Financial Aid Policies

All students in The Graduate School receiving financial support administered by the University must be registered full time. Students being supported during the summer by fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships (including research assistants supported on sponsored projects) or external awards must be registered full time for the summer quarter.

19.1 Regulations Governing Recipients of University Assistance

Newly admitted applicants must use the online application enrollment tool to officially accept or decline the University's offer of admission. The act of accepting admission also signifies the acceptance of the University's financial award.

All recipients of University funding must meet the following conditions. If any of the conditions specified in this document are violated, financial assistance may be withdrawn by The Graduate School.

  1. Submit to The Graduate School official transcripts listing all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework undertaken and degrees awarded;
  2. Continuously register as a full-time graduate student.;
  3. Maintain at least a "B" average each quarter;
  4. Keep records free of incomplete grades;
  5. Refrain from remunerative work, unless a written request for a waiver is approved by The Graduate School;
  6. Notify the Graduate Student Funding office and home department (via email) of other sources of support, such as an external award, traineeship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship, School of Continuing Studies teaching, or other fellowship. In cases where alternative funding is available, The Graduate School's financial award may be adjusted;
  7. Be aware that funding beyond five academic years is not guaranteed by TGS, but the program to which you are being admitted may have other policies;
  8. Adhere to all regulations as stipulated on The Graduate School web site and in the University Student Handbook.

In unique instances, applicants may choose to accept admission but decline the University's financial offer. In this circumstance, the applicant should initially accept the admission and financial award using the online system. After which, the applicant should notify the department and the Graduate Student Funding office (via email) that the financial offer is being turned down. The Graduate School will then update the applicant's financial record to reflect this fact.

Summer Quarter

All students in The Graduate School receiving financial support administered by the University must be registered full time. Students being supported during the summer by fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships (including research assistants supported on sponsored project accounts) or external awards must be registered full time for the summer quarter.

Appropriate full time registrations for the summer quarter include: 3-4 graduate units; TGS 588 or TGS 500. Students employed by the Summer Session as instructors to teach classes during the summer are not required to register, unless they are also receiving financial support as described in the first paragraph. The following documents pertain to all applicants for and recipients of any type of University assistance:

19.2 Permission To Work

Graduate students are expected to be full-time students conducting their studies and research. On occasion another funding opportunity may arise.  When that situation occurs permission to receive remuneration must be requested.

 A Graduate Student Permission to work Request Form is required when students are receiving additional pay if ANY of the following conditions are met:

  1. The graduate student’s service exceeds 10 hours/week.
  2. The graduate student’s period of service exceeds one month.
  3. The requested compensation is greater than or equal to $600.

If any of the above conditions are met, complete the form and submit it via one of the below methods. The form should be submitted BEFORE the work begins.

Paper Additional Pay forms

  1. If you are submitting a paper Additional Pay form, email the completed Graduate Student Permission to Work Request form to the Graduate Student Funding staff at tgs-fa@northwestern.edu. Some schools may require school level approval as well.  Please check with your school for routing instructions.
  2. If the request is approved, the signed form will be sent back to the requestor.
  3. Attach the signed form to the Additional Pay form before submitting to Payroll.

 Electronic Additional Pay in myHR

  1. Email the completed Graduate Student Permission to Work Request form to the Graduate Student Funding staff at tgs-fa@northwestern.edu.  Some schools require school level approval on the form as well. Oher schools approve online during the Additional Pay Request workflow. Please check with your school for routing instructions.
  2. If the request is approved, the signed form will be sent back to the requestor.
  3. Upload the signed form into the Additional Pay Request. Be sure to check any relevant check boxes regarding the student’s hours/week, length of service and total compensation.

 External Funding Directly to the Student

  1. If the student will be funded directly by an external source, email the completed Graduate Student Permission to Work Request form to the Graduate Student Funding staff at tgs-fa@northwestern.edu. Some schools may require school level approval as well. Please check with your school for routing instructions
  2. If the request is approved, the signed form will be sent back to the requestor. The form should then be uploaded into the student’s record in GSTS.

 Please contact Graduate Student Funding staff with any questions.  

19.3 TGS External Award Policy

Graduate funding is a collaborative effort between students and Northwestern University. The Graduate School (TGS) strongly encourages every student to apply for funding from a source external to the University sometime prior to the end of their fourth year. While TGS understands that some disciplines and students may have fewer opportunities for external funding, we still expect PhD students in all programs to pursue external awards. Such awards offer students opportunities to hone grant writing skills, secure funding, enhance their curriculum vitae and make invaluable academic contacts for the future. 

To encourage and reward the pursuit of external funding opportunities, TGS will provide the following to students enrolled in PhD programs in the School of Education and Social Policy; the Bienen School of Music; the School of Communication (social sciences and humanities programs); and Divisions II and III of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (the social sciences and humanities), Mathematics, and Statistics.  

The provisions listed below apply to those awards that provide student comparable stipend support. Therefore, awards such as the doctoral dissertation research improvement grants (DDRIG), which provide only research and travel support, are not eligible for the support listed below.

  1. A 1:1 match up to an additional three quarters of support to be used in the summer of the 5th year through the spring of the 6th year of support for graduate students who are awarded and accept an external competitive award within their first five years of study; and
  2. A stipend supplement of $500 per month for the duration of the external award to students through their fifth year.
  3. A stipend top-up to the TGS base stipend if the external award stipend is lower to students through their sixth year.

For students enrolled in MFA programs, The Graduate School will determine on an ad hoc basis to provide the stipend supplement of $500 per month and/or a stipend top up to the TGS base stipend if the external award stipend is lower.

To request a supplement, the department chair, director of graduate studies, or program designee must submit a copy of the external award notification detailing the amount and award period through our Specials Tool. Following a thorough review of the external award details, if approved TGS will process the request.