The financial aid application season is officially upon us. With the 2016-2017 CSS PROFILE now available and application deadlines just around the corner, we want to share some helpful tips with our readers.

Before we jump into these, let’s first discuss the financial aid application requirements. At Northeastern, incoming freshmen and transfer students who are interested in applying for financial aid must complete two forms. The first of which is the College Board’s CSS Financial Aid PROFILE. The CSS PROFILE collects financial information from both the student and parent(s) and is used to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based institutional dollars. For those who are applying Early Decision or Early Action, be sure to submit your CSS PROFILE before the deadline date to receive a tentative financial aid award along with your admissions decision. When submitting your CSS PROFILE, include Northeastern as a recipient by using our school code, 3667. There is an associated fee of $25 to send your completed PROFILE to the first school and $16 for each subsequent school. Some students may be eligible for a fee waiver, as determined by College Board.

In addition to completing the CSS PROFILE, students must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form, which can be completed at no cost, is at the center of the financial aid world. The FAFSA allows students the opportunity to be considered for financial assistance from both federal and state sources. Similar to the CSS PROFILE, you must include our school code to ensure we receive your information. For the FAFSA, this code is 002199.

If this is the first time you’re hearing of these forms, don’t panic. There is still plenty of time to apply. We suggest keeping these tips in mind to help you navigate the process.

1. Be mindful of all deadlines. Our priority filing deadlines are always posted on our website. They vary by student population, so make sure to review the appropriate information. Below are the priority filing deadlines for incoming freshman and transfer applicants,


Blog Post_Deadlines


2. Submit your financial aid application materials as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have received your admissions decision or completed your taxes to apply for financial aid.

3. Use our Net Price Calculator for an estimated financial aid award and out of pocket cost based on your

4. When completing the FAFSA, take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if you’re eligible. This tool populates the information from your completed tax return directly onto the FAFSA, simplifying the process for you.

5. Be consistent when completing all required forms and application materials.

We understand that the financial aid application process can be complex. If you have questions or need assistance, let us know!

To learn more about financial aid, receive updates and reminders about deadlines and engage with our office, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!





For many, January 1 signifies the start of a new year, creating resolutions and spending time with family and friends finishing up the holiday leftovers. For those who currently attend college, or will be that fall, this date likely stands out for a different reason. On January 1, students and families can officially begin completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which all colleges and universities require as part of the financial aid application process.

Currently, the FAFSA is completed using prior year tax figures. For example, a student who will be completing the FAFSA for the 2016-2017 academic year, will be asked to provide tax information for the 2015 tax year. For some families, this can be challenging, as the information being requested pertains to tax forms not due until April 2016. As a result, many families use prior year returns and most recent W2’s to estimate the information and are instructed to return to the FAFSA to update it once they have completed their returns. This process, however, is about to change.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced a new initiative to simplify the way in which students apply for financial aid. Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, applicants will enter information from two years prior onto the FAFSA. The use of prior-prior year tax figures, commonly known as PPY in the financial aid world, is part of President Obama’s plan to make applying for and accessing financial aid easier for students. Asking families to report information from an already completed tax year will reduce the need to estimate their tax figures. A larger number of applicants will also be able to take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which populates their tax information from the IRS directly onto the FAFSA, easing the overall process.

In addition to using figures from an earlier tax year, the FAFSA will also become available three months prior each year, in October, rather than January. This allows families to begin the financial aid application process sooner and potentially have additional time to review their financial aid awards, submit additional materials and consider all available options.

Here is a quick breakdown,


If you want to learn more about how this initiative benefits students, check out this video from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), http://www.nasfaa.org/ppystudents.

Remember, this is effective beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA. When completing your 2016-2017 FAFSA, which becomes available January 1, 2016, be sure to use 2015 tax figures!

To know more about financial aid, receive updates and reminders about deadlines and engage with our office, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Earlier this year a brand new Center for Financial Independence (CFI) opened its doors in 101 Curry Student Center (located on the first floor of the indoor quad – the same space where the Student Employment Office used to be). The center’s mission is to support all Northeastern students in their pursuit and achievement of financial literacy and, ultimately, independence in managing their personal finances during college and beyond. Financial literacy is a core competency for Northeastern graduates. Both recent graduates, as well as current students, need basic financial management skills, such as investing, budgeting and understanding employment benefits (401K, health reimbursement, HMO/PPO) and student loans. Possessing a knowledge of these topics will allow students to make educated financial decisions both now, and in the future.

The center’s idea incubator, called thrive, is a student-driven program geared toward students with an interest in money management and personal finance. Through thrive, the center not only educates students about money management, but also empowers them through innovation. Currently, CFI is the only completely student-driven center in the country. With student involvement being a central component at Northeastern, and after researching financial literacy and programs offered at institutions across the nation, it only seemed natural to involve students in the development of CFI every step of the way.

