The Financial Aid Process

The financial aid process can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially to those who have never before been through it. We’ve put together some information on this process to help you know what to expect.

  1. General Eligibility Requirements
  2. Determining Financial Aid Eligibility
  3. Applying for Aid – The FAFSA
  4. Communication from the Financial Aid Office
  5. Additional Required Documents
  6. Awarding Procedure and Notification
  7. Receiving Your Aid
  8. Where To Go Next
  9. Overage Checks


Families should NEVER pay to have their financial aid application processed.  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be completed online at

If you have any questions about financial aid information you receive, please contact the Financial Aid Office at or (906) 227-2327.

General Eligibility Requirements

A student must have a high school diploma or its equivalent; enroll as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program; be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen; have a social security number; make satisfactory academic progress; sign certifying statement on the FAFSA, such as agreeing to use Federal student aid funds only for educational expenses; and male students must register with selective service.

Determining Financial Aid Eligibility

The basic principle of need-based financial aid is that you and your family are expected to contribute as much as is reasonably possible to pay for your education. The Student Aid Index (SAI) is determined from the information you and your family provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial need is calculated by subtracting your SAI from the total cost of your education. We are prepared to assist you in meeting your financial need by awarding grants, scholarships, employment or low-interest loans.

Applying for Aid – The FAFSA

Students who wish to receive financial aid must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A new FAFSA must be completed for each academic year. The FAFSA can be completed online at Create an electronic username and password, your FSA ID, that will be used by students, parents and borrowers. An information guide on how to create a FSA ID can be found here. A paper version may be obtained by contacting FAFSA at 1-800-433-3243.  Students should complete the FAFSA by May 1. This date is consistent with the deadline for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship and helps to ensure that financial aid is ready by the time fall tuition is due.

​​​​​​​Communication from the Financial Aid Office

Carefully reading the information sent to you by our office is critical in helping the financial aid process to move along smoothly. New students who have not yet attended NMU will be notified of offer packages and required information through offers sent by regular mail. Once new students have attended orientation, e-mail notices to NMU e-mail accounts will replace paper correspondence. Returning students will receive only e-mail communication to their NMU e-mail address. Once you have received your NMU user name and password, you can also check your financial aid status online at any time through MyNMU.

Additional Required Documents - Verification

About a third of all NMU financial aid applicants are required to submit additional documents (such as worksheets or income tax returns) to the Financial Aid Office before we can finalize their aid eligibility. If these additional documents are requested by the Financial Aid Office, they should be submitted to us as soon as possible to ensure we have enough time for processing before fall tuition is due.

Awarding Procedure and Notification

In order to receive a financial aid offer, you must be admitted to NMU and your FAFSA results must be received by the Financial Aid Office. If you are a new student and are required to turn in documents before we finalize your financial aid offer, you will receive an Estimated Financial Aid Offer. This estimate is based on your initial FAFSA results, and could change once we receive and review your documents.

Returning student offers will not be made for the upcoming year until after winter grades for the current year are posted. If any documents are requested in order to finalize eligibility for a returning student, these must be received and reviewed before an aid offer will be determined. Estimated offers will not be made for returning students.

Be aware that the amount of federal and state funding NMU receives, the number of financial aid applicants and the timing of your application and submission of required documents could all have a bearing on the financial aid offer you are offered.

Receiving Your Aid

Once you have submitted all required information and your offers have been finalized, your financial aid (other than Federal Work-Study) will be applied to your tuition and fee charges first. Any financial aid (other than Federal Work-Study) that exceeds your tuition and fees costs will be applied to your total housing or rental charges for the semester (provided you are living in a residence hall or university apartment). You will be billed by the university for the balance if your financial aid (other than Federal Work-Study) is not sufficient to cover all of your charges.  Actual disbursement of financial aid funds takes place no sooner than ten (10) days before the beginning of the semester. Once the semester begins aid will typically be applied daily, if applicable.

If you find employment through the Federal Work-Study(FWS) program, you will be paid these funds throughout the academic year on a bi-weekly basis. You will only be paid for what you have earned. The amount of your FWS award does not get applied to your tuition and fees or room and board charges.

Financial aid cannot be used to cover your housing deposit; you are responsible for paying the deposit even if you have financial aid.  You are  allowed to "charge" books to an account at the NMU Bookstore.

Where To Go Next

Federal Student Loans - The Direct Loan Program offers two types of loans:  Subsidized and Unsubsidized. Information on direct loans can be found hereStudents must file a Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered for Federal Student Loans.

Other Scholarship Options - Many organizations have scholarship opportunities for students.  High School Guidance Offices and local libraries are good sources of scholarship information.  Students may also wish to check with local service organizations, businesses, churches and parents' employers to see if scholarships are available.  Several free scholarship searches can be found here.  It is best to avoid any scholarship service that requires a fee.  Any private scholarship/grant funding may affect financial aid packaging options, please contact the Financial Aid Office at or (906) 227-2327 if you have any questions.

Private Loans - After pursuing all scholarship/grant options and federal loan options, students may need alternative resources to cover the remaining costs of their college education.  NMU provides additional borrowing options on our Direct Plus Loan and alternative loan website.  If you pursue these options, please borrow wisely and conservatively.

Overage Checks

If the financial aid applied to your bill is more than your charges for the semester, an overage check will be issued to you. The Student Service Center handles billing and overage checks. Checks or direct deposit option are generally available near the beginning of each semester, as long as all your financial aid paperwork has been completed and reviewed, and your aid has been disbursed into your account with the Student Service Center.