Attending college is a great investment in your future, and many families need assistance to help offset the cost of education. The purpose of financial aid is to assist students to pursue their college education by helping them and their families meet educational expenses.
Never assume that you will not qualify for financial assistance. There are many types of financial aid available to help manage the cost of your education, such as grants, loans, work-study opportunities, and scholarships.
If you have not completed your 2014-2015 FAFSA please visit the FAFSA FAQs for information on important dates, MAP grant deadlines, estimating federal tax data and how to update your FAFSA
If you have already completed your 2014-2015 FAFSA, you may have items assigned to your checklist for the 2014-2015 year. When completing checklist documentation be sure to verify that you have the correct form for the correct year. Links included in the checklist will direct you to the correct year's forms if copied and pasted into your web browser. Be careful when manually typing any links, if you had completed the form for the previous year, your browser may try to direct you to an incorrect link.
Also at this point in time, some checklist items, such as 2013 Tax Return Transcripts, may not be available if you have not completed your tax return. Tax Return Transcrips will not be available for a few weeks after the submission of a tax return.
I received an email about Title IV Authorization, what does this email mean?(show/hide »)
Federal financial aid funds may only be used to cover certain charges associated with tuition, room and board, and books. In order for Title IV funds to be able to pay other charges you must provide your authorization to use any excess funds. Title IV funds can never be used to cover prior year charges or non-education related charges such as parking tickets, fines and/or recreation charges.
This authorization can be given online through MyNIU and is valid until rescinded. A tutorial of how to provide this authorization is available online here. The Title IV Authorization may be rescinded at any time but will require you to contact the Student Financial Aid Office.
What is exit counseling and do I have to complete it?(show/hide »)
Exit counseling is designed to inform you of the grace period, interest rates, repayment options and incentives, and terms and conditions of your loans, as well as the availability of deferment, forbearance and consolidation. An important thing to note, students are only offered a grace period once, if you use your grace period and then return to school, repayment will begin immediately after you graduate. Exit counseling for Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans can be found at www.studentloans.gov and for Federal Perkins loans at www.ecsi.net.
How long will it take for submitted documents or loan applications to be processed?(show/hide »)
To ensure prompt processing, scan documents and email the images to email@example.com or fax to 815-753-9475. Be sure to include both sides of the document. Mailing documents may result in longer processing times. Documents are processed in the date order received and processing time can vary depending on the specific documents submitted. Basic Verification documents such as the Household Size Form or federal tax return transcripts will normally be reviewed within 4 days of submission. Be sure to monitor your Z-ID student e-mail account, and your MyNIU To Do List, as these are the methods by which we would inform you if we needed clarification on anything.
If you or your parents have applied for a PLUS Loan online, you should expect the resulting loan amount to be visible on your awards screen within roughly a week. Private Loans will take at least two weeks, due to the federal Truth In Lending Act.
Why did my financial aid amounts adjust?(show/hide »)
Eligibility for the full amount of the Federal Pell Grant and/or Illinois MAP Grant is contingent on enrollment in a certain amount of credit hours (12 credit hours for Pell, 15 credit hours for MAP). When initially packaging a student with these awards, we assume that the student will be enrolled in enough hours to qualify for the full amount. Recipients who are enrolled in fewer hours will receive adjusted, lower amounts of these awards. At various points prior to disbursement, the Student Financial Aid Office reviews a student's current hours of enrollment and adjusts these awards accordingly. This is considered the best practice in order to ensure that students have the most accurate information about their pending aid at any given time.
The Department of Education requires schools participating in the Title IV federal aid program to periodically adjust student budgets based on their level of enrollment; i.e. full-time, half-time and less than half-time. If your Cost of Attendance changed, it is most likely the result of the amount of hours you are enrolled in for the term.
How do I accept my student loans?(show/hide »)
Accept your loans on your MyNIU Campus Finances. First-time loan borrowers must also complete the Master Promissory Note and Loan Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov
How does Federal Work-Study Employment work?(show/hide »)
Work-Study awards are not guaranteed and are earned as wages by working on and off campus with eligible employers. A Work-Study award reflects the amount the student can earn if hired. Students must apply for a work-study job and be hired in order to utilize the eligibility offered on their award notification. Work-Study wages do not credit to the student's Bursar account. Students earn paychecks for work performed. Regular Student Employment positions do not require an offering of Federal Work-Study on the award notification.
For more information please visit www.niu.edu/fa/types/workstudy.shtml
What is the EFC?(show/hide »)
The information supplied on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used by the federal government to determine a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC defines for the university what financial aid programs a student is eligible to participate in and the amount for which he/she is eligible. A common misunderstanding is that the EFC is the amount the student will owe the university. Rather, the amount owed is the student charges minus the financial aid awarded and disbursed.
