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Northwestern University

Overview of the Aid Process

Navigating the financial aid and loan process can be overwhelming. We are here to help. Below you'll find a brief overview of the financial aid and loan process. Please contact us with questions.

  1. Learn how aid is determined

    A student's financial aid award is established on an individual basis and depends upon the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution. Learn more about how aid is determined.
  2. Apply for aid

    See Application Steps for specific directions and information. You can also see Resources by Program for a timeline and due dates. Our office will process your application and determine aid eligibility.
  3. Accept or decline award

    You will receive an award notification letter a few weeks after completing your application. You must then review your award and accept or decline the offer via CAESAR.
  4. Award money is disbursed to eligible students

    If eligible for financial aid or loans, funds are paid out (or disbursed) to your Northwestern account or sent directly to you.
  5. Reapply for aid every year

    Students receiving federal aid must fill out a new FAFSA each year they are seeking financial assistance. Non-federal loans may have similar requirements. Look out for email notifications from your lender and promptly take action.
  6. Repayment begins

    Most students are not required to begin repaying loans until after graduation. See the Repayment page for more information about this process.
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