Applying for Financial Aid


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Disbursement of Financial Aid

Financial aid funds, with the exception of federal work-study eligibility, are applied directly to your Bursar’s Office account. NIU bills for one semester at a time. Disbursement for undergraduate and graduate programs occurs after the end of the add drop period.

Pending Financial Aid

Prior to the start of the semester, the financial aid that has been accepted for that term is posted on MyNIU as “Pending Financial Aid,” which acts as a deferment or credit toward the outstanding charges. Financial aid funds begin to disburse to your Bursar’s account following the second week of classes each semester. Additional requirements may be necessary for loan funds to disburse. For additional information refer to the Loans section under Types of Aid.


Refunds begin going out to eligible students and parents (in the case of Parent PLUS Loans) the week following the add/drop period of each semester. To receive a refund you must have financial aid in excess of your charges. To assure the timeliest receipt of a refund, students and parents are encouraged to sign up with the Bursar's Office for direct deposit of your funds into a personal bank account. For additional information visit:

Reducing or Canceling a Loan

You have the right to cancel all or part of any Direct Loans funds that have been applied to your bill.

If a refund was issued to you from loan funds, we will not be able to cancel or reduce your loan for any amount you received as a refund unless the refund is returned to the Student Financial Aid Office. The refund check (if the refund was issued by paper check) or a personal check made out to Northern Illinois University (if the refund was issued by direct deposit) will be submitted to the Bursar’s Office to be voided (refund check) or to be applied to your account (personal check) once the Financial Aid Office has made the necessary adjustments to your loan.

If you do not wish to return the refund to our office, you have the option to return any unwanted loan funds received as a refund directly to Direct Lending. Please contact your loan servicer if you have any questions. (To find out who your loan servicer is please visit the National Student Loan Data System NSLDS) You should also know that while choosing to repay your servicer will decrease your loan obligation, you will still have utilized your loan eligibility for the academic year. If you decide later that you would like the loan reinstated or if you would like loan eligibility for the summer semester, you will not be able to get this loan eligibility back for the academic year.

If you would like to reduce or cancel the Direct Loans that were applied to the bill, you must submit a written request to the Student Financial Aid Office indicating the amount you would like in both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (or PLUS Loan if you have received it). You have 14 days from the date of disbursement to submit a request to cancel or reduce your loan funds. Be sure to include your (the student's) name and NIU Z-ID number on the request and submit to:

Student Financial Aid Office
Swen Parson Hall 245
DeKalb, IL 60115

Please note that canceling or reducing a loan that has already applied to charges will increase the amount of your bill.

If you have any questions about your financial aid or the loan cancellation process, please feel free to come into our office to speak with a student financial aid counselor.

Private Scholarships

All scholarship checks sent to NIU will be directly applied to your Bursar’s account; one-half in the fall semester and one-half in the spring semester, unless otherwise specified by the scholarship donor. Scholarships go toward meeting financial aid need and may affect eligibility for other types of aid.

Books and Supplies Charge System

Financial aid recipients may charge books and supplies to their Bursar’s account at either campus bookstore for a limited time at the start of each semester. The book charge system allows you to charge up to $700 for each fall and spring semester and up to $350 for the summer semester. It is important to note that the amount you charge will be added to your Bursar’s account. You will be responsible for covering these charges either with financial aid or paying out of pocket if your financial aid has been exhausted.