Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
Detailed information about the financial aid process can be found on the Financial Aid Web site.
How much is total cost of attendance and what is included in the cost?
The estimated cost of attendance [COA] is an estimate of the costs a typical student may incur over the fall and winter semesters combined. This figure is used in determining your financial aid eligibility and includes both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include tuition, mandatory fees, books, room and board. Indirect costs include transportation and personal expenses. Current COA budgets can be found at the Estimated Cost of Attendance page.
What is the deadline for financial aid?
The FAFSA should be completed by March 1st for the school year beginning in the Fall. Applying after March 1st limits the availability for aid from the state of Michigan. Applying by March 1st also assures that the student will have time to complete the process by the time school begins. A new application must be completed for each academic year.
What is the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the application students must complete to be eligible for any need based financial aid, including federal student loans. Information on Federal financial aid programs can be found at the Federal Financial Aid page. You should never pay anyone to complete this form for you. Feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions about this form.
How is the amount of financial aid I receive determined?
Once a student completes a FAFSA, the results are sent to all of the schools listed by the student on the FAFSA. Upon receipt of the information the school will determine the amount of financial aid that the student is eligible to receive. Individual eligibility depends on several factors including family size and income, grade level, and academic merit.
What is the average amount of financial assistance offered to students?
Financial aid can come from federal, state, institutional and private sources. Types of aid include grants, scholarships, student loans, and part time on campus employment. NMU processes over $62 million in financial aid from many different sources. The average financial aid package for stduents is over $7,000.
When will we receive our financial aid package?
Awarding begins in mid-to-late March and continues on a rolling basis.
Will my son/daughter receive the same amount of financial aid all 4 years of school?
No. Eligibility for need-based aid will be determined each year based on the results of that year's FAFSA. Many academic scholarships are renewable and remain available at the same rate if the student maintains the required academic standards.
What percentage of students receive financial assistance either in the form of scholarships, loans and grants?
80 percent of NMU students receive financial assistance from an array of resources including grants and scholarships, part time on campus employment and student loans.
What is the difference between scholarships, grants, and loans?
Scholarships and grants are what most students think of as "free money." Student loans are funds that must be repaid, generally after the student graduates or leaves school.
Is it better to take out a Direct PLUS loan, or a loan from my credit union?
Many options for alternative financing exist, and families should explore all options before deciding which one fits their needs and budget. Some additional alternative student loan products along with a guide on things to consider when looking at alternative loans can be found at the Alternative Loans Options page.
What loans can my son/daughter take out in his/her name? We want all loans in the student's name...is that possible?
The initial award letter tells the student what federal loans are available. Additional, supplemental loans can be obtained from state and other sources for both the student and the parents. Supplemental student loans typically require that the parents to be co-signers. Supplemental and alternative student loan information and application materials are available on the Financial Aid Web site.
When are payments due?
Payments for Fall Semester are due in August. Detailed billing information will be sent to students in early July. NMU offers payment plans to suit family budgets.
How can my son/daughter get a job on campus to help pay for college?
Federal and Michigan "Work-Study" is awarded to students based on need. The award represents the amount a student may earn by working on campus. Students without Work-Study eligibility can still find jobs on campus. The best place to start is by pursuing leads on the NMU Career Services page.
We have a "special situation" with our finances ...who do I talk to about this?
If a family experiences situations such as the loss of a job, retirement, separation or divorce, or large medical expenses, they should complete a "Request for Re-Evaluation of Financial Assistance" available on the Financial Aid forms page (click on the current academic year on the left). It would also be a good idea to talk to or meet with a Financial Aid Counselor about the situation.
What information am I allowed to have access to in my son/daughter's file?
All information about the student's application and eligibility is protected by FERPA, and is accessible only by the student. Information can not be given directly to parents. More information about FERPA is available at the student records FAQ page.
What scholarships are available to students and how can I receive that information?
There are a number of academic and need based scholarships available to students who meet the criteria. Our out-of-state scholarships start at a $3,300 per year scholarship for applicants with a 3.0/4.0 grade point average and a 19 ACT. In-state applicants can qualify for scholarships starting at a 3.0/4.0 GPA and a 24 ACT.
There are also program and degree specific scholarships available to students who qualify. Information on scholarships can be obtained on the Financial Aid Web site.
My son/daughter received a letter stating they'll receive a scholarship from NMU based on their grades and ACT/SAT score; do I need to complete the FAFSA?
No. NMU scholarship recipients are not required to file a FAFSA. However, all interested students are encouraged to file a FAFSA to learn about their eligibility for need based aid and loans.
My son/daughter received a private scholarship. What do we do with the check and will it affect their financial aid?
Forward the check to the NMU Student Services Office, and they will apply the scholarship to the student's account. Private scholarships must be considered when need based financial aid is awarded. The impact on the student's financial aid eligibility depends on the student's need and the amount of the scholarship.