It's Time to Apply for Financial Aid

File your FAFSA or Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid

At Northern Illinois University, we make it easy to get help paying for college. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the best way to explore your options.

The filing period for the 2023-2024 academic year opened on October 1. You'll use your 2021 tax information to complete the FAFSA.

Some funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you submit your completed FAFSA, the more likely you are to receive assistance if you are eligible.

Who should apply?

  • Students who will be new to college in fall 2023 should file their FAFSA.  
  • Current students who will be continuing their education in fall 2023 need to renew their FAFSA.

How do you file a FAFSA?

Visit, or download the myStudentAid app on your mobile device from the Apple Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). Use NIU's school code, 001737, to have your FAFSA results sent directly to our Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.

Filling out your FAFSA is easy, and takes most people less than an hour. Many applicants can automatically pull their information from the IRS online to complete parts of the application.

Why should you apply?

The office of Federal Student Aid offers more than $120 billion in grants, work-study and loans each year to help students pay for college, and you may be eligible for more than you think.

But filling out your FAFSA is about more than receiving federal aid, and we strongly encourage you to submit a free application even if you think you won't qualify.

What might you receive?

NIU uses the results of your FAFSA, along with your academic credentials, to determine your eligibility for most of our financial aid programs and some scholarships. You may be eligible for assistance covering up to all, or a significant portion of, your costs.

You could also use award money not just toward tuition and fees, but also for housing, books, supplies and even transportation. If you've applied to NIU or are already enrolled and have filed your FAFSA, watch for your notification in the spring to learn all about your financial aid.

The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act and Alternative Application for Illinois Financial aid

Please note: If you are an Illinois resident but are ineligible for federal aid as an undocumented or transgender student, you can still apply for state assistance. The Retention of Illinois Students & Equity (RISE) Act became law in January 2020. Find out whether you should complete the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid instead of the FAFSA.


File your FAFSA for 2023-24


Back to top