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Northwestern University

Privacy of your Financial Aid Application Data

We take your privacy seriously and understand the importance of protecting your sensitive data.  Information from your financial aid application is protected and will not be released without your prior written consent. In some cases, information is provided to other Northwestern school officials with a legitimate need for the information. Following are those instances where we define school officials where information is required in the execution of their job duties. Under no circumstances will these persons or entities disclose your private information to others except as described below.

Definition of School Officials:

  1. Summer Bridge Program Administrators – In some cases, your information will be provided to others helping to fund certain programs that exist prior to fall enrollment.
  2. Student Enrichment Services (SES) Staff – The Student Affairs' SES team works directly to support students from low and lower middle-income backgrounds. Financial aid recipients will be identified who demonstrate financial need and have family income below the lower middle-income level. A list of names will be provided to SES to identify those students fitting these criteria.
  3. Health Professionals – A marker that identifies students whose records demonstrate the greatest financial need is provided to Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) so appropriate referrals can be made to the aid office for students needing health-related financial support.
  4. Academic Advisors and Deans - At times, a key component of academic success involves connecting students with resources. As such, a marker to identify students from low or middle-income families is provided to advisors within the online advising platform. The definition of low and middle-income is determined by the financial aid office through analysis of application materials. Academic advisors and deans require this information to make referrals for services unique to this population of students.
  5. Department Scholarship Administrators – Information is released to a small group of persons on campus who administer their own funding; in some instances, information will be shared in an effort to meet financial need and also the criteria of that department or entity.
  6. Student Affairs Assessment and Planning - The level of need as measured by a numerical ranking will be provided to the Executive Director of Assessment and Planning. This ranking will be used to measure the effectiveness of Student Affairs' programs across the varied levels of financial need of students. Your information will be used only in the aggregate, individual information will not be disclosed beyond the executive director.
  7. Office of Institutional Research - A key component in the mission of the office is to collect, integrate and analyze data to support decision-making and policy development. The level of need as measured by a numerical ranking will be provided to inform the decision-making process of senior university officials.  Your information will be used only in the aggregate, individual information will not be disclosed beyond the office.
  8. Academic Support and Learning Advancement (ASLA) – A marker that identifies students whose records demonstrate the greatest financial need will be provided to ASLA. A number of data points (including students’ GPA, SAT score, gender, ethnicity, etc.) are used to measure the effectiveness of their programs. These data points compare participants to nonparticipants who have similar demographic characteristics. The low-income marker is also used to see whether utilization rates differ based on income.

We will not release information from your application simply for the purpose of research or because another person has a curiosity. Please know that your information is secure and is not available outside the aid office except under the conditions listed above.

If you do encounter a need that would require the release your information, please navigate to the Forms page on our website and find the Financial Aid Information Release Form (near the bottom of the page under "Other Forms"). Using that form, you will provide us permission to provide your private information to the 3rd party person or organization.

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