Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Living Off-Campus: Financial Aid

Image 1Your financial aid will not change if you move out of the dorms and into an apartment.  The financial aid office estimates the same room and board costs for all students, based on the average cost of a double room on campus.  Your estimated family contribution will also be the same, so if you budget carefully, your family should pay about the same out-of-pocket. 

The only thing that changes is that you would not be billed through CAESAR for your housing.  If your financial aid currently helps with your on-campus room and board charges each quarter, you might qualify for a financial aid refund to help with your off-campus expenses.

image 2

You will apply in May for financial aid for next year, but you likely have to sign your lease and pay deposits or fees before then, typically anywhere between January and March.  Keep in mind that next year’s financial aid cannot be awarded this year, so any expenses you incur before then are your responsibility.

If you will be eligible for a financial aid refund, you may request those funds through CAESAR at the beginning of the quarter.  Financial aid refunds are not available early, so make sure you budget to pay your first month’s rent and bills on time.

Financial aid only applies when you are enrolled, typically during the 9-month academic year, so make sure you have a plan for the summer.  Either budget extra every month and put it aside for your summer rent, or get a subletter if your landlord allows it.

image 3If you will be eligible for an aid refund, the fastest way to access it is usually to set up direct deposit.  If you have a work-study job, this is not the same as your paycheck direct deposit.  You can set up your financial aid direct deposit separately in CAESAR.

When you request your refund in CAESAR, you will notice that the full available amount is usually prepopulated in the request box, but you can change the amount!  Remember that your aid refund is intended to help you through the whole quarter – if it will be harder to budget or too tempting to have your whole refund in the bank, you might consider requesting less than the full available amount all at once. 

You can usually request available funds in your NU account until about the 7th or 8th week of classes.  When the billing cycle starts for the next quarter, the online refund request function is usually disabled.

Continue Presentation --->

Back to top