Applying for Financial Aid


Applying for financial aid is actually pretty easy. There is just one form you need to fill out– the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA), available now at First, you and one parent will each need a Federal Student Aid ID, which you can get here. Your FSA ID will be your electronic signature, so keep it safe!

UNW recommends using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which will link your FAFSA to your taxes and help populate the form. This cuts down on errors and makes you less likely to be selected for verification.


Verification is a simple audit that 1/3 of the families (nation-wide) need to go through. If you are selected, UNW will let you know what we need from you. Don’t delay on sending those materials in– we cannot award you until you have completed the verification process, if you are selected for it.


FAFSA uses your financial information from 2015, so if your family’s situation has changed since then, Northwestern wants to know. In addition, the FAFSA is a very vague document, so if there is anything extra that Northwestern should know about, please file an appeal.

Some common appealable situations:

  • A lost job or reduction in income
  • Owning a business
  • Elementary/secondary private school tuition
  • Out of pocket medical expenses
  • Support for an extended family member
  • A parent in college.

The appeal form can be found here.


Please schedule a phone call with me so that we can go over the award letter together. I love it when you have your parent(s) in on the same call, so that we can all be on the same page. I like to make sure you know what everything means, answer any questions you might have, explain work study, discuss payment plan options. It might seem self-explanatory, but I really do appreciate getting the chance to discuss it with your family. I try to set up a phone call with you, but you’re more than welcome to set one up with me. Email me at and let’s get something on the calendar.




For a list of UNW majors, click here.

Did you know we offer a customizable major? It’s true.

Undecided? Join the club. (It’s a big club!)

If you’re playing around with a couple different options, I recommend scheduling class visits and/or meetings with those departments during a personal visit or coming to Major Discovery, a spring event where every department presents (students can attend two separate presentations that night).

If you’re completely undecided, think about scheduling a meeting with our Center for Calling & Career. They are happy to meet with prospective students at the recommendation of admissions, so just let me know. (Honestly, every family I send to the CCC comes back to me and says THANK YOU. The CCC has some of the most helpful people on our campus!)

UNW Housing Opportunities

First things first, housing at UNW is awesome. The dorms are air-conditioned, carpeted, completely furnished, and each room has its own bathroom– no need for flip-flops, shower caddies, and waiting in line for a shower.

There are a variety of different style dorms, from studio apartments to suites to traditional apartments. Check out your options here. Remember that UNW has integrated housing, which means that freshmen through seniors live in every building. Your roommates will still be your age, but you might have older or younger students on your hall too.

Our housing policy is that full-time students are required to live on campus or with a parent until they are 21. If you’re going to live with a parent or if you’re older than 21 and planning to commute, email to indicate that! There is a housing policy appeal form available; if you need one, talk to me first.

Know someone else who will be a student at Northwestern whom you’d like to live with? No problem. Once you’ve both paid your deposits, you can request each other in the housing software (step #2 on theROCK).

Leadership Award

Leadership Award

$2,000 annual, renewable

Approximately 50 of these competitive four-year awards are presented each year to new students who demonstrate leadership potential as indicated through the admission application and references. Candidates must commit to full participation in Northwestern’s Leadership Development Program to receive this award.

To apply, write a brief essay (under one page) about your leadership qualities and experiences with an emphasis on how they will help you be a leader at UNW. Send your essay to by January 15, 2017.

Timeline & Scholarship Deadlines

Here are some important dates to keep on your radar (scholarship-related dates are written in red):

Rolling (anytime after admission until May 1): window to pay enrollment deposit and submit housing preferences (steps 1 & 2 on the New Student tab on theROCK)

October 1-May 1: window to complete the FAFSA (step 3 on the New Student tab on theROCK)

Mid-to-late November: financial aid award letters will start being sent; after you get yours, I’ll schedule a phone call with you to discuss it!

January 4, 2017: music scholarship applications due

January 12, 2017: honors program applications due (students with a 30+ on the ACT are welcome to apply)

January 15, 2017: leadership development program applications due

February 11 & February 25, 2017: music scholarship audition days

March 25, 2017: theatre scholarship auditions (for theatre majors and minors; auditions will be held in the morning, and auditionees and their guests will be invited to a complimentary 2:30 p.m. performance of Mary Poppins)

Early spring: pre-registration electronic forms will be available (step 4 on New Students tab on theROCK)

Late spring and throughout summer: Eagle Advising Days, when you will register for fall classes! (Step 5 on the New Student tab on theROCK.)

