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Northwestern University

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.

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
(Difference: $15,489
room & board not included)
$56,933
Expected Family Contribution $9,000 Expected Family Contribution
(stays the same)
$9,000
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
Charges
    Tuition $17,413 $17,413 $17,413
    Fees $183 $128 $128
    Room & Board $5,349 $5,349 $5,349
Total Charges: $22,945 $22,890 $22,890
Credits
    Northwestern Scholarship $18,994 $18,993 $18,993
    Subsidized Loan $1,500 $1,500 $1,500
Total Credits: $20,494 $20,493 $20,493
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
Charges
    Tuition $17,413 $17,413 $17,413
    Fees $183 $128 $128
    Room & Board $0 $0 $0
Total Charges: $17,596 $17,541 $17,541
Credits
    Northwestern Scholarship $15,979 $15,977 $15,977
    Subsidized Loan $0 $0 $0
Total Credits: $15,979 $15,977 $15,977
Balance Due to Northwestern: $1,617 $1,564 $1,564
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