Skip navigation

Financial Aid Rights, Responsibilities and Disclosures

As a current or prospective NIU student, you have many rights and responsibilities. This list is not exhaustive but highlights some of the key rights, responsibilities, and disclosures relevant to financial aid policies and procedures. This list is a companion to the Student Financial Aid brochure, available in person at the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.

Student's Rights

  • You have the right to privacy. All records and information submitted with your application for financial aid are confidential, and subject to legal requirements concerning disclosure of such information. Visit Registration and Records for more information.
  • You have the right to know the costs. This includes costs for tuition and fees, room and board, as well as the estimates for books and supplies, travel, and personal and miscellaneous expenses used in determining your financial aid cost of attendance. For more information see Costs. Actual tuition, fees, housing and dining and a list of common charges can be found at the Office of the Bursar. All of your charges are itemized on your statement of account available online through MyNIU.
  • You have the right to know what financial aid programs are available to you, including all federal, state, and university financial aid programs, including the procedures and forms necessary to apply, student eligibility requirements, selection criteria and criteria for determining the amount of a student’s award for these programs.
  • You have the right to know how to apply for financial aid. For more information, see Financial Aid Process.
  • You have the right to know how your financial aid eligibility was determined which includes what resources were considered in the calculation of your financial aid eligibility (such as the expected family contribution and other financial aid). Please review your financial aid award, the financial aid homepage and MyNIU. You may also call or visit the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and speak with an advisor.
  • You have the right to request a reduction or cancellation for your Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, PLUS Loan or Federal Perkins Loan within 14 days of its disbursement, unless a refund of loan funds has already been issued by the Office of the Bursar. Remember that a student loan is a debt that must be repaid; borrow only what is needed.
  • You have a right to know the academic standards you must maintain in order to have continued financial aid eligibility, commonly known as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Read SAP standards.

Student's Responsibilities

  • It is your responsibility to obtain and complete any necessary financial aid application forms and submit them in a timely manner. You must read and understand all forms you are asked to sign and keep a copy of each.
  • It is your responsibility to regularly check your MyNIU and NIU student email account for correspondence from NIU and the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.
  • It is your responsibility to keep your parents informed of all financial aid requirements and deadlines, as well as the status of your Office of the Bursar student account (dependent students).
  • It is your responsibility to provide complete and correct information. Purposely reporting false or misleading information is a violation of the law and may be considered a criminal offense.
  • It is your responsibility to notify the NIU Office of Registration and Records (and any lenders with whom you have loans) if there are changes in your name or permanent mailing address.
  • It is your responsibility to contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office if you want your loan reduced or canceled. Once you have completed the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note, and completed Loan Entrance Counseling if you are a first-time borrower, the semester portion of the requested loan amount will disburse to your NIU Office of the Bursar student account. You will receive a loan disbursement notification via email at the time your loan funds credit to your bursar’s account. You must contact our office in writing within 14 days of receiving the loan disbursement notification if you want the loan reduced or canceled, unless a refund of loan funds has already been issued by the Office of the Bursar.
  • It is your responsibility to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress policies and standards of NIU in order to maintain financial aid eligibility.
  • It is your responsibility to report to the NIU Financial Aid and Scholarship Office any money you receive from sources outside of NIU (i.e. Rotary Scholarships, employee reimbursement, other scholarships, etc.).
  • It is your responsibility to begin attendance in all of the classes for which you receive financial aid. Federal financial aid may be reduced or canceled if you withdraw from or fail a class that you have never attended. Academic attendance includes physically attending a class meeting, submitting an academic assignment, taking an exam or participating in an online discussion that is part of a course delivery.
  • It is your responsibility to be aware of the financial aid policy regarding repeated coursework. Federal financial aid can be used for repeated courses which were previously failed. However, for courses in which you previously received a passing grade ("D" or better) federal financial aid can only be used for one repeat; after that the course will not be covered.

Other Disclosures

Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

  • be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • be registered with Selective Service (if male)
  • be admitted to a degree or certificate Under limited exceptions a Student-at-Large may be eligible for financial aid. (Download the Non-Degree Financial Aid Eligibility Request Form.)
  • be making satisfactory academic progress
  • not owe a refund on a federal grant
  • not be in default on a federal educational loan
  • be enrolled half-time to receive federal student loans. Other financial aid may be available if not enrolled at least half-time
  • not have been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs while enrolled and receiving federal student aid. For more information visit Federal Student Aid.