Students are encouraged to submit their ideas through thrive and are evaluated by the student board, focusing on content, overall idea and topic. These proposals may include, but are not limited to, traditional presentations, seminars, workshops, and even technology, such as mobile applications. thrive inspires and assists students in turning their ideas into reality, from the creation and presentation all the way through final assessments. Funding is available on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the scope of the proposal. With the inclusion of students in all aspects of thrive, the programming, technology, and content remains interesting and relevant to the student body.

Since opening its doors this past spring, the Center for Financial Independence has provided some great programming for students. From Grads to Grownups, a networking event where students have the opportunity to chat with recent Northeastern alumni, Loan Counseling sessions, providing students with a brief overview of their responsibilities as a borrower, and a three-part Personal Finance Bootcamp this summer, which covered topics including budgeting, credit and investments, there is something for everyone. And, with a new academic year just around the corner, the center has already lined up some unique sessions and events in the coming months. The center will be hosting a series of Open Houses throughout September to give students an opportunity to learn more about thrive and the center, so be sure to stop by!

If you want to register for a program or a workshop, have an idea, or just want to be involved, send an email to cfi@neu.edu, check out the website, or stop by 101 Curry Student Center. Be sure to also keep an eye on CFI’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr) under “NUthrive” for updates on content and programming!

With the fall semester quickly approaching and students and families gearing up for a new academic year, you may have a few things on your “To Do” list. Attend orientation if you are a first-year student, order books for your new courses and find some clubs and organizations to join around campus. Part of preparing for a new year also involves ensuring your student account is in good standing and that a resolution is in place for any outstanding balance. As part of this process, you may be considering alternative financing options to help cover your family contribution. We understand it can be a lot of information to digest and are here to assist in clearing up some of those questions you might have.

At Northeastern, families may use a combination of options to help cover their family contribution. These resources, which include a monthly payment plan and supplemental financing options, such as the Federal Direct PLUS loan and private student loans, can also be used in addition to current family income and savings.

The monthly payment plan, administered through TuitionPay, allows students and families to divide their educational expenses into smaller, more manageable monthly installments. This is not a loan, as there is no interest involved; just a nominal enrollment fee. The plan lengths range from nine, ten or eleven months or on the shorter end, four or five months. The longer plans are intended to cover costs for an academic year while the shorter plans, four or five months, are intended for one semester’s costs.

If additional resources are needed, there are also a number of parent and student loan options available to those who qualify. These are credit-based and vary with regard to interest rate, repayment options, application process, etc. For additional information regarding these options, including a list of lenders commonly utilized by students at Northeastern, be sure to check out our website. Please keep in mind this list is not exhaustive, so please do not feel restricted to selecting one of these lenders.

Here are some quick tips to help guide you through the process:

– The best way to limit debt is to use current available resources first (income, savings, 529 plans etc.) or consider utilizing the interest-free monthly payment plan.

– Before applying for a private student loan, we recommend that students exhaust all federal Stafford loan eligibility first, as these often have a lower interest rate.

– Try to plan for the academic year, rather than semester by semester. This may prevent multiple checks to the borrower’s and/or cosigner’s credit and reduces the number of applications you may have to complete.

– If you are considering borrowing, be sure to research items such as the interest rate, when repayment begins and whether there are available deferment options or fees associated with the loan.

– Last but not least, borrow only what you need!

While we cannot recommend one option over another, your financial aid counselor is a great resource if you have questions. We encourage students and families to research each option to find the one that best meets their needs and reach out to us if you need assistance!

If you want to know more about financial aid, receive updates and reminders about deadlines and engage with our office, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

While it may seem as though the mounds of snow just melted and summer has finally started, the fall will be here before we know it. It’s almost time for some of our favorite activities – apple picking, the start of a new football season and enjoying the surrounding foliage. Ok, maybe we are getting a little ahead of ourselves, but it’s never too early to start thinking ahead, especially towards the fall and with that, the start of a new academic year.

As you begin to plan ahead, perhaps in considering possible financing options, such as the TuitionPay Plan or a private student loan, or maybe you will be taking advantage of some of the unique opportunities at NU, you may be wondering what to expect and how to best plan for the coming semesters. To help, we can provide you with a Financial Planning Worksheet (FPW). This personalized worksheet provides an estimated balance for the semester or academic year based on your anticipated enrollment plans and financial aid award.

What is on a Financial Planning Worksheet? The top portion of these worksheets includes estimated billed costs (including tuition, fees, room and board) based on your anticipated enrollment plans for each semester. Keep in mind billed costs may vary by student population. For additional information, be sure to check out our website.

FPW Blog 3

The bottom portion outlines anticipated credits, including financial aid and any personal payments made towards your account. If you have enrolled in a TuitionPay Plan or applied for a private student loan or PLUS loan, these will be reflected here as well. The bottom of each column then calculates the estimated net balance for that particular semester, taking into account any charges, prior balances or credits and anticipated credits. In addition to providing an estimated balance by semester, your Financial Planning Worksheet will also provide you with an estimated balance for the academic year.

