borrow less
- Tax benefits for education
- Protecting your credit and identity
- Estimated monthly repayment amounts under various repayment plans
- Pros and cons of loan consolidation
- Loan forgiveness, deferments, and forbearance
To begin your online financial awareness counseling session, sign in to the Federal Student Aid website. The process will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Please note that you must complete the entire session once you begin. If you close your browser before receiving confirmation of successful completion of the session and then return later, you will need to start over from the beginning. Once you have successfully completed the session, your To Do List in CAESAR will be updated to “Completed!” within 5 business days.
Your tuition & fees and the following resources in CAESAR may be helpful in completing the session:
- Northwestern University Customer Account at Account and Payments > View My Account.
- Estimate of Costs link at Financial Aid > Accept/Decline Financial Aid.
- Loan totals at Financial Aid > View NU Financial Aid History. Click on the third tab "Debt Summ - Loan Type" at the top of the page. Note: When you sign in to the financial counseling tool, your total federal student loan debt from all institutions will be retrieved from the National Student Loan Data System(NSLDS). You may add any loans that are not yet reflected in NSLDS.
National Student Loan Data System
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid.The database provides a list of all federal loans received by a student and will also provide the name and contact information of the student's federal loan servicer. When visiting the website, select "Financial Aid Review."
The U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid
Federal Student Aid's website was designed to help students in finding the right repayment plans for their federal student loans. This website also provides information on loan consolidation, loan forgiveness and cancellation information and repayment calculators to help estimate payment amounts.If you have any questions, please contact your Financial Aid Office.