Financial Aid and Student Accounts Checklist

Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as close to October 1 as possible each year (FAFSA).

  • If you have received the Illinois MAP Grant in the past, or believe you are eligible for this grant based on your financial need, be sure to complete the FAFSA as close to October 1 as possible! MAP is a first-come, first-served program, and funding is limited.

Check your To-Do List in MyNIU regularly for any required documents and submit them promptly.

Receive and review your financial aid award letter, along with your guide to financial aid at NIU. Award letters will be sent to returning students with completed FAFSAs beginning in April. 

Use the NIU Planning and Cost Estimator to estimate tuition, fees, and housing charges. Enter the financial aid from your award letter to determine any out-of-pocket expenses.

Determine options for payment:

  • No payment needed
  • Parent loan (PLUS information found at
  • Private loan (for parents or students; students may need a co-signer)
  • Out-of-pocket payments in full or at your convenience
    • Be aware that a 1.08% late fee will be assessed monthly on any unpaid balance.
  • Huskie Installment Plan – sign up by June 30 for 4 payments.

Review the payment due dates.

Designate or update Shared Access users on your MyNIU Self Service Quick Links Tile to give permission for others to pay the bill online. 

Accept or decline your Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized loans.

  • You can also reduce the amount of the loan if you don’t need the entire amount!

First-time loan borrowers must complete Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note at

Accept or decline Federal Work-Study Eligibility prior to the start of classes.

  • Search and apply for on-campus jobs on the Huskies Get Hired.
  • You can reduce the amount of federal work-study if you don’t need the entire amount.
  • The amount accepted is not applied to your charges.  Use your paycheck to pay your monthly expenses or your account balance.

Review requirements for any grants and scholarships, such as needing to be enrolled full-time for scholarships, or 15 hours to receive a full MAP grant (MAP grants will be adjusted for enrollment less than 15 hours each semester).

Your account balance should be paid in full before registering for classes for the next semester.  Registration opens in November for spring, and April for summer/fall.

  • If you are not able to pay your balance in full, contact the Office of the Bursar to discuss payment options such as using a future refund to pay your current balance.

Take care of any holds that are preventing registration, such as past-due account, advising, or other required actions.

If you plan to take summer courses, be aware that financial aid for summer is very limited. Even if you do receive financial aid for summer it will probably not cover all of your charges. Also, financial aid for fall will not go back and pay summer charges, so make a plan to pay for summer either out-of-pocket or when you receive a refund in the fall.

Sign up for Direct Deposit if your financial aid will be more than your charges.

  • If your address has changed, and you don’t have Direct Deposit, make sure you update your address so your check is mailed to the correct place.

Establish a monthly budget.

  • If your financial aid is more than your charges, you will receive a refund. Plan the best way to use this money for expenses such as rent, food and other monthly bills.

If you have a pre-paid college savings plan, contact the administrator early to be sure they have all the information they need to get their payment to NIU before the August and January billing due dates.

Opt-out of student health insurance, if eligible.

Consent to Title IV, which allows NIU to apply your Title IV federal financial aid towards eligible charges such as the parking permit and childcare, which otherwise would not be covered by financial aid.

Buy books or supplies using your NIU OneCard at Huskie Books & Gear. Your purchases will be applied to your student account and can be paid with eligible financial aid or other payments. You may also purchase your books and supplies directly from other vendors.

Add Huskie Bucks to your OneCard.

Filing Your FAFSA

Financial Literacy in College

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