Financial Aid for International Students
Northwestern University offers need-based financial aid awards to a small group of international students. Citizens of foreign countries who apply for financial aid will be reviewed as a separate group.
The usual selective admission criteria are the main factors in the admission committee's decision. In addition, and unlike the process for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the amount of financial aid needed by an applicant may also be a factor in a final admission decision. As a result of this need-aware approach and the limited funds available to students, Northwestern's acceptance rate for international applicants requesting aid is less favorable than the rate of acceptance for those students not requesting aid.
Only those students who apply for and receive financial aid for their freshman year will be eligible to receive financial assistance in subsequence years. There is no financial aid available for international transfer applicants.
International students receiving financial aid from Northwestern must still plan to contribute to funding their educational expenses. For example, students will be responsible for travel expenses to the U.S. from their home country. Northwestern University cannot assume responsibility for economic changes such as currency fluctuation, nor can it replace lost support that a student may have expected to receive from relatives, sponsors, or government, and corporate grants.
The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid has the most detailed and current information about Northwestern's international financial aid policy and further instructions on how to correctly complete financial aid forms.
Students in the process of obtaining lawful permanent residency status in the United States should be aware that they cannot be considered for federal financial aid until they receive actual documentation of their immigration status.
The following is a list of acceptable documentation that establish aid eligibility.
For Permanent Residents
- Permanent Resident Card (formerly called Resident Alien Card): Form I-551 (also acceptable is the no longer used Alien Registration Receipt Card: Form I-151)
- Arrival/Departure Record: Form I-94 (current) with an A-Number annotated on it with one of the following endorsements:
- "Processed for I-551..." with valid expiration date
- "Temporary Form I-551..." with appropriate entry information, date, and signature
- Home country passport endorses "Processed for I-551" with valid expiration date
For Other Eligible Non-Citizens
Other non-citizens may be eligible for federal financial aid. The most commonly presented evidence is a current I-94 with a stamp indicating specific status such as refugee. If you have specific questions about your status, please contact us.
International Students Planning to Pursue Advanced Degrees
International students receiving need-based financial aid from Northwestern for their undergraduate degree should be aware that this funding will not continue if they choose to pursue medical school, law school, graduate school, or any other professional studies at Northwestern University.
Working at Northwestern
Although international students are welcome and encouraged to find on-campus employment to help pay for the cost of their education, employment on student visas is limited and the rules of employment are strictly enforced. International students who find work on-campus while studying are unlikely to earn enough money to pay for a significant portion of their expenses.