Regular Decision Application Instructions

Follow the steps below to apply for financial aid. Once all materials are received, our Financial Aid Committee will review your application to determine your aid eligibility. You will be notified of your aid package shortly after your admission decision. For more information on how we determine aid eligibility, see the Eligibility & Policies section. If you wish only to apply for federal aid, you just need to complete and submit the FAFSA.

TASK DATE DUE INSTRUCTIONS
Complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)* February 15
  • The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Visit the FAFSA website and complete the application. Northwestern’s federal school code is 001739.
  • Once processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Correct any inaccurate or missing information on the FAFSA website.
  • Those able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA are strongly encouraged to do so.
Complete College Scholarship Service (CSS Profile) February 15
  • The CSS Profile helps determine your eligibility for institutional aid.
  • Visit the College Board website, register, and complete the Profile. Northwestern’s CSS code is 1565.
  • Once processed, you will receive a Data Confirmation Report. Any corrections must be submitted directly to our office.
Submit Tax Materials  March 5
  • After completing the CSS Profile, the College Board will provide instructions for submitting the custodial parents’ and the student’s federal tax returns and W-2s.
  • These signed forms must be mailed to the College Board’s Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC), not the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid.
  • Those not required to file federal tax returns should complete the appropriate Non-Tax Filer's Statement on the IDOC site and send a written explanation of your circumstances to our office.
Submit Noncustodial Profile Application (necessary if your biological parents are divorced, separated or never married) March 5
  • If your biological parents are divorced or separated, your noncustodial parent will need to complete a Profile application.
  • The College Board will provide instructions on how to complete the form online. Alternatively, your noncustodial parent can download the Noncustodial Profile Application and mail it our office.
  • If you have no contact with your noncustodial parent, contact our office.
Respond to Award Letter ASAP
  • You will receive your financial aid decision shortly after your admission decision.
  • Respond to your financial aid award letter online via CAESAR even if you are going to appeal the decision (see Guide to CAESAR for instructions). This allows us to keep track of our committed funds so we know what funds are still available.

Your Award Package

*If you wish only to apply for federal aid, you just need to complete and submit the FAFSA.

You will receive your financial aid decision shortly after your admission decision. If you have demonstrated institutional financial need, your financial aid package may include a combination of scholarship or grant assistance, student loans, and student employment.

  • If you have been offered a loan, you will receive loan information in June with instructions on how to apply for it.
  • If you would like to appeal an aid decision, see Appeal an Aid Decision for instructions.