Student Loans

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Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP)

The FDLP program consists of Federal Direct Loans and PLUS/GradPLUS Loans.

Federal Direct Loans

  • Fixed-rate student loans
  • For undergraduate students, loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized
  • For graduate students, loans are unsubsidized
  • Must attend college at least half-time
  • The most common and one of the lowest-cost ways to pay for school
  • Find out about loan limits

PLUS Loans

For parents of a dependent student or for graduate/professional students. For more information on PLUS/GradPLUS loans and loan limits, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Perkins Loan

A Federal Perkins loan is a low-interest, need-based loan for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Eligibility for the Federal Perkins Loan is determined by the Financial Aid Office.

Authorization to award new Federal Perkins Loans ends on September 30th, 2015.

Find out about loan limits.

Private Loans

Private alternative loans should be utilized only after all other financial aid resources have been exhausted. Private loan interest rates can be fixed or variable and are often based on credit plus an index such as PRIME or LIBOR.

 To apply for a private loan:

  1. Research and choose your lender. Consult Northwestern's preferred lender list or view other private loan options. (Students have the option to choose a lender not listed on Northwestern’s preferred lender list.)
  2. Apply for the loan, following the steps the lender provides.
  3. Private loans can take 2-3 weeks to process. It is recommended that students begin applying for private loans before the trimester starts.

The amount you borrow will be split evenly between two trimesters. For example, if you borrow $5,000, your loan will split evenly: $2,500 for fall and $2,500 for winter.

Canadian and Provincial Loans

Canadian students can apply for Canadian and Provincial Loans.

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