Financial Aid Process

Congratulations on making this important decision to invest in your future! Applying for aid may seem daunting, but we're here to help!

  • 1

    Apply for Financial Aid

    Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You (and your parent, if you are a dependent student) will need a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) which you will need to apply for at least 3 days prior to completing your FAFSA. The FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your FAFSA. Still have questions about how to fill out your FAFSA? Check out this helpful How-To Guide.

    If you’re an undocumented student, you’re not eligible for federal aid and shouldn’t complete the FAFSA. However, if you are live in Illinois, you can apply for state assistance by submitting an Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, if you qualify. Our Undocumented Student Resource Center can help you navigate your unique situation.

    Remember that the earlier you apply, the more likely you are to receive financial aid.

    Read FAQs about FAFSA and financial aid eligibility.

  • 2

    Check Your Application Status

    Check your MyNIU "To Do List" and your NIU student email regularly.

    Due to federal delays with the FAFSA, schools will not begin receiving your FAFSA data until sometime in March. You will receive an email from the Federal Student Aid office once your FAFSA has been sent to the school(s) you indicated.

    If we are missing information or if you are selected for verification, you'll be notified through these channels to provide additional documentation.

    After we review your application, your offers will be posted to MyNIU under your Financial Aid Tile for your review. We will send you an email at your NIU email address when your offer is posted. Check your email regularly for this offer notification emailIt contains important information about your financial aid package.

  • 3

    Review Your Financial Aid Offer

    You'll receive a notification of your financial aid offer once your FAFSA and all requested documents are turned in and processed. Your offer notification will include all financing you are offered. This includes all scholarships, grants, loans and work-study that you are eligible for on federal, state, and university levels.

    Initial financial aid offers are posted in MyNIU and sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Generally, you'll receive an email notification through your university email account if your financial aid offer has changed. Or simply check under the "Financial Aid" section of MyNIU.

  • 4

    Determine Your Estimated Costs

    The financial aid process may seem complicated, but it helps to get the full picture of all expenses involved and what you can expect to pay before and after financial aid.

    Learn more about your costs.

  • 5

    Accept/Decline Offered Federal Student Loans

    Once your FAFSA and additional documents have been received by NIU and processed, your financial aid package will be posted to your MyNIU "Financial Aid Award Summary." You must accept or decline your offered federal student loans. You may risk forfeiting your loans if they are not accepted in a timely manner. 

    Learn more about accepting/declining your student loans.

  • 6

    Complete Your Entrance Counseling/Master Promissory Note

    A crucial step!

    If you are a first-time Federal Direct loan borrower, you will need to complete entrance counseling and sign your Master Promissory Note.

    Find out more about the federal loans process.

  • 7

    Next Steps

    You may wish to explore these next steps related to managing your student account.

Huskie Spotlight

Etiemana Ikpidungise

I receive student aid, and this has helped the financial load of an everyday college student be more practical.

NIU School Code

Use NIU's School Code when completing the FAFSA.


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