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Northwestern University

SPS Undergraduate Programs

When should I apply for financial aid?

Students should apply for financial aid once they have been admitted into the SPS Undergraduate program. Please see Application Steps for financial aid application deadlines according to your term of enrollment for specific dates.

Which forms are required in order to apply for financial aid?

• The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
• The University Aid Application

What should I do if I want financial aid for summer?

Students should contact us the at the beginning of spring quarter if they wish to receive financial aid for the following summer term. Some students will be required to submit new application documents.

How much is tuition for the SPS undergraduate program?

See the Tuition section for updated costs and fees.

How is financial need determined?

There are several components taken into consideration when determining a student's financial need. A student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined by information provided on the FAFSA. The EFC is then subtracted from the student's cost of attendance, which is an estimate of the expenses a student will incur during the academic year. The end result is the student's financial need.

How much of the costs will my financial aid cover?

The financial aid office typically offers students financial aid to cover tuition and books.

Are grants and scholarships available?

Federal and State grants are available to students who qualify for them based on their family contribution determined by the FAFSA. SPS students may also apply for SPS scholarships which are outlined on the SPS website. Additionally, students should look into outside sources such as scholarship search engines and local libraries regarding outside scholarship opportunities. You can also search for outside scholarships online at FinAid website.

When will my federal and state grant assistance disburse to my account?

Grant assistance is disbursed on the Monday or Tuesday following the end of the Add/Drop period, which is the second Saturday of the quarter.

What loans programs are available?

The Federal Stafford Loan program is available to students that are US citizens or permanent residents, enrolled at least half-time (two one-unit courses) and are not in default on any previous federal loans. The two loans within the Federal Stafford Loan program are the Subsidized Stafford Loan and the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

Subsidized Stafford Loan:

  • The government pays the interest while the student is in school
  • The subsidized Stafford loan has a maximum amount based on your year in school (Senior, Junior, etc).
  • Students go into repayment six months after graduation or dropping below half-time.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loan:

  • The interest accrues at a fixed rate of 6.8% while the student is in school. Students do have the option of paying the interest instead of allowing it to capitalize.
  • The unsubsidized Stafford loan has a maximum amount based on your year in school (Senior, Junior, etc).
  • Students go into repayment six months after graduation or dropping below half-time.

The Federal Perkins Loan program is available to students that are US citizens or permanent residents enrolled at least half-time (Two one-unit courses) and are not in default on any previous federal loan. Eligibility for the Federal Perkins loan program is based on the amount of funding available for the year and the demonstrated need of the applicant. The interest rate for the Perkins loan is fixed at 5.0%.

Private Student Loans are usually offered to students that are enrolled less than half-time (one (1) one-unit course). Private loans are also subject to lender credit approval. The interest rate is determined by the lender and interest begins accruing once the loan is disbursed to the student's account.

What kind of financial aid is available for International Students?

International students interested in financial aid are offered private student loans after completing the University Aid Application. Most lenders require a US co-signer for International student applicants. The interest on private student loans begins to accrue once the loan has been disbursed to the student's account. Students typically go into repayment six months after graduation.

What happens if I only enroll in one course?

Students that are enrolled in one course are not eligible for federal loans. The financial aid office offers students enrolled less than half-time private student loans which are subject to credit approval. Please contact the financial aid office if your enrollment differs from the information provided on your University Aid Application.

How many classes are required in order to qualify for federal loans?

Students must enroll in two full units in order to be eligible for federal loans. Please contact the financial aid office if your enrollment differs from the information provided on your University Aid Application.

I have an anticipated credit on my account. Can I receive those funds before classes start?

No. Students may not request a refund via CAESAR until the first day of class.

Classes have started but my funds have not yet disbursed. I need money for living expenses and books. What should I do?

If a student has completed all required documents and their term has officially started but their funds have not disbursed, they may come to the Office of Financial Aid with their Wild Card to request a cash advance. The maximum amount of cash advance per month varies per program. The cash advance will appear as a charge against the student's anticipated credit.

I accepted more loan assistance than I need. Can I reduce or cancel my loans?

Yes. Students who wish to reduce or cancel their loans can e-mail the Office of Financial Aid from their NU email account and request to reduce their loan assistance. Students must include their name and student ID number and state the loan program they wish to reduce or cancel. If they wish to reduce the loan and not completely cancel it, they should state the amount to which they want the loan reduced.

Am I able to request additional loan assistance than what I accepted?

If students rejected a portion of their loan assistance at the beginning of the year and decide later that they need those funds, they can request that the Office of Financial aid reinstates their originally offered loan amounts. Students may be required to complete additional loan applications or documents depending on the loan type. If students accepted 100% of the aid they were offered in their financial aid award, they are generally not eligible to receive additional funding unless they can document extenuating circumstances (i.e. medical bills not covered by insurance). For more information on requesting additional funding for extenuating circumstances, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

How will an outside scholarship affect my financial aid?

If a student has accepted 100% of their loan assistance, the Office of Financial Aid will be required to return an equal portion of their loan assistance to make room in the cost of attendance for the outside scholarship. If a student has declined a portion of their loan assistance equal to or greater than the amount of the scholarship, their other aid will not be affected.

Where should my outside scholarship check be sent?

Scholarship checks should be sent to the Office of Financial Aid at 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, Suite 629, Chicago, IL 60611.

Do I have to submit my parents' information with my applicatio

Only federally-dependent students are required to submit their parents' information with their application. Students are federally dependent if they answer no to all of the following questions:
  1. Are you over the age of 24 as of January 1 of this year (or last year if you are only applying for aid for winter/spring/summer)?
  2. Are you married?
  3. Do you have children for whom you provide 50% or more of their financial support?
  4. Do you have other dependents for whom you provide 50% or more of their financial support?
  5. Are you a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces?
  6. Are you currently on active duty in the United States Armed Forces?
  7. Are/were you an orphan or ward of the court?
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