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Northwestern University

Outside Scholarships

Outside scholarships are funds awarded by entities outside of the federal and institutional aid programs. Outside scholarships cannot be used to replace any portion of the expected family contribution, however, they benefit students by reducing and even eliminating the self-help portion (need-based student loans and work-study) of their financial aid award. Northwestern scholarship will be reduced, dollar for dollar, only if the student’s outside awards exceed their self-help. The examples below illustrate how outside scholarships may impact your financial aid award.

  Example Base Award Scenario #1 Scenario #2 Scenario #3
Total Outside Scholarship Amount: 0 $2,500   $5,000 $7,500
Subsidized Stafford Loan (Self-Help) $3,500 $2,000 0 0
Perkins Loan (Self-Help) $1,000 0 0 0
Federal Work-Study (Self-Help) $2,500 $2,500 $2,000 0
Northwestern Scholarship  $30,000 $30,000 $30,000 $29,500
Changes to Student’s Financial Aid Award: N/A Subsidized Stafford Loan reduced by $1,500 and Perkins Loans eliminated  Subsidized Stafford and Perkins Loans eliminated, Work-Study reduced by $500 Subsidized Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, and Work-Study eliminated, NU Scholarship reduced by $500

Typically, scholarship amounts are divided into thirds and credited over the three terms of the academic year. You will receive an updated copy of your financial aid award letter when your aid is adjusted for outside awards.

Reporting Outside Scholarships

Students must notify our office of all outside awards received, including awards paid directly to you. Please report your outside scholarships to our office via email and include a copy of any correspondence (e.g., letter or email) from the scholarship donor.

Receiving Outside Scholarship Funds

Scholarship agencies should send students’ outside scholarship payment directly to our office to the attention of the Outside Scholarship Coordinator. The scholarship check should be made payable to Northwestern University so that funds may credited directly to the student's university bill. The student's full name and Student ID number should be included in the memo section of the check.  

Checks made payable to the student or co-payable to the student and Northwestern University must be signed by the student prior to submitting the scholarship check to our office. 

Outside Scholarship Search Sites

We are unable to advertise scholarships offered by individual outside agencies on our website. However, we have found the following websites helpful to students in providing free scholarship search services:

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