Enrollment Requirements

  • Students must be enrolled in courses for credit. Coursework taken on an audit basis does not qualify for Title IV financial aid.
  • Undergraduate students taking a combination of undergraduate and graduate coursework will only be eligible for financial aid based on undergraduate coursework.
  • Graduate students taking a combination of undergraduate and graduate coursework will only be eligible for financial aid based on graduate coursework.
  • Visiting students are not eligible for financial aid at Visiting students may consider pursuing a consortium agreement with their home institution, or applying for private loans.

Financial Aid Award Notification and Disbursement

When financial aid eligibility is determined, a financial aid award notification is posted to the student’s MyNIU Initial financial aid awards for all first time undergraduates are also mailed to their permanent home address. Students will receive notification if changes in financial aid eligibility results in a change to an award. It is your responsibility to review your award notification.

Financial aid awards that are prepared prior to the start of a semester are based on an assumption of full-time enrollment (at least 12 credit hours per semester or in the case of the State of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant, 15 credit hours per semester). Financial aid will be recalculated based on actual enrollment prior to the first billing statement for a semester and periodically through the end of the add/drop period. You must access MyNIU to accept, reduce, or decline student loans and federal work study. Read more about award notification and disbursement.

At the beginning of each semester, the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office posts the date that disbursements will first be available on the homepage. Financial aid funds are disbursed to your Office of the Bursar student account on a semester-by-semester basis after the add/drop period. If your student account has a credit balance, after all financial aid funds have been disbursed, you will be refunded the excess balance. You are eligible to receive those excess funds within 14 days from the date the credit balance occurs.

Return of Federal Financial Aid Funds When a Student Withdraws From the University

All students who withdraw from NIU are subject to the Title IV Return of Funds policy. During the first 60 percent of the enrollment period, a student earns Title IV funds in direct proportion to the length of time he/she is The percentage of aid earned is determined by the date the student officially withdraws, the total number of calendar days in the enrollment period, and the calendar days the student completed during the period of enrollment.

University Refund Policy

Read the University Refund Policy. For additional information, visit the Office of the Bursar.

Veterans Benefits

NIU processes educational benefits for veterans who are enrolled in a degree or certificate-seeking program. Veterans who have not applied for federal or state benefits can learn how at Military and Post-Traditional Student Services.

Summary of Major Financial Aid Programs

Federal Grants

Program Description Eligibility Terms

Federal Pell Grant

  • Federally funded
  • Gift aid
  • Need-based; determined by EFC
  • Undergraduate students working toward their first bachelor’s degree
  • Undergraduate students who have not yet received 12 full semesters of
  • Pell Grant eligibility
  • Award is based on full-time enrollment (at least 12 credit hours per semester). If taking less than 12 hours, the awarded amount will prorate per program regulations. (12+ hours= full- time award, 9-11 hours = three-quarter-time award, 6-8
  • hours= half-time award, less than 6 hours=less than half-time award)

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

  • Federally funded
  • Gift aid
  • Need-based; limited funding
  • Undergraduate students working toward their first bachelor’s degree
  • Student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) must be $0.
  • Three-quarter-time enrollment (at least 9 credit hours per semester), except during the semester a student is graduating if proper documentation is submitted
  • Award amounts vary based on available funding.
  • The amount of FSEOG, in combination with other need-based financial aid, cannot exceed demonstrated financial aid need

TEACH Grant (Teacher Education

Assistance for College and Higher Education)

  • Federally funded
  • Gift aid that reverts to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan if service requirements are not satisfied
  • Non-need-based
  • Undergraduate junior and senior, or graduate student
  • Enrollment in coursework to teach in high-need field (bilingual education and English language acquisition; foreign language; mathematics; reading specialist; science; special education)
  • 3.25 cumulative GPA
  • Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and meet with a designated
  • academic advisor
  • $4,000 each year if enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours per semester). Like Federal Pell Grant, the TEACH Grant will prorate for enrollment less than full-time
  • Must agree to teach in a high-need field serving low-income students
  • Must teach for 4 full years within 8 years of receiving the grant
  • TEACH Grant reverts to Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (with interest from the date the grant was disbursed) if recipient does not complete service obligation
  • TEACH Grant, in combination with other financial aid, cannot exceed the recipient’s Cost of Attendance

