How to Pay for Northwestern

Highly ranked for its undergraduate, business, education, medical, and law programs, Northwestern brings its top-tier education to three different campuses. But, like most top colleges, it comes at a cost.

As you consider how to pay for Feinberg, Pritzker, Kellogg, or any other program at Northwestern, take into account not only what it will cost, but also the various sources of aid that can help lower the financial burden of your degree.

How much does it cost to attend Northwestern?

Before figuring out how to pay for Northwestern, you’ll need to know how much it costs to attend and whether or not you’ll pay the full price once financial aid and student loans are taken into account. In the 2015-2016 school year, Northwestern undergraduate students paid $48,624 in tuition, for a total estimate of $65,380 per year including expenses such as room and board, fees, and books.

Graduate tuition costs vary slightly as does the total amount of additional expenses. Students at Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern paid $58,098 in tuition this past year for an estimated total spend of $83,296 per year.

Kellogg business students were charged $64,059 in tuition, pushing total yearly expenses closer to more than $93,000.

Medical students at Feinberg paid approximately $55,000 for tuition and $85,000 in total for the year. That’s significantly less than Kellogg students, but keep in mind that medical students will be there for four years as compared to two for business school.

What kind of financial aid does Northwestern offer?

Ranked in the top 20 most expensive colleges for multiple years in a row, it’s no surprise that Northwestern offers substantial financial aid to attract students. Northwestern is one of few private undergraduate institutions to meet each student’s full financial need or the difference between what their family can contribute and the cost of attendance. This is achieved through Northwestern scholarships (which totaled $138 million in the 2014-2015 school year and were awarded to 45% of undergraduates), state and federal grants, and outside scholarships.

There are nearly a dozen Northwestern undergraduate scholarships, many of which are designed to help students avoid loan debt. The Debt Cap Scholarship, for example, sets a maximum for the debt students will incur from need-based federal loans by providing scholarship funds to replace any amount above the set “cap”.

Another, the No-Loan Arch Scholarship, which will be offered for the first time in the 2016-2017 academic year, pledges to award financial aid packages without need-based student loans. That is, any student who qualifies for need-based loans will receive that same amount of money in the form of a No-Loan Arch Scholarship.

Other university scholarships include the Good Neighbor, Great University scholarship (awarded to graduates of high schools in Evanston and Chicago), the Karr Achievement Scholarship, and the Founders Scholarship, among others.

Graduate students are unfortunately less likely to graduate without loans.

Feinberg medical students have the option of taking out federal loans to cover 100% of their costs. Financial aid packages from Feinberg may include federal loans, merit-based scholarships, and need-based grants. The financial aid site also lists a number of external scholarships that students can apply for to cover more of their costs.

Pritzker law students are awarded scholarships and grants based on a combination of financial need and merit and scholarships are automatically renewed for all three years.

Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships (conveniently listed here by scholarship type) and writing competitions. Pritzker is also committed to assisting new lawyers practicing in the fields of public interest and government, in hopes that they will stay in these jobs long enough for full loan repayment to kick in, as many students in the current system have to leave for private sector jobs in order to pay the bills.

On top of the federal income-based repayment program, which allows you to make smaller loan payments but does not cover the interest due on the loan, Pritzker offers a Loan Repayment Assistance Program that helps graduates pay down some of this interest. In addition, the Interest Freedom Program at Pritzker assists graduates in their first year of loan repayment who earn less than $90,000 per year with their interest payments.

Students at Kellogg also have a number of both merit and need-based scholarship options. All admitted students who complete a FAFSA application will be considered for the KSM Scholarship, KSM MMM Scholarship, and KSM Diversity Scholarship. These awards will be renewed in the student’s second year at Kellogg. There are also scholarships available to MBA/MMM and MD/MBA program participants.

What kinds of extras should I expect to pay for at Northwestern?

Given Northwestern is close to the Windy City (or in it if you’re on the Chicago campus), make sure you’re prepared for weather of all types—sun, rain, and snow. If you come from a more temperate climate, leave some wiggle room in your budget for winter clothes.

As for transportation options, it’s highly recommended not to bring a car if you’re living on campus. Northwestern provides a number of shuttles, making it easy for students to get around and between campuses. The good news here is that you’ll avoid the costs associated with car ownership, which can add up when you take gas, parking, car and insurance payments, and (if you’re unlucky) tickets.

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