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SPS Graduate Degree Programs

Below is an overview of the financial aid application process for students enrolled in a graduate degree program at the School of Professional Studies (SPS).

Students must be enrolled in at least two units per term to be eligible for federal student loans. If students drop a course in a term, federal student loans will most likely be returned to the lender.

It is the student's responsibility to contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid if they change their enrollment during an academic quarter.

If you will not be enrolled in more than one course per term, you are not eligible for federal student loans.  You may still be eligible for private loans to cover tuition, fees, and book expenses. If you wish to apply for a private loan, please complete the document in step two and alert our office that you are only applying for private student loan funding (a FAFSA will not be needed in this case). For more information about available private loans for students enrolled less-than-half-time, please visit the Student Financial Services website.

Students who wish to apply for financial aid for the summer 2021 term must complete the 2020-21 application requirements. Please note the final deadline to complete the 2020-21 FAFSA is June 30, 2021.

Students are encouraged to return all completed application materials by the deadline listed below based on their "first term of enrollment":

Deadlines

Deadlines based on first-term of enrollment
First Term of Enrollment Deadline
Fall 2020 July 10, 2020
Winter 2021 November 9, 2020
Spring 2021 February 8, 2021
Summer 2021 April 26, 2021

Importance of meeting deadlines

Meeting the financial aid application deadlines listed above ensures that students will receive their financial aid award notice, can complete all required loan documentation, and have their funds disburse by the first day of classes. Students who are admitted after the application deadline for their first term of enrollment are still eligible to apply for and receive financial aid, but they must submit their financial aid application materials within two weeks of when they were admitted.

Students who apply for financial aid after their deadline cannot be guaranteed that financial aid funds will disburse by the first day of class. Applications received after the deadline will be processed in the order in which they were received.

Financial aid applications may not be processed once a quarter has ended (in other words, students may not be eligible to receive funds for Fall quarter if they apply for those funds during the Winter quarter).

Application steps

  1. Complete the FAFSA
  2. Complete the University Aid Application
  3. Accept or decline your financial aid award via CAESAR

1. Complete the FAFSA

Deadline: At least two weeks before application deadline above

  • Visit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) website and complete the online form. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you will need to create an FSA ID before completing the FAFSA. This FSA ID will be used for many Department of Education websites.
  • Designate Northwestern as the recipient of the information; our federal school code is 001739. Any other Northwestern University codes (001740, school-specific codes beginning with an "E"), should not be used.
  • After the FAFSA is processed (allow two weeks), you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report) summarizing your information. Resolve any incorrect information via the FAFSA web site or by returning the corrected and signed SAR. If you do not receive your SAR within four weeks, or if you need to request a duplicate, call 800-433-3243.

Note: International students do not need to submit this form.

2. Complete the University Aid Application

Deadline: By the application deadline listed above

Students may access this document online via their To-Do list for the 2020-21 academic year in CAESAR on or after March 15, 2020. Your "To-Do List" can be reviewed in CAESAR through either the "Tasks" tile on the homepage, or by clicking on the "Financial Aid" tile from the homepage and then selecting "To-Do List" from the left-hand navigation. If you are unable to access this document via your To-Do list, please contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid.

Note: This is the only financial aid application form needed from international students.

3. Accept or decline your award package

Deadline: As soon as possible after you receive award notice

  • Once all materials are submitted, Northwestern will determine your financial aid eligibility and award package.
  • Next, our office will begin sending financial award decision emails on a rolling basis about 4-6 weeks after your file is complete.
  • Students must accept or decline this award via CAESAR. Learn more on how to accept or decline your award.

Students are encouraged to return all completed application materials by the deadline listed below based on their "first term of enrollment":

Deadlines

Deadlines based on first-term of enrollment
First Term of Enrollment Deadline
Fall 2021 July 15, 2021
Winter 2022 November 12, 2021
Spring 2022 February 11, 2022
Summer 2022 April 25, 2022

Importance of meeting deadlines

Meeting the financial aid application deadlines listed above ensures that students will receive their financial aid award notice, can complete all required loan documentation, and have their funds disburse by the first day of classes. Students who are admitted after the application deadline for their first term of enrollment are still eligible to apply for and receive financial aid, but they must submit their financial aid application materials within two weeks of when they were admitted.

Students who apply for financial aid after their deadline cannot be guaranteed that financial aid funds will disburse by the first day of class. Applications received after the deadline will be processed in the order in which they were received.

Financial aid applications may not be processed once a quarter has ended (in other words, students may not be eligible to receive funds for Fall quarter if they apply for those funds during the Winter quarter).

Application steps

  1. Complete the FAFSA
  2. Complete the University Aid Application
  3. Accept or decline your financial aid award via CAESAR

1. Complete the FAFSA

Deadline: At least two weeks before application deadline above

  • Visit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) website and complete the online 2021-22 form. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you will need to create an FSA ID before completing the FAFSA. This FSA ID will be used for many Department of Education websites.
  • Designate Northwestern as the recipient of the information; our federal school code is 001739. Any other Northwestern University codes (001740, school-specific codes beginning with an "E"), should not be used.
  • After the FAFSA is processed (allow two weeks), you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report) summarizing your information. Resolve any incorrect information via the FAFSA web site or by returning the corrected and signed SAR. If you do not receive your SAR within four weeks, or if you need to request a duplicate, call 800-433-3243.

International students who wish to apply for private student loan funding are not required to complete the FAFSA.

2. Complete the University Aid Application

Deadline: At least two weeks before application deadline above

Students may access this document online via their CAESAR To-Do list for the 2021-22 academic year after mid-March 2021, or within a week of when you were admitted, whichever is later. Your "To-Do List" can be reviewed in CAESAR through either the "Tasks" tile on the homepage, or by clicking on the "Financial Aid" tile from the homepage and then selecting "To-Do List" from the left-hand navigation. If you are unable to access this document via your To-Do list, please contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid.

The University Aid Application is the only financial aid application form needed from international students. Once the University Aid Application has been submitted, the FAFSA should be removed from your To-Do list within 2-3 business days. If it is not removed within that timeframe, please contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid.

3. Accept or decline your award package

Deadline: As soon as possible after you receive award notice

  • Once all materials are submitted, Northwestern will determine your financial aid eligibility and award package.
  • Next, our office will begin sending financial aid decision emails on a rolling basis about 4-6 weeks after your application materials have been submitted.
  • Students must then accept or decline their award in CAESAR. Learn more on how to accept or decline your award.