State of Illinois Grants

Program Description Eligibility Terms

State of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant

  • Illinois funded
  • Gift aid
  • Need-based
  • Undergraduate working toward first bachelor’s degree
  • Illinois resident (If you are a dependent, the parent whose information is used on the FAFSA must be an Illinois resident.)
  • Sophomore standing students who have accumulated 75 MAP Eligibility Units become ineligible but may regain eligibility once they attain Junior standing; students who have accumulated 135 MAP Eligibility Units are not eligible. For more information please visit http://www.isac.org/
  • Award amounts vary, based on financial need
  • Non-refundable tuition and mandatory fee grant
  • Full award requires 15 credit hours per semester; partial award can be disbursed with enrollment between 3-14 credit hours per semester
  • Award amounts are initially offered based on the assumption of full-time enrollment of 15 credit hours per semester. Proximate to the start a term, MAP Grants will be adjusted to reflect actual registration. For each credit hour less than 15, the MAP Grant will prorate, or reduce, per program regulations.
  • This award is an estimate. MAP Grant funding levels are appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly. Please be aware that, in light of state funding constraints, reductions to estimated or actual MAP grants are possible
  • The amount of MAP Grant, in combination with other need- based financial aid, cannot exceed demonstrated financial aid need
  • Awards are only offered for the fall and spring terms

Northern Illinois University Grants

Program Description Eligibility Terms

Huskie Advantage

  • NIU funded
  • Gift aid
  • Based on a percentage of unmet need using the federal ability to pay or Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and a combination of other factors including academic credentials
  • Qualified first-time undergraduate students who are enrolled full-time for their first and second years
  • A change to the EFC and/or grant and scholarship aid (i.e., Pell and MAP Grants, Special Education Teacher Scholarship, State Veterans' awards, institutional awards) not reflected on your initial award notification may reduce or eliminate the Huskie Advantage Grant
  • Awards are only offered for the fall and spring terms
  • The amount of Huskie Advantage, in combination with other need-based financial aid, cannot exceed demonstrated financial aid need
  • Non-refundable

Huskie Advantage 2

  • NIU funded
  • Gift aid
  • Based on financial need using the federal ability to pay or Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and a combination of other factors including academic credentials
  • Qualified entering transfer and continuing undergraduate students with less than two years of college level enrollment, have a freshman or
  • sophomore status and are enrolled full-time
  • A change to the EFC and/or grant and scholarship aid (i.e., Pell and MAP Grants, Special Education Teacher Scholarship, State Veterans' awards, institutional awards) not reflected on your initial award notification may reduce or eliminate the Huskie Advantage Grant
  • Awards are only offered for the fall and spring terms
  • The amount of Huskie Advantage, in combination with other need-based financial aid, cannot exceed demonstrated financial aid need
  • Non-refundable

Find out more information about NIU merit based scholarships.

Federal Work Study

Program Description Eligibility Terms

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

  • Award is funded partially by federal funds and partially by the NIU employing department
  • Award is earned as wages, through bi- monthly paycheck, for work performed for eligible on- and off- campus employers
  • Need-based
  • Undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours per semester for fall and spring semesters; 3 credit hours for summer semester)
  • Undergraduates not enrolled for summer semester may have eligibility
  • Limited graduate participation for fall and spring semesters only, must be enrolled full-time (9 credit hours each semester)
  • Award amounts vary based on available funding.
  • Locate and interview for jobs by reviewing job listing on NIU Student Employment web site
  • Work-Study wages do NOT appear on your university account; students earn a paycheck for work performed
  • The amount of FWS, in combination with other need-based financial aid, cannot exceed demonstrated financial aid need

Federal Loans

Program Description Eligibility Terms

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

  • Federally funded
  • Must be repaid
  • Fixed interest rates are federally regulated and set annually July 1st