August 25-29, 2017: Move In & New Student Orientation (step 6 on the New Student tab on theROCK)

August 30, 2017: first day of classes!



Hello from Jackie!

Hello to my admitted students for fall 2017!

First of all, I’m so excited that Northwestern is on your radar. We’re so blessed by your interest in a faith-based education, and we are praying that God will guide you this year as you determine where he is leading you, whether that’s to UNW or not!

A little about me: I’m a 2003 graduate of Northwestern. I studied creative writing and LOVED IT. These days, I work in UNW admissions by day, and I write novels for teenagers with HarperCollins Publishers by evening and weekend. It is a busy, full, fun life. Northwestern really set me up for success, both professionally and spiritually. I grew so much in my faith during my time at UNW, and it launched me after graduation into continued spiritual growth.

My job at Northwestern is to help you navigate the enrollment process. I’m here to answer your questions, make sure you stay on top of deadlines, and be a sounding board as you make your college decision.

Please let me know how I can help. My office hours are generally noon to 8 pm on Mondays and 8 am to 4:30 on Tuesday-Friday. My contact info is here.




At Northwestern, theROCK is our campus intranet. After you’re admitted, you’re sent a username and password so that you can log onto theROCK. I recommend changing your password right away to something you’ll remember.

On theROCK, the main tab that you’ll use prior to starting school here is the New Student tab. You’ll want to work through these steps one at a time. The first three steps can be done at any point throughout the school year (though earlier is better!); the last three won’t be available till later in the spring.

Here’s a screenshot of what you’ll see when you log in. I’ve circled the New Student tab as well as the list of steps. I’ve also circled where you can access your UNW email. (For more info on your UNW email, click here.)



Letter to New Freshmen …


I could not be more thrilled for you to have chosen a Christian community like ours the way that you did.  Some of you knew you wanted to attend from the moment you stepped onto campus.  For others, your campus visit was like a seed of possibility planted in your heart that eventually grew to a full-grown decision.  Some of you are making huge sacrifices to be at Northwestern.  Some of your parents are.

Savor it.

These are definitely some of the most important and unique years of your life.  You may never again have the opportunity to live and learn and work and grow in a community of believers that will foster your spiritual growth and academic prowess the way you do in these four years.  For some of you, this semester might be all you have.

So please cherish it.

Look, I know that life is still life and that homework can be lame and that you’re not expected to love everything, but I will tell you this: there will likely come a time in your life when you will look back at your UNW years and think, I wish I had been more intentional.

You will probably never again have the opportunity to hear from amazing men and women of God– not to mention international leaders, public speakers, theologians, comedians, and scholars–  every single morning.  Listen well.  Put your phones away.

Get to know your professors.  They are some of the smartest people you are ever going to meet in your life, and you get these four years to sit at the feet of Socrates, so to speak.  Listen well!

Pour effort into your friendships.  Some of these may last into eternity.  I thank God for my favorite people from UNW, with whom I’m still making new memories, all these years later.

Give each other grace.  Please.  Ten years from now, your world is likely going to have so many more shades of gray in it and you don’t want to look back and say that your black-and-whiteness didn’t show people Christ.

Do things with excellence.  Not to get an A.  Not to impress your professors.  But because your God has given you gifts with which to honor him.

Seek out a mentor– an upperclassman, a professor, a staff member.

Be vulnerable.  Seek out health and healing while you’re still young.  Schedule a visit to Counseling Services if you need to.  You’re going to kick yourself later when you realize you could have gotten free therapy but now that you’re graduated, you have to pay an arm and a leg and offer your firstborn child as collateral for counseling.  You’ll be kicking yourself too that you could have started that journey toward healing so much sooner.

And don’t forget to take time to lie on the campus green with your friends and talk about theology and who is cute in your Western Civ class and what you want to do with your lives.

The entire community is so glad you’ve joined us.  Make the most of it.  Suck out the marrow, friends.