Financial Aid Information

Robert DeLeo and Students at Financial Aid Day in Boston

Financial Aid is at the forefront of policy issues that Northeastern and the higher education community track. It is essential for our students, and it dominates discussions and votes in Washington, DC. . Questions regarding eligibility, amount of awards, the process to apply funds, and where the funds come from are on the minds of every student and their family seeking assistance The Department of Education includes the The Office of Financial Aid, where many of these questions are addressed. These federal institutions, along with Northeastern, are dedicated to providing every eligible student the aid they require in order to access the education they deserve. It is essential that we preserve and enhance student loan funding for those who require assistance in order to afford and complete college.

For more information on Northeastern University financial aid program please see the Student Financial Services webpage

Pictured above: Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Robert DeLeo, speaks with Northeastern Students on AICUM's Student Financial Aid Day on Beacon Hill, March 1, 2011.

Department of Education:

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) was created in 1980. There mission statement encompasses many issues: "promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access." Financial aid is at the heart of the ED's mission statement. One of the main focuses of the Department is to "establish policies on federal financial aid for education, and distribute as well as monitor those funds." As a result of the reauthorization of the Higher Educations Act in 2009, student aid is now provided through the Directly Lending program. Commercial banks help to administer these loans, but they only provide private loans outside the federal system.

For further information on the Department of Education, visit their website:

Office of Federal Student Aid:

Due to the complexity of this issue, the Department of Education created a department solely dedicated to the issue of financial aid, the Office of Federal Student Aid.  This office is responsible for overseeing various programs that comprise the nation's largest source of student aid. Similar to the ED, the Office of Federal Student aid is dedicated to ensuring that all eligible students, regardless of socioeconomic status, are able to participate in federal financial assistance - grants, loans, and work-study programs. The Office of Federal Student Aid believes, "by championing access to postsecondary education, we uphold its value as a force for greater inclusion in American society and for the continued vitality of America as a nation."

To learn more about Federal Student Aid, please visit:

How Much Funding is Provided and How?

Every year, the Office of Federal Student Aid provides more than $100 billion in new aid to nearly 14 million postsecondary students and their families. Students apply for Federal Aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The aid allows students to cover a variety of school expenses: tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid is awarded by way of three different mediums: grants, loans, and work-study.

  1. Grants - Sometimes referred to as gift aid, grants do not have to be repaid. Amount is need-based, and any undergraduate is eligible. In total, there are six federal grants available.
  2. Loans - Unlike grants, loans are borrowed money, which are not only required to be paid back in full, but accrue interest. However, unlike grants, loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Amount is a determined by variables such as cost of tuition and other financial aid received. In total, there are five federal loans: Federal Perkins, Federal Stafford, PLUS loan for parents, PLUS loan for graduate/professional degree, and Consolidation loan. Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation loans are made through the William D. Ford Federal Loan Program, where students or parents borrow directly from the federal government.
  3. Work-Study - This particular program allows students to hold a position at their respective school while enrolled and subsequently earn money to help pay education costs.

Congressman McGovern and Northeastern students discuss importance of financial aid programs on campus.

Pell Grant Program:

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides grants to primarily undergraduate students. The program is need-based, and over 5,400 institutions participate. There are a wide range of factors that are taken into account when a student is considered for a Pell Grant, such as the student's expected family contribution, the cost of tuition, the student's enrollment status (full-time or part time) and whether the student attends a full academic year or not.

To learn more about Pell Grants, click here.

Pictured above: Congressman Jim McGovern visited campus in October 2011 to discuss the importance of financial aid with a few Northeastern students.

Perkins Loan Program:

The Perkins Loan Program is designed to provide low-interest loans to help students pay for higher education. The program is need-based, and over 1,800 institutions participate. Financial Aid administrators are the institutions have the ability to determine the amount of Perkins loans to award to students who are enrolled or accepted.

To learn more about Perkins Loans, click here.

On June 14, 2011, Northeastern University's President Joseph Aoun convened a group of university presidents and officials from the U.S. Department of Education, including Under Secretary Dr. Martha Kanter, to discuss the Administrations proposal to expand the Perkins Loan program. This program is essential in providing financial support to the neediest students at higher education institutions across the country. The meeting served as the first step in a national dialogue needed to strengthen the program, which is scheduled for elimination in 2014.

The Federal Perkins Loan Dialogue built on a letter President Aoun and a group of 33 other college and university leaders sent to the Department of Education this past February.

The Department of Education has published their rationale for interpreting the termination date of the Perkins Loan Program. The first date, October 1, 2012, is the date given for the return of federal Perkins loan funds to the DOE; the second date, September 30, 2014, is the end date for the authorization for the Perkins Loan Program. To view the letter, click here