Apply for Financial Aid

Before you can apply for financial aid, you must first apply for admission and be accepted to University of Northwestern. Only admitted students can receive offers of financial aid.

Visit at any time to get your  Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).

Both students and parents need a FSA ID for electronically signing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to apply for federal student loans.

Financial aid is awarded based on the assumption that a student is enrolled for 15-18 traditional undergraduate credits. Students should contact the financial aid office if enrollment is different because this may impact financial aid eligibility. Students taking Undergraduate Paythways (UP) [online courses] should contact the financial aid office to find out how financial aid may be effected.

SPECIAL NOTE: For students planning to start at Northwestern in the Spring or Summer Semesters: Please complete Steps 1–4 as soon as you can in the academic year—ideally prior to your start of your semester. Northwestern can’t guarantee full funding with a later start in the academic year, but we will award all funding that is available to you.

All college aid is subject to available funding. Priority deadline is May 1.

Submit FAFSA Online (October–May)

University of Northwestern FAFSA Code: 002371

You will be able to complete the 2018/19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after October 1, 2017. You will use your 2016 tax information and your parents' 2016 tax information to complete the 18/19 FAFSA. 

The Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) is the federal application used to determine financial aid eligibility.

  • Students must file a FAFSA each year.
  • File as soon as possible after October 1 prior to the academic year you are applying for financial aid. 
  • Some financial aid funds are limited with funding going to the earliest eligible applicants.
  • Students can continue to receive financial aid each year as long as they continue to meet  federal, state and University of Northwestern financial aid eligibility requirements.
  • Separate applications are required for scholarships and loans.

Submitting the FAFSA

FAFSA on the Web – is easy with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. It provides students and parents the ability to auto-transfer their income tax information directly from the IRS  to the FAFSA. 

FAFSA  Information Resources:

Check the status or review the results of your processed FAFSA application by logging in to 

To be considered for federal financial aid, you must:

  • be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen of the United States with a valid Social Security Number (SSN).
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment.
  • be making Satisfactory Academic Progress as determined by the federal and UNW policies.
  • have financial need (except for Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans and Private Loans)
  • not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan .
  • be a Minnesota resident for state financial aid programs.
  • be registered with Selective Service** If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25;

Other requirements may apply. Contact the UNW Finanacial Aid Office for more information.

Selective Service Information

If you are a male who is at least 18 years old and born after December 31, 1959, you MUST be registered with Selective Service in order to receive Federal student aid. You may now register with Selective Services online.

After mid-November, and within one week after we have received all your documents and any questions have been resolved, you can expect to receive an award package in the mail with an offer of financial aid from UNW.

Reviewing Your Award Package

Your award package will include an award letter, which will list any financial aid for which you are eligible. It will also include instructions about authorizing your loans (if applicable). Assess your award package and determine whether you want to accept all of the financial aid you are offered, or portions of it.

Accepting Your Financial Aid

To accept your financial aid offer, please follow these steps:

1.  Log on to TheROCK

2.  Select the  "Finances" tab

3.  Select "Financial Aid Awards" link in upper-left page and choose Aid Year, and submit.

6.  After accepting terms, select "Accept Award Offer" tab to accept, change, or decline loans offered

6.  Important: If accepting your first Federal DL Loan (Sub and/or Unsub) at Northwestern, you must go to in with FSA ID, select and complete both "Complete Loan Counseling (Entrance)" and "Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)".

7. To Request a Direct Parent PLUS Loan, a parent must go to parent should log in with FSA ID. On the Home page select Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan then PLUS Application for Parents.   Parents applying for first PLUS loan for their student must also complete the Parent PLUS MPN by returning to Home page, select Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note), then PLUS MPN for Parent. 

NOTE: Access to theROCK is limited to students only and username and password are sent to students upon admission. Please contact us immediately to let us know if you make any changes to your housing, registration or FAFSA information. Awards are subject to change based on this information.

An educational loan is a long-term financing option that is repaid with interest after graduation. Terms and interest rates vary.

Your eligibility for loans is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you receive your award package, you will see a list of the loans for which you are eligible as well as the funds available per loan. You may choose to borrow all, some or none of the loan amount.

Types of Loans

Federal Perkins Loan

There are limited Federal Perkins Loan funds available to students with exceptional need. This loan has a 5% annual interest rate with a 10-year repayment period.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

This loan is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The federal government pays interest on this loan while the student is enrolled in school (at least half-time, pursuing a degree or certificate) and during a six month grace period after leaving in-school status. The fixed interest rate for the life of the loan is based on the date of the first disbursement.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

This loan is non-need based and the student borrower is responsible for the interest which accrues on the loan while enrolled and prior to repayment. The student may choose to make interest payments during the in-school period or capitalize the unpaid accrued interest when repayment begins.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Undergraduate Students

This loan is non-need based loan available to parents of dependant students. Repayment begins 6-8 weeks after the Spring disbursement.

Other Loans

Some families choose to use private loans to help pay for college. Various lenders offer private loans for students who need to borrow more than their Direct subsidized/unsubsidized loan amounts.

Private loan interest rates may be higher or lower than federal loans.  Private loan interest rates and terms are normally based on credit strength so applying with a credit-worthy co-signer is highly recommended.

Students/families pursuing private loans are encouraged to apply and compare rates and terms offered so they can make an informed decision regarding the best financing option for their particular situation.

Exit Counseling

If you have now completed your education here and have borrowed a Direct Loan (Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans or Perkins Loan) while attending University of Northwestern, you need to complete exit counseling for your  loans at Once you have completed the online exit counseling we will receive e-mail notification that you have completed the process.

Code of Conduct

Read the University of Northwestern Financial Aid Office Code of Conduct.