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Northwestern University

Accepting or Declining Your Award

After our office processes your financial aid award, you will receive an email to your Northwestern email account containing the Award Notice. This page provides more detail about each of the items on your Award Notice, which should be thoroughly reviewed before accepting, reducing, or declining your financial aid award.

You may submit an appeal if you believe that your financial aid award did not fully consider your individual circumstances.

Understanding your Financial Aid Offer

The financial assistance offered to you will specify amounts for the following items:

Monthly Budget Allowances

A standard educational budget is used for all students, and it covers the period of enrollment. The budget is a total based on:

Total Family Contribution

The family contribution is determined using your family's financial information as reported on the FAFSA and other application documents you submitted, as well as your period of enrollment.

Responding to your Financial Aid Offer

This information applies to all Medical (non-dual degree), Law, Evening & Weekend MBA, Physical Therapy, Prosthetics/Orthotics, Physician Assistant, SPS Graduate, and SPS Undergraduate programs. Medical dual-degree students: see instructions below.

You will accept, reduce, or decline your financial aid award electronically via CAESAR. This must be done every time you receive a Financial Aid Award Notice email or a notification of financial aid award revision email from the Chicago Office of Financial Aid. Do not return a paper (PDF) award notice to our office.

  1. Log onto CAESAR using your Northwestern NetID and password. Admitted students will receive this information from the applicable admissions office.
    • If you have lost or forgotten your NetID information, you may contact the NUIT Information Center Help Desk at (847) 491-4357 for assistance.
  2. Click on the "Financial Aid" tile and then select "Accept/Decline Financial Aid" from the left-hand navigation. Select the appropriate aid year.
    • If you are viewing this tile on a phone or other smaller screen, the left-hand navigation may be hidden. You will need to click on the double bar on the left side of the screen to expand the left-hand navigation.
  3. Accept, reduce, or decline your financial aid award.
    • To reduce your loan offer, check the "Accept" button. You will then be able to reduce the amount of loan offered to you by modifying the amount in the "Accepted" box.
  4. When you submit your award notice electronically, we recommend that you select "Yes" to the Statement of Authorization. You may rescind your authorization at any time by contacting the Office of Student Finance.
  5. Determine which, if any, outstanding loan materials you need to complete by checking your "To-Do List" items. Your outstanding "To-Do List" items can be reviewed in CAESAR through either the "Tasks" tile on the homepage, or by clicking on the "Financial Aid" tile from the home page and then selecting "To-Do List" from the left-hand navigation.

About the Statement of Authorization: Current federal regulations require that we obtain your authorization to use Title IV assistance (i.e., federal loans) to pay University charges other than tuition, fees, room and board. Such charges might include the student health plan, library fines, parking charges, room damage charges, and health service fees. Not providing the authorization means that you will have to make a payment for these charges yourself once you receive the refund of Title IV aid.

Medical dual-degree students

  1. Print a copy of your Financial Aid Award Letter via CAESAR:
    • Click on the "Financial Aid" tile and then select "View My Financial Aid" from the left-hand navigation. Select the appropriate aid year and then select the "Print Award Letter" link in the upper right of the screen.
  2. Mark the loans you wish to reject on the front side of your Award Notice. If a loan is not marked as rejected, we will assume it is accepted.
  3. Complete the "Student Agreement" on the back of the Award Notice. Be sure to sign your notice.
  4. Submit your signed Award Notice to the Chicago Office of Financial Aid. You must submit an original copy of the signed award notice either by bringing a copy to our office or sending a copy via U.S. Mail. The Chicago Office of Financial Aid cannot accept a faxed copy or an email attachment. This should be done every time you receive a Financial Aid Award Notice from our office unless noted otherwise; keep the second copy for your records.
  5. Complete any additional forms listed on your "To Do" list in CAESAR as requested. Your outstanding "To-Do List" items can be reviewed in CAESAR through either the "Tasks" tile on the homepage, or by clicking on the "Financial Aid" tile from the home page and then selecting "To-Do List" from the left-hand navigation.
  6. Submit completed forms and any required supporting documents to the Chicago Office of Financial Aid.
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