    See table
  • Need-based
  • Enrolled at least half-time
    • Undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and student-at-large students must be enrolled 6 credit hours per semester for fall, spring, and summer semesters
    • Graduate and law students are not eligible Direct Subsidized Loans.
  • Repayment is deferred and there is no interest while enrolled at least half-time
  • See table for origination fee
  • Undergraduate students scheduled to graduate after fall semester will have their loan eligibility prorated, per program regulations, according to the number of credit hours enrolled
  • Award amounts vary, based on cumulative hours earned
  • First-time borrowers must complete online Loan Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note
  • The amount of Direct Subsidized Loan, in combination with other need-based financial aid, cannot exceed demonstrated financial aid need

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

  • Federally funded
  • Must be repaid
  • Fixed interest rates are federally regulated and set annually July 1st

    See table
  • Non-need-based
  • Enrolled at least half-time
    • Undergraduate, post- baccalaureate, student-at-large students must be enrolled 6 credit hours per semester for fall, spring, and summer semesters.
    • Graduate students must be enrolled 4.5 credit hours per semester for fall and spring semesters; 3 hours for summer.
    • Law students must be enrolled 6 credit hours per semester for fall and spring semesters; 4 hours for summer.
  • Interest begins accruing immediately; may be paid periodically or capitalized (see promissory note)
  • Repayment of principal deferred while enrolled at least half-time
  • See table for origination fee
  • Undergraduate students scheduled to graduate after fall semester will have their loan eligibility prorated, per program regulations, according to the number of credit hours enrolled
  • Award amounts vary, based on cumulative hours earned
  • First-time student borrowers must complete both the online Loan Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note
  • The amount of Direct Unsubsidized Loan, in combination with
  • other financial aid, cannot exceed the recipient’s Cost of Attendance

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan and Grad PLUS Loan

  • Federally funded
  • Must be repaid
  • Fixed interest rates are federally regulated and set annually

    See table
  • Non-need-based
  • Loan amounts vary, based on borrower’s request
  • Parent PLUS Loan borrower is the parent of an undergraduate dependent student; Grad PLUS Loan borrower is a graduate or law student
  • Enrolled at least half-time
    • Undergraduate, post- baccalaureate, student-at-large students must be enrolled 6 credit hours per semester for fall, spring, and summer semesters.
    • Graduate students must be enrolled 4.5 credit hours per semester for fall and spring semesters; 3 hours for summer.
    • Law students must be enrolled 6 credit hours per semester for fall and spring semesters; 4 hours for summer.
  • Borrower must meet credit- worthiness standards as set forth by Federal Direct Lending
  • This loan will be included on your award notification only if a separate application is submitted
  • In order to apply the student must file a FAFSA and receive an award letter
  • PLUS repayment of principal and interest begins 60 days after the loan is disbursed.
  • See table for origination fee
  • Grad PLUS borrowers qualify for “in school” deferment while enrolled at least half-time
  • First-time Grad PLUS or Parent PLUS borrowers must complete the online Master Promissory Note
  • First-time Grad PLUS Loan borrowers, and any borrower who previously completed the entrance counseling prior to July 1, 2011, must complete the online Loan Entrance Counseling
  • The amount of loan, in combination with other financial aid, cannot exceed the recipient’s Cost of Attendance

Federal Perkins Loan

  • Federally funded
  • Must be repaid
  • 5% fixed interest rate
  • Need-based, limited funding
  • Undergraduate working towards first bachelor’s degree
  • Enrolled full-time, except the semester graduating, if proper documentation is submitted. See your Financial Aid Counselor
  • Based on available funding
  • Award amounts vary based on cumulative hours and available funding
  • Repayment is deferred and there is no interest while enrolled at least half-time (see promissory note)
  • The amount of Perkins Loan, in combination with other need based financial aid, cannot exceed demonstrated financial aid need

It is important to note that financial aid eligibility is determined in accordance with the laws, regulations and funding levels of the U.S. Congress, Department of Education, State of Illinois and Northern Illinois University, and is subject to adjustment or cancellation in the event of changes to these laws, funding levels or your eligibility.

Information on Northern Illinois University and other institutions may be found at College Scorecards in the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center.