Financial Aid Policies

The award notification process

All incoming freshman, transfer, graduate and readmitted students will be mailed financial aid offers to their preferred addresses as their awards are available. Returning students will receive an email to their college email account with directions to Merlin to view aid offers.

Financial Aid Distribution

Each semester, the Office of Student Accounts will notify students of their "Online Statement" being available in Merlin. This bill will detail charges and the distribution of your aid. You will see half of your financial aid award (representing one semester), with the exception of Federal Work Study, appearing as a credit on this statement. Outside scholarships will not credit until funds have been received.

Credit Hour Requirements

Undergraduate aid offers are based on full-time enrollment for the entire academic year (at least 12 credit hours each semester) unless otherwise noted on the aid offer in Merlin. Awards based on full-time enrollment must be revised or canceled if a student enrolls in less than the minimum 12 credit hours. For students eligible for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission Monetary Award Program (State of IL MAP Grant Est), maximum eligibility requires 15 credit hours.

Graduate aid offers are based on half-time (3 credit hours) enrollment for the academic year or the projected enrollment of your program. 

Veterans benefits vary with the number of credit hours carried by the veteran; a reduction in a student's course load during the semester may result in a reduction of benefits for that semester.

You’re encouraged to contact a financial aid team member before making enrollment changes before full-time.

Amount of Financial Assistance From Year to Year

Merit scholarships remain the same if you maintain the necessary cumulative GPA and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Departmental scholarships (music, art, etc.) depend on your participation and departmental funding. Need-based (North Central College Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Pell Grant, ISAC MAP) assistance depends on your financial need, and federal and state funding. You can expect to receive the same level of assistance as long as you maintain eligibility criteria. Please note that eligibility for federal and state aid vary annually.  

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

An EFC is determined by the complete of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The calculation uses parent income and assets (if required), student income and assets, number of students in college and family size. This is an index number used to determine a student's eligibility

Difference Between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Subsidized is need-based. You must show financial need as determined by the federal formula to be eligible. The federal government pays the interest while you’re in school and during any authorized grace period.

Unsubsidized is not need-based. You’re responsible for the interest on the loan, which begins accruing at the time of disbursement. However, you may choose to defer the interest until you begin repayment. The interest is then capitalized and added to the principal amount.

Student Loan Repayment

You’re not responsible for the principal amount of your federal loans while you’re at least a half-time student. Students are given one, six month grace period that being once you have dropped below half-time. Loan repayment begins 6 months after withdrawal, graduation, or dropping to less than half-time enrollment. The Federal Perkins Loan grace period is 9 months. Please visit the U.S. Department of Education for repayment and consolidation options.

Important note: Student loan interest will resume September 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October.

Financial Aid Merit Scholarship Renewal Requirements

Below is a list of our merit scholarship and their renewal requirements. 

Campus Enrichment Scholarship (First-Year) (Transfer)

ELI to Degree Scholarship 

First-Year Scholarships - Academic, Achievement, Dean, Honor, and Presidential and Cardinal Award

IDEA Scholarship 

International First-Year Scholarships - Presidential, Dean, and Honors 

International Transfer Scholarships - Excellence, Success, and Merit

Montaigne Scholarship

Opportunity Award

Phi Theta Kappa Award

Presidential Housing 

Second Degree Scholarship 

Transfer Honor Society 

Transfer On Campus Award

Transfer Scholarships - Excellence, Merit, and Success

Financial Aid Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Please review our satisfactory academic progress guidelines.

Undergraduate, teacher certs and second degree students

Graduate students

Financial Aid Handbook

Please review the information in the handbook for financial aid policies.

Federal Compliance

The Financial Aid Office follows federal, state, and institutional guidelines for the distribution of aid, and the College provides general compliance information.

Financial Aid Code of Conduct

The Financial Aid Code of Conduct was established to provide standards of ethical conduct for all Financial Aid Office employees and to guide them in their dealings with colleagues, students, the College and the community.

Withdrawal from North Central College

Please review information for a student withdrawing from the College.


For answers to our most frequently asked questions, check out our Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions.