Repayment of Student Loans

We are providing the following statistics regarding average indebtedness and repayment amounts in order to help you understand all the terms and conditions of your loans. Because the average debt of students in the 2011 graduating class (who borrowed through the Federal Stafford Loan and/or Federal Grad PLUS Loan programs) varied by program of study, the average repayment amounts reflect several debt levels ranging from $8,500 to $168,500. 

For each debt figure below, we have calculated what the monthly payment would be using an interest rate of 7.4%; an average of the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan fixed interest rate of 6.8% and the Federal Grad PLUS Loan fixed interest rate of 7.9% which were in effect from July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2013. (An updated repayment chart based on the new interest rates will be available soon.) The estimated monthly loan payments are based on a standard repayment term of 10 years* and do not include any interest that would have accrued while the student was in school.

Average Indebtedness/Sample Repayment

Loan Principal

Interest Rate

Loan Term/Number of Payments

Monthly Payment

Total Loan Payments 

Total Interest




10 years / 120






10 years / 120






10 years / 120






10 years / 120






10 years / 120






10 years / 120






10 years / 120






10 years / 120






10 years / 120




*The U.S. Department of Education website provides online calculators for estimating and comparing monthly payments under the various repayment plans including the latest Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR) and Paye As You Earn (PAYE).

The U.S. Department of Labor's website provides information on various careers and their earning potential.

Northwestern University's Office of Financial Aid adheres to the Code of Conduct as established by the Higher Education Opportunity Act as well as the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' (NASFAA) Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals. Click here to view Northwestern University's Financial Aid Code of Conduct.

Enrollment Classifications

For loan deferment and enrollment verification purposes, student status is defined as follows during regular terms and summer school:   

  • Full-time = 3 or 4 credits* per quarter (for most programs). The Graduate School registrations of 500, 512 and 588 are considered full-time.
  • Half-time = 2 credits* per quarter.
  • Part-time = less than 2 credits* per quarter. 

*Each credit must carry a tuition charge.

To maintain in-school status and eligibility for federal loans and in-school loan deferment, you must be enrolled at least half-time. Once you drop below half-time enrollment, your student loan grace periods (if applicable) or repayment begins/resumes. (See your loan promissory notes for details.) Exit materials will be provided within 30 days after in-school status ends.

Withdrawal Information

It is very important that you contact the appropriate offices when withdrawing from the university.  Students who withdraw must immediately file a withdrawal form, available at the Office of the Registrar. The completed form must bear the required signatures of representatives from the appropriate university offices.  Signatures are required from the student's advisor, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Office of Student Accounts. The form must then be submitted to the appropriate Registrar’s Office for the student’s program. Please click here for additional details regarding withdrawals.

Contact Information

Questions regarding loan terms/conditions and borrower's rights/responsibilities may be directed to Student Financial Services.

Ken Brown
Student Financial Services

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