Loan Options

Money not covered by scholarships or grants can be obtained through various loans; however, unlike grants and scholarships, a 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).

Types of Loans

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.

Traditional Undergraduate

The Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is a non-need based low-interest loan specifically for parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school.

Traditional & Adult Undergraduate

This Federal Direct Subsidized 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.

Undergraduate & Graduate

This Federal Direct Unsubsidized 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.

Lender-sponsored private loans

Private loans are an option that some families use to help pay for college. Due to strict credit policies, students should expect to need a cosigner.

Northwestern has a preferred lender list that was developed from these criteria:

  • The desire of the lender to assist borrowers from excessive borrowing or facing default.
  • The ability to demonstrate the stability of their private loan program into the future.
  • Provide exceptional levels of customer service and offer current technological opportunities for easy application.
  • A history of familiarity with both our institution and our borrowers (name recognition).

Students are free to select any lender for their private loan needs, and Northwestern will work diligently with any lender chosen. There is no penalty for choosing a lender outside of the preferred list.

Review Lender-sponsored private loans at Fast Choice.

Information for Direct Loan Borrowers
Exit Counseling

If you have completed your education at Northwestern and have borrowed a Direct Loan (Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans or Perkins Loan) while attending Northwestern, you need to do exit counseling for that loan. You can find the Exit Counseling on You will need to log in with your FSA ID, and going under ‘Loan Repayment’ and then clicking on ‘Loan Exit Counseling’. Once you have completed the online exit counseling we will receive email notification that you have completed the process.

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