A-Z Index

Guide to Financial Aid

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is money available from federal, state, university and private sources to help students and their families meet college costs. Financial aid will help pay for direct educational costs such as tuition, books and fees, as well as personal living expenses such as housing, food and transportation. Financial aid is designed to assist students with paying for the cost of attending college.

Who is eligible?

Almost anyone who needs financial assistance to attend Northwest may receive financial aid. However, pursuant to federal regulations, students must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for federal financial aid:

    • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
    • Have a valid Social Security number
    • Register (if you have not already) with the Selective Service, if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25
    • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school
    • Show you are qualified to obtain a postsecondary education

For additional requirements visit Student Aid Eligibility.

How is Cost of Attendance determined?

In order to determine your financial need for the Federal Assistance programs, Northwest will develop a Cost of Attendance (COA) budget as stipulated within the federal guidelines. This budget includes direct costs (charges that you are billed) such as tuition, technology fee, book usage fee, and room and board. The budget will also have estimated allowances for personal living expenses, transportation, and additional supplies, which are indirect costs (not billed to students). These costs are not paid to the University but are included for your planning purposes so that you have some idea of what type of financial resources you might additionally need. The student and/or parent may choose to borrow additionally in order to help meet some of these additional expenses.

All cost of attendance components are estimated costs. The tuition and fees component is based on 30 credit hours per year while actual charges will be based on the number of credit hours a student is enrolled in. The estimated room and board is based on a standard meal plan and the average housing cost on campus. This cost is included in the budget regardless of whether you live on campus or off, but your actual cost will be determined by your choice of meal plan and housing arrangement.

Example Budgets (based on 2020 - 2021 rates)

Budget: MO Resident Budget: Non-Resident

[*] Tuition  11,066

[*] Tuition  18,649

[*] Room/Board  10,122

[*] Room/Board  10,122

[*] Transportation  1,000

[*] Transportation  1,000

[*] Personal  1,575

[*] Personal  1,575

[*] Books/Supplies     400

[*]>Books/Supplies     400

 24,163  31,746

How will I know what I'm eligible for?

The information you reported on your FAFSA is used to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is calculated by a formula established by law. The EFC is not the amount of money that your family must provide. Rather, the EFC is an index which is used to determine how much financial aid (grants, loans, or work-study) you would receive if you were to attend our school. If your EFC is below a certain number, you will be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements. The amount of your Pell Grant depends on your EFC, your cost of attendance, and your enrollment status (full time, three-quarter time, half time, or less than half time).

The next step in determining your need and eligibility for other aid programs is to take the Cost of Attendance budget and subtract the EFC, Pell Grant eligibility, and any additional scholarship resources. The result is your remaining need.

Cost of Attendance
-Federal Pell Grant Eligibility
-Additional Scholarship Resources 
Remaining Financial Need 

The number determined for your remaining financial need will then be used to evaluate your eligibility for federal aid programs including Stafford Loans, Parent Plus Loans, and work-study eligibility.

What if I have special circumstances?

A financial aid administrator can consider special or unusual circumstances such as unusual medical expenses, tuition expenses, or unemployment and can adjust your cost of attendance or some of the information used to calculate your EFC. The financial aid administrator may also change your status from dependent to independent, but only under specific circumstances which the aid administrator will explain. You will have to provide the Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance with documentation to justify any change. The decision to change or not to change your dependency status is based on the aid administrator's judgment and is final. It cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.