Financial Aid Refunds

If the amount of aid you receive is greater than the amount billed to you by the University, you will have a credit balance on your student account, indicated by a negative sign (-) on your balance. You can view your current account balance and activity on (CAESAR > Main Menu> Student Center > Financial Services > View My Account (Real-Time, Daily Activity).)

You may request a refund of your financial aid as early as the first day of classes to use toward your non-billed expenses. Financial aid refunds are not available before the start of the term under any circumstance.

  • Refunds
  • Anticipated Aid
  • Cash Advances
  • Emergency loans

Financial Aid Refunds

If you have a credit balance on your student account, you can request a refund through CAESAR.

In order for you to request a refund, all of your financial aid requirements must be complete, and all of your aid must be fully processed – this means that none of your aid should be listed as “Anticipated Aid” (see below). 

Enrolling in direct deposit through CAESAR (separate from payroll/work-study direct deposit) will enable your refund to be processed more quickly.

Anticipated Aid

Financial aid may be listed on your student account as “anticipated aid” until the funds are actually received. Your adjusted balance (i.e., amount due) includes your anticipated financial aid funds. 

If classes for the term have commenced and you have a loan that has not disbursed to your student account, make sure you complete the required steps so the loan(s) can be processed:

  • Accept your loan: Make sure you have accepted your loan in (CAESAR > Main Menu > Student Financial Services > Accept/Decline Financial Aid). Select the appropriate year, and accept the loan(s) you wish to borrow.
  • Complete application/loan requirements: Check your CAESAR To-Do List for outstanding loan or application requirements, and complete any missing items as soon as possible.

Anticipated credits for loans will be removed from your account if you fail to complete all necessary requirements, and this may result in a balance due to the University.  If you have accepted your loan and completed all of your requirements but your loan is still not disbursing, please call our office to speak with a financial aid counselor.

Cash Advances

If any of your financial aid is still listed as “Anticipated Aid” in your account, you may not be able to request your refund through CAESAR. However, you may still be able to access a portion of your financial aid refund by coming to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid to request a cash advance. Advances can be issued same-day for up to $500 in cash, or via direct deposit for up to $1,000 (1-2 business days). You may request cash advances up to $1,000 per month, as long as the credit is available in your account.

If all of your financial aid and loan requirements are complete, we can generally issue cash advances against the following types of aid:

  • Northwestern Scholarship
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • NU Loan
  • Federal PLUS, Stafford, or Perkins loans

We cannot issue cash advances against:

  • Outside scholarships
  • State scholarships/grants, such as the State of Illinois MAP Grant
  • Athletic or merit scholarships
  • Federal Work-Study earnings

Short-Term Emergency Loans

Students may be eligible to borrow an emergency loan from Northwestern to help with unanticipated expenses that are not covered by financial aid. These loans are available on a case-by-case basis, pending approval from the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid.

Emergency loans must be requested in person at our office, and you may be eligible to borrow a maximum of $500 in a quarter. The emergency loan must be repaid to the University within 60 days or by the end of the quarter, whichever comes first. Failure to repay your short-term loan may result in late fees and/or registration holds.