Where should I send the check for a private scholarship I have been awarded?(show/hide »)
All scholarship checks should be sent to the Student Financial Aid office and will be directly applied to your Bursar account, one-half in the fall semester and one-half in the spring semester, unless otherwise specified by the donor. If the check needs your endorsement, please sign before mailing.Student Financial Aid OfficeNorthern Illinois UniversitySwen Parson Hall 245DeKalb, IL 60115
How do I provide a prospective landlord with evidence of my financial aid?(show/hide »)
The best summary of financial aid awarded is actually accessible to you through MyNIU. Go to MyNIU > Student System > Self Service > Campus Financies > Accept/Decline Awards. This screen shows the amount of aid you have been offered, and the amount that you have accepted. Printing this screen will show this information, juxtaposed with your name and the NIU logo, in a format that longtime DeKalb landlords should be familiar with.
For assistance navigating MyNIU, please visit our MyNIU Tutorials.
Can financial aid pay for my books?(show/hide »)
Financial aid recipients may charge books and supplies to their Bursar account at either the NIU Bookstore or the Village Commons Bookstore (VCB) for a limited time at the start of each semester. It is important to note that the amount you charge will be added to your Bursar account. You will be responsible for covering these charges either with financial aid or by paying out of pocket if your financial aid has been exhausted.
For additional information please visit www.niubookstore.niu.edu
How can I see the exact charges for my student?(show/hide »)
You can go into the student's MyNIU account: on the 'Student Center' page, about a third of the way down is a blue line that says 'Finances'; under it, click on 'Term Account Detail', then click on the specific semester you're looking for. This will show you all of the exact charges, payments, financial aid, pending financial aid and refund information for that semester. Please note that it's a 'snapshot' page. You will need to print it if you need it for future reference. If anything on the account changes, the information on this page will change. For more information please go to www.niu.edu/bursar .
I just received my refund, why do I still have a balance owed on my account?(show/hide »)
You may have a balance on owed on your account for two reasons:
a.) A charge was applied to your account after the refund was calculated and/or
b.) Your refund was from a financial aid disbursement and you have one or more charges on your account that financial aid does not pay. Students can choose to use their financial aid refund to pay these charges.
Financial aid eligibility is based on the costs associated with your enrollment for this academic year. Financial aid regulations restrict the charges that can be covered by your financial aid. Miscellaneous charges, such as orientation fees, graduation fees, late fees, parking tickets fines and balances from prior years cannot automatically be paid with a financial aid disbursement. If you have a balance on your account, the unpaid charge may be related to one or more of these items.
The financial aid disbursed to your account paid outstanding Fall 2013 tuition and fees, any bookstore and housing and dining charges. The remainder of your financial aid is the refund you have been issued. You may use part of your financial aid refund or other personal funds to pay the miscellaneous charges you owe.
When does financial aid disburse, and when will I receive my refund?(show/hide »)
Students attending the Summer 2014 term who have financial aid may receive disbursements on June 23rd. For the majority of students, Fall 2014 loans will disburse on September 8th. Refunds will be generated over the rest of that third week of classes. To receive a refund, you must have financial aid in excess of your charges. We recommend that students consider signing up (at www.niu.edu/bursar/ and click on 'Refunds') To have their refund directly deposited into their personal bank account. Refund checks will be sent through the mail to students who don't take advantage of this service. Parent borrowers who opt to have any Parent PLUS refunds sent to them rather than to the student have the option to receive the refund check as a direct deposit or paper check. Visit the Bursar's office website for additional information. <.
NIU has a very flexible add/drop policy that allows students to change their enrollment through the second week of classes. By issuing refunds after add/drop is closed, students are assured that the refund is based upon the most up-to-date enrollment. The Student Financial Aid Office will recalculate each student's financial aid eligibility after the add/drop period is over based on their enrollment at that time. It is at this point the financial aid funds will disburse to the Bursar account for refund processing.
How does my parent apply for the Parent PLUS Loan?(show/hide »)
For additional information please visit the PLUS Tutorial
When should my parents apply for the Parent PLUS Loan?(show/hide »)
When a parent applies for the Parent PLUS loan the Department of Education performs a credit check to determine if the parent will be eligible to receive the Parent PLUS loan. Credit checks expire in 90 days if a Parent PLUS loan has not been created. It is recommended that parents do not apply for Parent PLUS loans for the 2014-2015 award year until May to ensure that the credit check is still valid.
What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?(show/hide »)
The subsidized loan is based on financial need, while students qualify for the unsubsidized loan regardless of financial need. Students eligible to borrow subsidized loans are not charged interest on the loans while they are enrolled at least half-time. Interest on unsubsidized loans begins accruing while they are enrolled in school. Students may choose to defer the interest payment on an unsubsidized loan until they begin repayment.
Where do I go for assistance with choosing a Private Student Loan?(show/hide »)
Private Loans are meant to supplement federal and state aid when the Cost of Attendance (COA) is not fully covered by your financial aid. There is a comprehensive list of private loan lenders and additional information regarding private loans at www.finaid.org/loans/privatestudentloans.phtml Valuable information about the private loan process and interest rate calculations is provided at this website and should be read carefully.