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First-time & Renewal Application Instructions

You must reapply for financial aid, including loans and employment, each year. First-time aid applicants, or students only wishing to apply for loans, should contact the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid before beginning this process. If you only wish to apply for federal aid, you only need to complete and submit the FAFSA.

Students who plan to study abroad during the fall quarter or full academic year should follow all of the regular application procedures. Study abroad financial aid awards will be released on a rolling basis beginning in late May.

Below we have listed the requirements for financial aid renewal. Current student applying for institutional financial aid at Northwestern for the first time will also need to complete the CSS Profile in addition to the items listed below.

Task Date Due Instructions
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)* May 1
  • The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Visit the FAFSA website and complete the application. Northwestern’s federal school code is 001739.
  • If you filled out the FAFSA online last year, you can use your FSA ID to access your Renewal FAFSA online.
  • If eligible, we strongly recommend that you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import your tax information.
  • Once processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Correct any inaccurate information on the FAFSA website.
  • Those able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA are strongly encouraged to do so. Those who do not may be required to submit copies of their IRS tax transcript.
Complete the Northwestern University Aid Application (UAPP) via CAESAR May 1
  • Visit your To-Do List on CAESAR and click on "Complete UG Univ Aid Application Online."
  • You may save your data and exit at any time, but you must submit at the end to complete the application.
  • This application must be completed by the student and is not available through CAESAR Guest Access.
Submit any Additional Requested Forms May 1
  • This may include requirements related to Federal Verification, the Business/Farm Supplement, tax information, or other documents. Be sure to check your to-do list via CAESAR for information on any additional information that may be required.
Respond to Award Letter ASAP
  • Accept/Decline your financial aid award even if you plan to submit a Special Circumstances Review request. The financial aid award is not a contract, but a confirmation that you have received and reviewed the information it contains.

Your Award Package

*If you only wish to apply for federal aid, you only need to complete and submit the FAFSA.

You will receive an email notification of your award package during the summer sent to your Northwestern email address. If you are a returning applicant, and your financial circumstances have remained the same, you can expect a similar award.

  • If you would like to accept a loan included in the package, see the Loans section to view the application instructions for your loan(s).
  • If you would like to submit information regarding a change in your financial situation, please refer to our Special Circumstances Review webpage for instructions.