Northwestern Scholarships

The University awarded $126 million to undergraduate students in 2013-14, and approximately 45% of undergraduates received a Northwestern University Scholarship. Students who apply for aid will automatically be considered for all forms of institutional assistance listed below.

Northwestern University Scholarship

  • Summary: The NU Scholarship is generally the final component of an aid package, meeting any remaining need after other forms of aid have been applied.
  • Eligibility: NU Appropriated Scholarship: Awards are based on demonstrated institutional financial need and availability of funding at the time the student applies. Recipients come from a wide range of income backgrounds. 
    NU Endowed Scholarship: Awards that are funded by friends and alumni of Northwestern University. Students who are eligible for the NU Scholarship will be considered for a variety of endowed scholarships if they also meet the donors' other selection criteria.
  • Award Range: $250 to over $40,000 annually.

The chart below illustrates average Northwestern scholarships awarded to enrolling freshmen in Fall 2013 by their family's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). The third column reflects only Northwestern grant aid, the fourth column reflects Northwestern grant aid plus state and federal grants (like SEOG and Pell), and the last column reflects all of these items plus private scholarships earned by our students.  Please note that these figures are averages.*

Family Income                                                    
Percent Receiving NU Aid Average NU Scholarship Avg. Package with NU Scholarship + State and Federal Grants Avg. Package with NU Scholarship, State, Federal Grants & Private Scholarships
$0 - $29,999 97% $40,299 $48,822 $50,024
$30,000 - $59,999 96% $41,172 $44,719 $47,622
$60,000 - $89,999 95% $40,411 $40,411 $43,307
$90,000 - $119,999 95% $31,450 $31,450 $32,319
$120,000 - $149,999 87% $27,525 $27,525 $28,546
$150,000 or more 42% $18,950 $18,950 $19,822

*Families in the higher income ranges may have more than one student enrolled in college to qualify for a scholarship.

Good Neighbor, Great University

  • Summary: Northwestern University offers this scholarship to students who graduate from high schools in Evanston and Chicago. 
  • Eligibility: The scholarship replaces student loans, summer earnings, and work-study jobs that students normally must take in order to contribute to the cost of their education. Read more about the scholarship in Information on the Good Neighbor/Great University Scholarship.
  • Award range: Eligibility is based on demonstrated institutional financial need and may range from $1,000 - $12,300.

No-Loan Pledge Scholarship

  • Summary: This program began in 2008-09.  Undergraduate students who demonstrate the greatest institutional need have the opportunity to graduate from Northwestern without having to borrow any need-based loans.
  • Eligibility: Students who demonstrate the greatest institutional need and who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant are considered for this assistance. Read more about the scholarship in Information for Pledge Scholarship Recipients.
  • Award range: $300 - $9,500. The University will replace federal need-based loan eligibility with No-Loan Pledge Scholarship assistance for students who qualify.

Debt Cap Scholarship

  • Summary: The University will cap federal need-based loans (Federal Perkins loans and Federal Subsidized Stafford loans) for students receiving Northwestern Scholarship assistance.  Freshmen entering for the 2013-14 academic year will have their need-based loans capped at $23,500.
  • Eligibility: Students will be offered the Debt Cap Scholarship based upon institutionally determined financial need. Read more about the Debt Cap Scholarship Program in Debt Cap Scholarship Policies.
  • Award range: $300 - $9,500. Students will receive additional scholarship assistance to replace approved loans that exceed the cap. These additional funds will most likely be provided in the senior year.

QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship

  • Summary: Northwestern University is a partner college with QuestBridge, a not-for-profit organization that helps match low-income students who have excellent academic records with selective colleges.
  • Award Range: Students accepted through the College Match Program receive a financial aid package that covers 100% of demonstrated need. 
  • Outside Scholarships: Outside scholarships will first reduce Federal Work-Study and then the summer earnings contribution. Scholarships over $4,600 will reduce the Northwestern grant, dollar for dollar.
  • Health Insurance: Northwestern requires all students to have health insurance. If the student is not covered by a parental plan, the Northwestern grant will be increased to cover the cost of the student health insurance plan offered by the University.
  • Travel Budget: The allowance for travel will vary based upon the student's permanent address.
  • Study Abroad:  Students may be offered a loan to help with expenses related to study abroad.

