Skip to main content

Enrollment Status

Your financial aid will likely reduce if your enrollment is less than full-time. Awards will be adjusted dollar-for-dollar for the amount of the reduction in tuition at the same proportion as the original award. Typically, students will see reductions in both the self-help component of their financial aid award (loans and work-study) as well as the scholarship component. Be sure review the University's Course Load Policies provided on the Registrar's website.  

Enrollment Categories

  • Full-time: Students who enroll in 3 to 5.5 units are billed at the full-time tuition rate. All full-time quarters of enrollment (regardless of funding received) will be considered toward the 4-year maximum and eligible students will be awarded funding at the full-time level. Students with full-time enrollment will be charged $20,092 per term for the 2021-22 academic year.
  • Half-time: Students who enroll in 2 to 2.9 units are considered half-time. Half-time quarters will be considered toward the 4-year maximum and eligible students will be awarded funding based upon the half-time charges. Students with half-time enrollment will be charged $7,143 per unit for the 2021-22 academic year.
  • Less than half-time: Students who enroll in fewer than 2 units are considered less than half-time and are not eligible for financial aid (with the exception of the Pell grant). These quarters of enrollment will not be considered toward the 4-year maximum. Students with less than half-time enrollment will be charged $7,143 per unit for the 2021-22 academic year.

Half-time Quarters

Students are generally eligible for university aid (most notably the Northwestern Scholarship) for up to 4 years of enrollment. Students can use a combination of full and half-time quarters to meet this maximum. Half-time quarters will be prorated when measuring years of eligibility.

If a final term of enrollment is beyond the 4 year maximum, students will need to submit a request for extended aid eligibility. For more information on this policy and an example, please visit our Half-Time Enrollment Page.


Students who have taken any refunds based upon full-time financial aid awarded, and whose awards are subsequently reduced due to half-time or less than half-time enrollment, may be responsible for a resulting balance due on their tuition account.

Summer Enrollment

Students who need to enroll during summer session and receive institutional assistance may do so if the summer enrollment falls within their 4 years of eligibility. Students are required to complete a Summer Financial Aid Application.

Overload Enrollment

Enrollment in more than 5.5 units will result in additional tuition charges. Term course loads greater than 5.5 units will be assessed at a rate of $7,143 per unit for the 2021-22 academic year. Institutional assistance is not provided for the additional overload enrollment charges. Students can contact our office directly to discuss additional financing options for this cost, such as Federal Stafford or Parent PLUS Loans.

Students who have met their institutional funding limit may still have remaining federal financial aid eligibility. Please review Satisfactory Academic Progress for details regarding the maximums for federal financial aid eligibility.

Years Of Eligibility

University aid can only be applied to 4 years of enrollment unless you are enrolled in a pre-approved five-year program. Federal aid, which is available for U.S. Citizens and permanent residents, can be available for a longer period. We understand that some students may need additional support beyond their 4 years. Please see this section of our site to submit an appeal: Request Additional Terms of Aid

Withdrawing from the University 

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is required to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who completely withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing more than 60% of a term, and for those who do not successfully complete at least one course in a term. If you are considering a withdrawal and would like specific information regarding the impact on your financial aid eligibility, please contact a financial aid counselor. 

The calculation used to determine your charges after a withdrawal is completely different than the calculation used to determine your federal aid eligibility. Please refer to the Office of Student Account's refund calculator page for more information regarding tuition/fee charges and Living @ NU for information about housing charges. For more information on the University’s withdrawal policy, student can also visit the Office of the Registrar's Withdrawal from the University page and Student Finance's Financial Regulation's information.

Unofficial Withdrawals

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is required to review students who received federal financial aid and did not pass any of their classes. The review must be conducted to determine whether the student earned the non-passing grades while attending classes or stopped attending classes but did not officially withdraw. Students who have ceased attendance without officially withdrawing may be required to repay a portion of the federal financial aid for the term. If it is determined that a student never began attendance in some or all classes, aid may be cancelled completely.