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Summer Financial Aid & Scholarships

Students attending Northwestern-sponsored or affiliated summer programs are eligible to apply for assistance through Undergraduate Financial Aid. You may also be eligible for other scholarships through your study abroad program or outside organizations.

Northwestern-Sponsored Program Scholarships

If you will be attending a Northwestern-sponsored summer study abroad program, you are strongly encouraged to explore your program's scholarship opportunities. The Northwestern IPD, GESI, and Study Abroad offices offer scholarships for their own programs, which may be based on financial need and/or merit. Refer to your program's materials for details and application information.

Outside Scholarships & Funding

There are many opportunities to apply for outside scholarships and funding to help offset the cost of your summer program. These opportunities may be an especially good funding option for students attending unaffiliated summer programs, who do not qualify for other forms of aid through Northwestern. Summer scholarship deadlines tend to range from November to March, so start planning early! Visit the Outside Scholarships & Funding page for more information.

Undergraduate Financial Aid

Students participating in Northwestern-sponsored or affiliated summer study abroad programs are eligible to apply for summer scholarship assistance and/or loans through Northwestern. Students attending unaffiliated summer programs are not eligible to receive any form of summer assistance through Northwestern financial aid, including loans.

Since most program and outside scholarship deadlines are quite early, you are welcome to wait to apply for summer aid after you know about all of your other resources, since summer aid can typically be processed later than other forms of funding.

Eligibility & Application

To be eligible for consideration, current financial aid recipients should complete the Summer Aid Application, which is available on the financial aid office website in early spring each year. You should plan to apply no later than May 1 to have your application reviewed in time for the summer invoice on May 10.


Summer funding is limited. Priority for scholarship assistance is generally given to:

  • Upperclassmen
  • Students who are required to study abroad for their major/minor
  • Students who can only study abroad in the summer due to other academic requirements or constraints
  • Students who will graduate early (see below)

Students who can demonstrate that they applied for but did not receive outside funding may receive additional consideration.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

For students applying for summer aid, your family contribution (out-of-pocket costs) in the summer will be the same as it is for any other quarter on campus during the year -- in most cases, this is approximately one-third of the EFC on your financial aid award letter. For example, if your full-year EFC is $30,000, your EFC per quarter is $10,000, and your summer EFC would also be $10,000.

You can find your current EFC on your financial aid award letter in CAESAR > Student Financial Services > View Financial Aid > [Year] > Print Award Letter.

Northwestern Scholarship

Northwestern scholarship assistance is renewable for up to 12 quarters of enrollment. If you receive a summer scholarship from the financial aid office, it will mostly likely count toward this limit. This may mean that you have to plan to graduate early or take a future quarter off in order to graduate within 12 total quarters.

Program costs vary, but summer study abroad tends to be much less expensive than a regular quarter at Northwestern. Summer aid, like aid during the academic year, is need-based. Because costs are lower, the total amount of aid for which you would qualify is also lower in the summer; some students who receive Northwestern scholarship assistance during the academic year may not qualify during the summer. Using a quarter of your aid in the summer does not mean transferring the same dollar amount of your Northwestern scholarship to the summer term.

Rising juniors and seniors may petition to use a "future quarter" of aid, as long as they can demonstrate that they will still be able to graduate within 12 quarters. Current freshmen are generally not eligible to use a future quarter of aid for study abroad, but may be eligible to borrow loans, and are strongly encouraged to seek outside funding.


Students who do not wish or are not eligible to use a quarter of aid may still be eligible to borrow loans to help with summer study abroad costs. If you only borrow loans, summer would not count as a quarter of your aid eligibility. Loans for summer study abroad do not count toward the Debt Cap.

If you have any questions about your summer aid or loan eligibility, contact Krista Bethel.