For more information, including deadline dates, please contact QuestBridge directly.

National Merit Scholarship

  • Summary: The National Merit Scholarship program is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Sponsors of these scholarships include: 
    • Colleges and universities
    • Corporate and business organizations
    • The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) itself
  • Eligibility: To be considered for a Northwestern University sponsored National Merit Scholarship, students must be National Merit Finalists, list Northwestern University as his/her first choice school by the NMSC published deadline and must not be selected by another sponsor.  Students cannot receive more than one type of National Merit award. Students designated for any corporate National Merit award or a direct NMSC award will not be considered for a Northwestern University sponsored National Merit award. Students must meet all National Merit deadlines in order to be considered for the scholarship. Questions about these sponsored awards should be directed to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation at (847) 866-5100 or by visiting the NMSC website. Students must be enrolled full-time to retain National Merit eligibility.
  • Award Range: Corporate-sponsored award amounts will vary. The National Merit-sponsored award is generally $2,500. The NU National Merit Scholarship is $2,000 annually.   
  • Renewal: The NMSC sends out scholarship renewal applications to recipients of renewable corporate or Northwestern sponsored scholarships. Scholars must submit their renewal applications directly to NMSC by the appropriate deadline date.

Founders Scholarship

  • Summary: Northwestern created the Founders Scholars Program in 2007 to honor the nine individuals who founded the University in 1850.
  • Eligibility: Awards are offered each year to a select group of incoming students from middle-income families. Award criteria include academic credentials, student essays, recommendations, leadership experience and potential, and academic interests. There is no application for this scholarship – eligibility will be determined during the normal financial aid review process. Renewal beyond the freshmen year requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0, which is reviewed on an annual basis. Recipients must be enrolled at least half-time to maintain eligibility. (Please note: Any reduction in tuition charges may result in a reduction of scholarship funds. Please review the Enrollment Status page for more information) 
  • Award range: $13,200 average award. These scholarships are renewable for four years if students maintain the academic requirements noted above.

Fermi Scholarship

  • Summary: A competitive annual scholarship available to children of Fermi Lab employees.
  • Eligibility: Children of regular, full time Fermi Employees are eligible to apply for this cholarship.  Preference is given to students who have completed their sophomore year with financial need and who are in good standing. If funding is available, students who are incoming freshman may apply for consideration. Also, incoming students without financial need may apply and may receive assistance if there is still funding available after students meeting the preferences have been awarded.
  • Award Range: Five scholarships of $5,000 each are awarded each year.
  • Deadline: June 1
  • Renewal: Funding for recipients is not automatic in subsequent years. Students must apply on an annual basis for consideration.

To apply for this scholarship, students must fill out the application form, and write a letter stating the reasons why they should receive this scholarship, including GPA and a summary of activities such as research, projects and employment. Please send it to our office, to the attention of Carolyn Lindley, along with a letter from Human Resources at Fermi Lab verifying your parent's full-time employment. 

Argonne Scholarship

  • Summary: A competitive annual scholarship available to children of Argonne Lab employees.
  • Eligibility: Children of regular, full time Argonne Lab Employees are eligible to apply for the Argonne Scholarship.  Preference is given to students who have completed their sophomore year with financial need and who are in good standing. If funding is available, students who are incoming freshman may apply for consideration. Also, incoming students without financial need may apply and may receive assistance if there is still funding available after students meeting the preferences have been awarded.
  • Award Range: Eight scholarships of $5,000 each are awarded each year.
  • Deadline: July 1
  • Renewal: Funding for recipients is not automatic in subsequent years. Students must apply on an annual basis for consideration. 

To apply for this scholarship, students must submit all financial aid application materials, fill out the application form and employment verification form, and write a letter stating the reasons why they should receive this scholarship, including GPA and a summary of activities such as research, projects and employment. Please send the application forms and letter to our office to the attention of Carolyn Lindley. 

Karr Achievement Scholarship

  • Summary: Scholarship program established in 2013 by a Northwestern Alumnus to recognize National Achievement Scholars.
  • Eligibility: Students who have been designated a National Achievement Scholar by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and admitted for the 2013-14 academic year and beyond.
  • Award Range: $2,500 annually.
  • Renewal: The Karr Achievement Scholarship is renewable for up to four years. Recipient must maintain satisfactory academic progress.