After you have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and supplied any requested documents, you’ll receive a notification from NIU indicating what financial aid you are eligible to receive, including federal, state and NIU grants, federal loans, work-study and NIU scholarships.
The aid you receive will be based on your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and the Cost of Attendance (COA). Read more about EFC and COA in our introduction to financial aid.
If you’re an incoming freshman or a new transfer student, you’ll receive your award notification by the end of March. We generally send award notifications to continuing students in May.
Accepting or Declining Your Award
Be sure to check MyNIU regularly for updates from our office. You must accept or decline your awards in a timely manner or you run the risk of losing the funding or being charged incorrectly.
- Log in to MyNIU’s Student Center via NIU app or myniu.niu.edu.
- Click on the Financial Aid Tile.
- Select the current year to view/accept/decline awards. You also have the option to adjust the award amounts.
For example: Lets say you are offered a loan, and you need the loan, but not as much as is listed on the award letter. You simply adjust the amount of the loan and then accept. Or, you can decline the offer if you don't need the loan.
- Choose "Accept/Decline" in the menu, then click on the "Accept/Decline Awards" button above the listed awards. Note: Grants and Scholarships are automatically accepted for you.
- For each award, choose your award decision. When you are finished, click on the green "Submit" button, then answer "Yes" to submit the award decisions.
- To view your updated account balance, click on the red "Student Homepage" button, then "Financial Account" to see the updated pending financial aid in the Account Balance.
If accepting a Federal Direct Loan for the first time, you will need to complete entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note before the loan will be disbursed. Entrance counseling is done online at the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Office (also known as studentloans.gov).
You can also read more about federal loans and their requirements.
Maintaining Your Award
There are several things that can affect your disbursement of funds as well as your total Cost of Attendance (COA). Below are some scenarios that may affect your disbursement and COA and what you need to do.
Adding and dropping classes, as well as withdrawal from NIU, can affect your financial aid package.
Your financial aid award package is based on full-time enrollment. Any change in your credit hours not only affects the current semester, but also affects future terms for aid eligibility.
If you have not completed at least 60 percent of the term before withdrawal, you may be responsible for paying back the financial aid you received. Read the Student Rights and Responsibilities disclosure for more information.
Talk to a financial aid counselor and your academic advisor before making any changes to your schedule to ensure that you do not need to repay funding you received.
You may not realize that federal financial aid can be reduced or canceled if you withdraw from or fail a class that you have never attended. Please review the rules about class attendance that you need to know to stay in good standing.
You must make satisfactory academic progress or you run the risk of losing funding in the form of grants and scholarships. Attendance minimums must be maintained also to keep your financial aid package.
Generally, financial aid eligibility is based on the previous year’s income information. If your financial situation has changed substantially during the year or since completing the FAFSA, you can contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office to request a reevaluation of your financial aid need.
Circumstances that can be considered include the following:
- Loss of income (wages, benefits) because of unemployment (job loss, employment change) change in health, or change in your or your parents’ marital status.
- High unreimbursed medical and/or dental expenses.
- Higher cost of attendance due to specific circumstances, such as higher than usual book and supply expenses, commuting costs, or child care costs. (Please note that these circumstances only increase potential loan eligibility.)
A consortium agreement is a written agreement between two eligible schools for the purpose of providing financial assistance to the student. If you are currently pursuing your degree at NIU (NIU is your home school) but wish to attend another institution for a semester or year, then you must initiate a consortium agreement. Classes must be taken for credit towards your NIU degree. Financial aid will not cover audit hours or remedial coursework.
An NIU student's enrollment in a program of study abroad offered, administered and hosted by another institution that is approved for credit by NIU through the consortium agreement process and procedures may be considered enrollment at NIU for the purpose of applying for federal financial aid.
If NIU is not your home school, you must initiate a consortium agreement with your home school.
Financial aid is available for qualified students seeking degrees through the NIU-Community College Pathways.
Financial aid is awarded to a qualified student by the college where the student is seeking his or her degree. If you are currently seeking an associate’s degree, you would apply for financial aid from the community college. If you are currently seeking a bachelor’s degree (because you have already completed an associate’s degree or completing an associate’s degree is not in your plans), you would apply for financial assistance through NIU and would also need to initiate a consortium agreement.
Most types of financial aid can be used to pay the costs for participating in an NIU administered or approved co-sponsored study abroad program. Students must complete the FAFSA to apply for aid. The student works with the Study Abroad Office to have the budget for the program sent to our office. That budget is then used to determine the student’s financial aid eligibility for the program. Contact the Division of International Programs, or refer to their website for additional information.
NIU School Code
Use NIU's School Code when completing the FAFSA.