Applying for financial aid
Applying for financial aid can be confusing, even intimidating for some families. Our financial services staff will try to make it as understandable and easy as possible—please contact us with any questions or concerns you have.
Also, be patient. 100% of Northwestern students receive financial aid, so don’t make any decisions about where you’ll attend college until you’ve got all your information and can make a true comparison of real college costs.
The steps below will take you through the financial aid application process. (If you believe you have extenuating circumstances that may affect your financial aid eligibility, you may provide that information to the financial aid office for consideration. All appeals must be submitted in writing and will be reviewed by the financial aid director. Some circumstances may require you to file a Professional Judgment Request.) Again, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions.
*You can only use the data retrieval option if you filed your taxes electronically and if your marital status is unchanged since Jan. 1.
- Apply for admission to Northwestern College. You must be accepted for admission before you’re eligible for financial aid.
- File your taxes electronically as soon as possible after Jan. 1—both parents and student, if applicable.
- After filing your taxes, wait 2 weeks and then file the FAFSA electronically using the data retrieval option*, which pulls information directly from your tax forms into the FAFSA. (A helpful FAFSA tutorial video is available to walk you through each step.) Make sure all names and social security numbers are correct**. Include codes for the schools you're applying to; Northwestern’s FAFSA code is 001883.
- Once you receive your financial aid notification form, accept (or decline) each award on your MyNWC account as soon as possible. This will ensure your access to the limited funding available through federal, state and institutional financial aid programs—or release the monies for someone else if you decide not to attend NWC.
- All financial aid money will be disbursed and credited to a student's account once all required steps for each program are completed and aid is accepted as indicated in (4) above.
**Avoid making corrections or changes to the FAFSA after you've submitted it since each update increases your chance of being selected for verification, which will delay your financial aid package completion.
Once financial aid packages are awarded, a student maintains his/her eligibility each subsequent year, as long as he/she remains in good academic standing, files a FAFSA each year and maintains any specified criteria related to each aid program.
Financial aid instructions for international students