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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 eligibility, which includes any grants, scholarships or loan assistance, is established on an individual basis and depends upon the cost of attendance, the expected family contribution and a student's program. 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 follow up with you via your Northwestern email account if we need any additional information. Then we will determine your aid eligibility.
  3. Accept or decline loan assistance offered to you

    You will receive a notification email to your Northwestern University email account 4-6 weeks after completing your application. You must then review your package and accept or decline loan assistance via CAESAR.

  4. Receive your aid disbursement

    If you are eligible for financial aid, funds are paid out (a.k.a. disbursed) directly to your Northwestern student account. This is the same account where tuition and other fees are billed. Financial Aid will be applied to any charges for the academic term.  Learn more about how financial aid is applied to your  tuition bill.
  5. Continue to meet aid requirements while enrolled

    Students receiving financial aid must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in their program of study. Additionally, if you change your enrollment or withdraw from a term or if you receive outside aid that is not reflected on your financial aid package, you must inform our office.
  6. Reapply for aid every year

    Students receiving financial aid must reapply for aid 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.
  7. Begin loan repayment

    Most students are not required to begin repaying loans until after they drop below half-time, graduate or separate from the university. See the Repayment page for more information about this process.