FPW Blog 2

Here are some important items to keep in mind when viewing your FPW:
– Take note if the Net Balance for a particular semester reflects a credit (for example, if your financial aid/loans are in excess of your charges), as these will automatically roll over towards future semesters and are factored into the total Net Balance for the academic year.
– If you are considering taking a refund from any available credit, be sure to consider how this may affect a future semester or the total Net Balance indicated on your FPW.
– Federal Work Study is not applied directly towards tuition and fees. As such, Federal Work Study is not reflected as a credit on Financial Planning Worksheets.
– Keep in mind each worksheet is just an estimate and not an actual bill!

Are you ready to start planning for the coming academic year? Be sure to reach out to your Financial Aid Counselor and ask for a Financial Planning Worksheet!

If you want to know more about financial aid, receive updates and reminders about your bills and deadlines and engage with our office, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!


February may be a short month, but it packs a lot of punch.   February marks Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Black History Month, and Financial Aid Awareness Month – a time in the year dedicated to learning more about funding opportunities for college as well as filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  For those readers who aren’t already familiar with FAFSA, it is a free application form that provides students with the opportunity to be considered for federal grants, loans, and work-study funding. It is also used by colleges and universities to assist in making decisions about institutional dollars* (Schools may also require additional financial aid application materials.  For instance, Northeastern requires the CSS PROFILE form in addition to the FAFSA for our incoming undergraduate students).  In the world of financial aid, the FAFSA form is at the core of all decisions, and should be filed annually by the priority filing deadline. Filing by the deadline allows students to be considered for the maximum dollars possible.

At Northeastern, our priority filing deadlines are always posted on our Student Financial Services website found here. Deadlines vary by student population, so make sure to review the appropriate information. For instance, first-year undergraduate day students have a February 15th deadline whereas our returning undergraduate day students have until April 1st to file.

For those who may like further information, below is a video from our friends at the Department of Education that speaks in further detail about how to file FAFSA, tools that are available, and important information to consider.

As a transfer student admitted to Northeastern after taking a couple years off from college, I was a pretty typical undergrad in a lot of ways, but I was entirely independent in managing my finances. This is the case for some students even if they enter college right after high school, so I wanted to write this post about parent involvement (or lack thereof) to get some information out there about handling your financial aid for yourself as a college student.

The first thing you should know is that your parents don’t need to take care of everything for you – it might make them feel better to do so, and it might seem to take some stress off of you. But just so we’re clear, it’s not necessary! Taking things into your own hands will actually benefit you in the long run. You’ll get a better idea of the different options you have for aid, who you can talk to when issues arise, and what kind of loan debt you’re up against when you graduate.

Getting a part-time job on campus is one thing you really have to do for yourself. I started working pretty much as soon as I was admitted to NU, and that was a defining aspect of my college life. I learned a ton about campus operations by being an office assistant, and added some administrative experience to my resume. I helped the Student Employment Office with orientation sessions in the summer, and the number of parents that come in every year trying to get a job for their incoming freshman is unbelievable. I’m just going to generalize here and say that nobody wants to hire someone whose parents do everything for them! Student jobs are still jobs, and it comes down to you to represent your skills and qualities for potential employers. If you’ve never applied for a job before, well, college is a great time to start! The Student Employment web site, accessible through your myNEU portal, has listings for on-campus, off-campus, work study, and non-work study job openings for students.

Aside from employment, financial aid might need to involve your parents to some extent, but you should always make sure you know what’s happening in your name – and what’s not. The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan is a popular option for domestic undergraduate students who need something to fill a gap between their aid and their costs. It’s a loan your parent takes out in their name, which is nice because your parents almost definitely have a better credit history than you do, and also because yay, less debt for you! Just be aware of what’s happening if you take this route: the loan will remain forever in your parent’s name and can’t be transferred or consolidated with your other loans.

Another thing you’ll most likely need from your parents is their financial information for your FAFSA and CSS Profile. It may not sound thrilling, but you should read over these things even if your parents complete them for you. If your parents are divorced and you’re not sure how they should provide information for financial aid, check out our post about that exact question!

In some cases, students don’t want their parents getting involved at all. You should know that you have the choice to keep your education information private according to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). To see your preferences, you can go to the Self Service tab on your myNEU portal and click the FERPA Status link, found in the Registrar section. You can find more information about this at the Department of Education’s website.

If you’re a graduate student, or if you opted to keep your information private per FERPA, but your parents are in fact helping you out with financial aid paperwork and such, make sure you email your financial aid counselor consenting to let them talk to your parent(s) about your information.

A major reason for this post is just to recognize that every student’s parental dependence is different, and Student Financial Services is here to support everyone. It never hurts to get to know staff on campus, and meeting with your financial aid counselor is no exception. Your counselor can help you get through paperwork, figure out how much loan money you should request, and sometimes provide information about scholarships to apply for. Counselors are available during orientation so your parents can get a chance to talk to them, but they’ll be a great resource for you over the next few years too! Still have questions about parent involvement, or just about financial aid in general? Go to the SFS contact page and get in touch.


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