Resident Assistant (RA) Financial Aid
When you live on-campus as an undergraduate, your financial aid package is based on the fact that you will be billed for room and board. As an RA, you will not be billed for room and board, so your financial aid will be adjusted based on this cost difference – that is, since you earn your room and board, you can’t also be awarded financial aid for it.
Put another way, financial aid is awarded based on a simple equation:
|Cost of Attendance||–||Expected Family Contribution||=||Financial Aid|
|Since RAs earn free room and board, your cost of attendance for the year will be lower than a other on-campus students. This adjustment is a federal requirement.||Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) each year is calculated based only on your family’s financial circumstances and aid application. Becoming an RA does not change your EFC.||Since the Cost of Attendance changes and your EFC stays the same, the amount of your financial need and aid package will change.|
Since costs are lower but your EFC remains the same, your aid package will be reduced: Need-based loans and work-study are always eliminated first, and NU scholarship will only be reduced if necessary.
- You will not have an additional work component (e.g., work-study) in your financial aid award, since you will already be working as an RA.
- Your NU scholarship and other grants will still be available to cover costs beyond your EFC. You may even owe Northwestern less than you would otherwise.
- In addition to room and board, RAs earn $500 per quarter.
We encourage you to speak one-on-one with a financial aid counselor to discuss how becoming an RA would impact your aid.
Example: Willie Wildcat
Willie currently lives on-campus, and wants to become an RA. His EFC is $9,000, and his regular financial aid package includes a loan, work-study, and NU scholarship.
|"Regular" Financial Aid||RA Financial Aid|
|Cost of Attendance||$72,980||Cost of Attendance
room & board not included)
|Expected Family Contribution||$9,000||Expected Family Contribution
(stays the same)
|Financial Need||$63,980||Financial Need||$47,933|
|Subsidized Loan||$4,500||Subsidized Loan||$0|
|Federal Work-Study||$2,500||Federal Work-Study||$0|
|Northwestern Scholarship||$56,980||Northwestern Scholarship||$47,933|
|Total Financial Aid:||$63,980||Total Financial Aid:||$47,933|
Willie normally owes Northwestern about $2,500 per quarter. His family covers this balance and helps him pay for his books, and Willie uses his work-study job to help cover his personal expenses, like toiletries, clothes, and entertainment.
|NU Invoice: Living On-Campus||Fall||Winter||Spring|
|Room & Board||$5,349||$5,349||$5,349|
|Balance Due to Northwestern:||$2,451||$2,397||$2,397|
When he becomes an RA, he will not be billed for room/board, so his loan and work-study will be eliminated. His NU scholarship will continue to credit to his account, and he actually owes Northwestern less each quarter. His family will still help with his other expenses.
|NU Invoice: Resident Assistant||Fall||Winter||Spring|
|Room & Board||$0||$0||$0|
|Balance Due to Northwestern:||$1,617||$1,564||$1,564|