Summer Aid

If you're taking a class or participating in a study abroad program this summer, you may be wondering how summer financial aid works. We're here to answer your questions and guide you through the process. 

Summer is the final semester of the academic year, and limited summer financial aid is available. Many scholarship and grant programs are restricted to fall and spring payments. Loan programs have annual limits that many students exhaust during the school year. If you register for summer classes and you’re eligible for aid, offers will be posted in MyNIU before summer classes begin. Summer Federal Student Loans cannot be accepted after the end of the Summer Semester.

Financial aid is disbursed according to class start dates. If you're in a study abroad program or a class that begins in May, you'll receive your financial aid before students whose classes start in June.

Eligibility

Summer aid offers are processed after you are registered for summer classes. Summer aid eligibility is based on the actual hours and weeks you attend classes. To be eligible for most types of summer financial aid, you need to attend at least half time during the summer:

  • Undergraduate: 6 credit hours
  • Graduate: 3 credit hours
  • Law: 4 credit hours

You must also:

  • Have filed the current year's (2023-2024) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Meet general and program eligibility criteria, including Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Not have exceeded annual or lifetime program limits.
  • Be admitted to and enrolled in an eligible degree program.

Read more about types of summer aid and eligibility for your level of study:

Grants and Scholarships

The State of Illinois Monetary Award (MAP Grant) is not available for the summer. It is restricted to fall and spring semesters. Most NIU grants and scholarships are also restricted to the fall and spring.

If you're eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and have summer enrollment of six or more credit hours, you are most likely eligible for additional Pell for the summer. For six hours, your summer Pell will be 50 percent of the amount you received for one full-time semester during the school year.

If you do not receive the full Pell Grant during the fall and/or spring terms due to less than full-time enrollment, you may be eligible for the remaining amount during the summer semester depending on enrollment.

If you're enrolled in less than six credit hours, you may be eligible for summer Pell. You must not have used your full-year Pell offer during the fall and spring terms.

Read more about Summer Pell Grant

If you qualify for the Pell Grant, you may use part of your lifetime Pell Grant eligibility for summer semesters. The grant can be applied to summer tuition and fees.

Eligibility Checklist

I may be eligible for Pell if:
  • I have not used my lifetime eligibility.
  • I have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) less than $5,901 and will enroll in six or more hours.
  • I have an EFC less than $6,401 and will enroll in nine or more hours.
  • I have an EFC less than $6,656 and will enroll in 12 or more hours.
  • I did not attend fall 2023 and/or spring2024. I have an EFC less than $4,001 and will enroll in fewer than six hours. Eligibility based on cost of attendance.
  • I was enrolled less than full time in fall 2023 and/or spring 2024 I have an EFC less than $4,401 and will enroll in fewer than six hours. Eligibility based on cost of attendance.

Pell Grants have both an annual limit and a lifetime usage limit. Students may receive up to the equivalent of three (3) full-time semesters of Pell Grant per academic year. However, they must be registered at least half-time (6 credit hours) to receive a Pell Grant during Summer if they have exhausted their fall and spring eligibility.

Lifetime Pell Grant eligibility is the equivalent of 12 full-time semesters, or six academic years comprised of fall and spring semesters. Usage is prorated if you attend a semester less than full time.

Loans

You must be registered for six or more credit hours to borrow from federal loan programs. Some private loan programs may approve you for less than six hours.

The total amount you borrow cannot exceed the summer cost of attendance less all other aid. The cost of attendance includes:

  • Tuition and fees.
  • An allowance for books.
  • Transportation.
  • Living expenses.

Living expenses are prorated for the actual weeks of attendance. If you drop and add classes, you may have a change in eligibility, even if the total hours remain the same. For example, if you take six hours of courses over eight weeks, you'll have a higher cost of attendance than if you take six hours over only four weeks.

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

If you did not borrow your full 2023-2024 annual loan limit for fall and spring, you can borrow the remainder of the annual limit up to the cost of attendance less other aid. You must be enrolled in six or more credit hours. The subsidized portion is restricted to need less other need-based aid.
Annual loan limits:
Grade Level Dependent Independent or Dependent with PLUS denial
Year 1(0-24 hours) $5,500: Up to $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500: Up to $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Year 2 (25-48 hours) $6,500: Up to $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500: Up to $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Year 3-4(49+ hours) $7,500: Up to $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500: Up to $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Lifetime $31,000: Only $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500: Only $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Parent PLUS Loan

If you're a dependent student whose parents have an approved PLUS loan application, you may borrow up to the summer cost of attendance less other aid.

Private Loans

Many private lenders offer student loans. FinAid, an external organization, provides a comprehensive list of private loan lenders. If you are interested in a private loan, you should verify eligibility criteria and fill out an application with the individual lender. NIU will receive loan applications electronically.

If you're approved for a private loan, you may borrow up to the summer cost of attendance less other aid.

Eligibility Checklist

I may be eligible for a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan if:

  • I enroll in six or more hours and have not borrowed my full 2023-2024 annual loan limit.

I may be eligible for a Parent PLUS Loan if:

  • I am a dependent student who will enroll in six or more hours, and my parent has applied and been approved for a summer 2023-2024 Federal PLUS Loan.

I may be eligible for a private loan if:

  • I have an approved private loan application for summer and meet the lender's eligibility criteria.

You must be registered for three or more graduate level credit hours to borrow from federal loan programs. The total amount you borrow cannot exceed the summer cost of attendance less all other aid. The cost of attendance includes:

  • Tuition and fees.
  • An allowance for books.
  • Transportation.
  • Living expenses.

Transportation and living expenses are prorated for the actual weeks of attendance.

If you drop and add classes, you may have a change in eligibility, even if the total hours remain the same. For example, if you take six hours of courses over eight weeks, you'll have a higher cost of attendance than if you take six hours over only four weeks.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

If you did not borrow $20,500 for 2023-2024 academic year, you can borrow the remainder of this annual limit up to the cost of attendance less other aid. You must enroll in three or more hours.

Grad PLUS Loans

If you have an approved 2023-2024 summer PLUS loan application, you may borrow up to the summer cost of attendance less other aid.

Private Loans

If you have an approved private loan application, you may borrow up to the summer cost of attendance less other aid.

You must be registered for four or more graduate level credit hours to borrow from federal loan programs. The total amount you borrow cannot exceed the summer cost of attendance less all other aid. The cost of attendance includes:

  • Tuition and fees.
  • An allowance for books.
  • Transportation.
  • Living expenses.

Transportation and living expenses are prorated for the actual weeks of attendance.

If you drop and add classes, you may have a change in eligibility, even if the total hours remain the same. For example, if you take six hours of courses over eight weeks, you'll have a higher cost of attendance than if you take six hours over only four weeks.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

If you did not borrow $20,500 for the 2023-2024 academic year, you can borrow the remainder of this annual limit up to the cost of attendance less other aid. You must enroll in four or more hours.

Grad PLUS Loans

If you have an approved 2023-2024 summer PLUS loan application, you may borrow up to the summer cost of attendance less other aid.

Private Loans

If you have an approved private loan application, you may borrow up to the summer cost of attendance less other aid.

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