The Office of Financial Aid, Chicago, administers financial aid programs to eligible applicants. These programs include federal, institutional and private educational loan programs. Private organizations offering educational assistance have their own eligibility criteria. The actual amount of financial aid you receive at the time of disbursement will depend on whether you meet all eligibility requirements for the awarded funds.
To receive federal financial aid in the form of loans, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • be admitted to a degree or certificate program at Northwestern University School of Law;
  • not be in default on any federal educational loans or owe a refund on a federal grant program;
  • comply with Selective Service registration requirements. Male students, ages 18-25, must be registered for Selective Service;
  • not be convicted of a drug offense (eligibility is suspended for a period of time);
  • meet satisfactory academic standards as determined by the Northwestern University School of Law;
  • complete all required steps in the financial aid process.

Students holding J1 or J2 exchange visitor visas or F1 or F2 student visas are NOT eligible for federal loan programs but may qualify for institutional and/or private educational loans. Students will be required to meet specific eligibility requirements for institutional and/or private educational loans. International students should also refer to External Resources for more information about external funding.

Application Process

Steps to Applying for Financial Aid

Applying for financial aid is an annual process. All financial aid documents are due in the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago, by the priority deadlines listed on the application instructions. Complying with deadlines is critical. Late applicants may jeopardize their chances of receiving financial aid.

  • Apply for financial aid.
    Students must reapply for financial aid every year. Students should refer to the application instructions for their degree program, complete the required financial aid application forms, and return them to the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago.
  • Receive Student Aid Report (SAR) from U.S. Department of Education.
    If you provided an e-mail address on the FAFSA, you will receive an electronic SAR one week after submission. If not, you will receive a paper SAR 2 to 3 weeks after submission. Carefully review your SAR and make corrections if necessary.
  • Respond immediately to requests from the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago.
    You should respond in a timely manner to any requests for additional information from the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago.
  • Receive financial aid award notice from Office of Financial Aid, Chicago.
    Once your financial aid award application is complete, we will process your application and provide you with a financial aid award notice and loans documents. Carefully review and follow the instructions on your financial aid award notice and loan documents.
  • Return completed financial aid award notice and loan documents.
    Students must complete and return all financial aid award documents to the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago. Students applying for federal and/or private loans must follow the appropriate loan process. You can check CAESAR to verify that your financial aid award notification and loan documents have been received.
  • Receive certification of student loans.
    The Office of Financial Aid, Chicago certifies your student loans. Loan applications that are incomplete or improperly completed will be returned. This will delay loan processing, which may delay the disbursement of your student loans.
  • Receive financial aid disbursement.
    Your financial aid is credited to your student billing account after all financial aid award requirements are met. No funds will disburse your student billing account unless you have completed all forms and requirements.

Tips for Success in the Financial Aid Process

  • File your Federal Income Tax early.
    Students should file their federal income tax returns as early as possible. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be completed with estimated tax information, but it is recommended that you use actual tax data for more accurate reporting.
  • File your FAFSA early.
    We strongly encourage students to file a FAFSA using FAFSA on the Web. Use your PIN to electronically sign your FAFSA on the Web. If you don't have a PIN, you may obtain a PIN at Please complete the FAFSA on the Web as soon as possible after January 1.
  • Respond promptly to all correspondences.
    Please respond to all requests from the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago, for additional information. DO NOT ignore requests for additional information. Failure to respond will delay the processing of your financial aid application.
  • Review carefully all materials from the Office of Financial Aid.
    Be sure to read and understand all documents that you sign and verify the accuracy of all information. All financial aid documents must be completed and returned to the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago. If you have questions or concerns about your financial aid, contact our office immediately.
  • Keep copies of your financial aid documents.
    It is important to keep copies of all financial aid documentation submitted to the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago. By doing this, you can reference these documents if necessary.
  • Know your Rights and Responsibilities.
    Be sure to understand your rights and responsibilities in the financial aid process. Carefully read and understand all documents that you sign. It is important that you take an active role in the financial aid process.
  • Update your address information.
    Both your permanent and local (current) addresses should be kept current. If they are not current, you can run the risk of not receiving communication from the university.
  • Consult with a financial aid counselor.
    Financial aid counselors are available to help when you have questions about your financial aid. Cooperation is the key to success. Contact the Office of Financial Aid, Chicago, by e-mail or call (312) 503-8722 with any questions or concerns about the financial aid process.
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • The Law School administers an extensive program of grants and scholarships, all of which are awarded on a combined basis of merit and financial need. These awards are available through endowed funds, gifts from alumni, and general funds from the University. To receive full consideration for scholarship or grant assistance, the Office of Financial Aid must receive your complete financial aid application by the program deadline. A complete application includes a Need Access application, your FAFSA, and your most recently filed federal tax forms. Detailed instructions and forms for completing your financial aid application can be found on the "Apply for Financial Aid" page.
  • Because grant and scholarship funds are limited, we are not able to award scholarships or grants to all admitted applicants whose financial aid applications are received by the deadline. Therefore, it is best to apply for financial aid well in advance of the deadline.  Candidates who submit their financial aid applications after the deadline will most likely receive aid only in the form of loans.
  • Some of our scholarships (xls) are made possible by the generous contributions of our benefactors. The Admissions Committee determines the recipients of these scholarships based on the information provided in the applications for admission and for financial aid.  Students must apply for financial aid to be considered for these scholarships.
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