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Northwestern Scholarships

The University awarded $200 million to undergraduate students in 2020-21, and approximately half of undergraduates received a Northwestern University Scholarship. Students who apply for aid will automatically be considered for all forms of aid listed below. Program and eligibility requirements are subject to revision based on federal, state and university changes to regulations and policies. Financial aid from the university is limited to four years of enrollment for an entering first-year student and three years of enrollment for an entering transfer student. For more information on the four-year limit, see satisfactory academic progress.

Northwestern University Scholarship

  • Summary: The NU Scholarship is generally the final component of an aid package, meeting any remaining need after other forms of aid have been applied.
  • Eligibility: NU Appropriated Scholarship: Awards are based on demonstrated institutional financial need and availability of funding at the time the student applies. Recipients come from a wide range of income backgrounds. 
    NU Endowed Scholarship: Awards that are funded by friends and alumni of Northwestern University. Students who are eligible for the NU Scholarship will be considered for a variety of endowed scholarships if they also meet the donors' other selection criteria.
  • Award Range: $250 to over $40,000 annually.

The chart below illustrates average Northwestern scholarships awarded to enrolling freshmen in Fall 2021 by their family's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). The third column reflects only Northwestern grant aid, the fourth column reflects Northwestern grant aid plus state and federal grants (like SEOG and Pell), and the last column reflects all of these items plus private scholarships earned by our students.  Please note that these figures are averages.*

Family Income Percent Receiving NU Aid Average NU Scholarship Avg. Package with NU Scholarship + State and Federal Grants Avg. Package with NU Scholarship, State, Federal Grants & Private Scholarships
$0 - $29,999 96% $65,216 $74,317 $75,419
$30,000 - $59,999 95% $67,118 $74,465 $75,763
$60,000 - $89,999 93% $63,1133 $65,188 $66,733
$90,000 - $119,999 91% $55,875 $55,939 $57,440
$120,000 - $149,999 88% $48,328 $48,328 $49,624
$150,000 or more 42% $31,378 $31,378 $32,240

*Families in the higher income ranges may have more than one student enrolled in college to qualify for a scholarship.

Northwestern Endowed Scholarships

Students who are eligible for need-based Northwestern Scholarship may receive a named endowed scholarship. These scholarships are established by individuals who care deeply about the University and its mission. Some donors are NU alumni, who were themselves the beneficiaries of student aid. An endowed scholarship can establish a direct connection between you and the donor; most donors welcome the opportunity to meet or correspond with the students who receive their awards. Please note that:

  • A named endowed scholarship does not change the total amount of financial aid awarded.
  • Funds awarded through endowed scholarships replace the amount of any NU grant on a dollar-for-dollar basis based on fund restrictions.
  • Scholarships are awarded to students who meet the criteria specific to each fund.
  • No additional application materials are required beyond the regular financial aid application materials. Students are automatically considered for these funds when they apply for financial aid. Selection is based on a student’s match with a donor’s criteria. 

Good Neighbor, Great University

  • Summary: Northwestern University offers this scholarship to students who graduate from high schools in Evanston and Chicago. 
  • Eligibility: The scholarship replaces the summer earnings expectation of the student and also the work-study allocation that meet university need. (Students may request work-study if federal eligibility remains.) Read more about the scholarship in Information on the Good Neighbor/Great University Scholarship.
  • Award range: Eligibility is based on demonstrated university financial need and range from $1,000 - $5,500.

QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship

  • Summary: Northwestern University is a partner college with QuestBridge, a not-for-profit organization that helps match low-income students who have excellent academic records with selective colleges. Northwestern provides considerable scholarship assistance to students matched through this program. Please visit Northwestern's QuestBridge page for more information.
  • For more information, including deadline dates, please contact QuestBridge directly.

Founders Scholarship

  • Summary: Northwestern created the Founders Scholars Program in 2007 to honor the nine individuals who founded the University in 1850.
  • Eligibility: Awards are offered each year to a select group of incoming students from middle-income families. Award criteria include academic credentials, student essays, recommendations, leadership experience and potential, and academic interests. There is no application for this scholarship – eligibility will be determined during the normal financial aid review process. Renewal beyond the freshmen year requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0, which is reviewed on an annual basis. Recipients must be enrolled at least half-time to maintain eligibility. (Please note: Any reduction in tuition charges may result in a reduction of scholarship funds. Please review the Enrollment Status page for more information) 
  • Award range: $13,200 average award. These scholarships are renewable for four years if students maintain the academic requirements noted above.

Karr Achievement Scholarship

  • Summary: Scholarship program established in 2013 by a Northwestern Alumnus.
  • Eligibility: Students admitted for the 2013-14 academic year and beyond.
  • Award Range: $2,500 annually.
  • Renewal: The Karr Achievement Scholarship is renewable for up to four years. Recipient must maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Chicago Star Scholarship

  • Summary: Scholarship program established in 2016 by Northwestern for students who have completed their studies at City Colleges of Chicago and transferred to Northwestern.
  • Eligibility: Students admitted for the 2016-17 academic year and beyond.
  • Award Range: Up to $50,00 annually dependent on Northwestern's need-based financial aid policies.
  • Renewal: The Star Scholarship is available for up to two years. Recipient must maintain satisfactory academic progress.