A-Z Index

Applying for Financial Aid

How Do I Apply For Federal Student Aid?

Complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on the Web (Northwest Federal School Code: 002496).

  • You and your parents will need to request an FSA ID and password to access this application.
  • If you apply without an FSA ID, print signature page and mail to central processor.
  • Renewal applications require your FSA ID to access the application

Why apply early?

Apply October 1 as the FAFSA will use prior-prior year tax return information.

  • For consideration of state programs (FAFSA must be processed before February 1)
  • For programs with limited funding (will be processed on a first completed basis)
  • To avoid finance charges
  • So aid will credit timely to your account and any refunds can be ready when you verify

What is the ISIR?

  • Northwest receives an ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record) when you apply online and list our school code.
  • You will receive an e-mail from processor. Check the record to be sure all data is correct.

What is verification?

  • Approximately one-third of all applicants are selected to have their information reported on the FAFSA verified.
  • If you are selected, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance will request tax return transcripts, W-2's (student and parents if applicable) and verification worksheets.
  • Other information may be requested as needed to clarify reported information.
  • View Verification forms

What is the award letter?

An award letter lists all institutional scholarships and federal and state aid offered to attend Northwest. You will need to:

  • Access your secure account on CatPAWS
  • Accept or decline loans and submit your electronic response
  • Report additional outside resources or scholarships
  • Complete Direct Loan MPN (Master Promissory Note) for first loan taken at: A single MPN is used for all Direct Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) while at Northwest.
  • Complete Entrance Counseling (first-time borrowers at Northwest only) at
  • Apply for Parent Plus loans at
  • Parents complete Master Promissory Note (MPN) - (for first-time borrowers)

What is academic progress?

To be eligible to receive federal, state, and private student aid, students must maintain satisfactory progress toward a degree or certificate. This is measured qualitatively by GPA and quantitatively by the percentage of hours successfully completed.

If you have circumstances beyond your control that contribute to your lack of academic progress, you may petition a review of your situation. Complete the petition form and submit to Office of Student Financial Assistance. Petitions are reviewed weekly and students will be notified by e-mail of the results.

What about summer aid?

Every summer term undergraduate students must complete a separate paper application to be eligible for Summer Financial Aid. That Application can be found on our forms page. Graduate students are packaged year round, and do not need to complete this separate application.

Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is part of the student employment program established to help students finance their education and compliment their educational experience through work. The Federal Work-Study Program encourages the part-time employment of students who need the income to help pay their cost of education and encourages FWS recipients to participate in community service activities.

Visit our online job search

Outside Resources

Private Scholarships

There are agencies outside the University (such as community service organizations and churches) that provide financial assistance to qualified students. Check with high school counselors and local organizations about the possibility of such funding.
  • It is the student's responsibility to contact donors regarding receipt of private scholarship checks. As a general rule, the Office of Scholarships & Financial Assistance does not bill for private scholarships.
  • Private scholarships do not credit to a specific installment but are applied to the entire semesters' charges and the resulting balance is divided by the remaining installments.
  • Unless specific instructions indicating the method of disbursement are given, or information is given that a second check is coming, private scholarships will be applied to the term in which they are received.
  • If private scholarship recipients also are receiving federal financial assistance, any private scholarship dollars received could result in the adjustment (reduction) of some federal aid programs, such as work-study or the loan programs.

Vocational Rehabilitation

If you have any physical or emotional disability which could negatively affect your academic or vocational ability, you may be eligible for educational benefits. Contact your local vocational rehabilitation office for more information.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

If you are of Native American descent, you may be eligible for educational benefits. Contact your tribal council for information.