Northwestern University

Northwestern University Student Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

With its main campus located in Evanston, IL, Northwestern University is a private research institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition and admission information.

Is Northwestern University the School for You?

Northwestern University (NU) was established in 1851 and enrolls over 20,000 students each year. The university employs more than 2,500 faculty members through 11 different colleges. Northwestern University contains three campuses: the main campus in Evanston and two smaller campuses in Chicago and Qatar. Northwestern University offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, as well as postsecondary certificate programs. Read on to find out if Northwestern University is the school for you.


  • Ranked among the Top 20 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report
  • Student-faculty ratio is well below the national average
  • Graduation rate is 46 percentage points higher than the national average


  • Room and board is $4,014 above the national average
  • Acceptance rate is 45.8 percentage points lower than the national average

Rankings & School Analysis

At Northwestern University, common areas of study include journalism, business, management, economics, finance and engineering. The university has won multiple distinctions from national ranking organizations. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked NU's Kellogg School of Management as #4 among business schools in the nation, and the School of Law was #12 nationally. NU's School of Education and Social Policy was ranked among the top ten education schools in the nation. Northwestern University as a whole was ranked #12 among national universities.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that the graduation rate at NU was 86% for students who began in 2005, which was much higher than the national average of 40%. The student-faculty ratio at NU was 7:1, which was significantly lower than the national average of 16:1. However, U.S. News & World Report's 2012-2013 estimate of $13,329 for room and board at Northwestern was higher than the national average of $9,315. Applicants also face a competitive application process. NU's 2011 acceptance rate of 18% was considerably lower than the national average of 63.8%.

Admissions & Financial Aid at Northwestern University

Northwestern University enrolls approximately 2,000 freshman students each year. Students must fill out the Common Application and the Northwestern Supplement, both of which can be completed online or through the mail, although online applications are usually processed quicker. The early deadline for the fall semester is November 1st, while the regular deadline is January 1st.

Students must submit transcripts, SAT or ACT test scores and an application fee. First-time students must complete a number of additional forms, including a secondary school record and teacher evaluation. In addition to these forms, students must write essays expressing their academic and professional goals.

In 2011, 46.6% of Northwestern University's students received some type of need-based financial aid. NU provides a number of scholarships for its students, but the school's scholarships are need-based, rather than merit-based, awards.

Application and Tuition Information
Regular Application Deadline (2013-2014) January 1*
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013-2014) February 15****
Notification of Acceptance (2013-2014) Early April*
Application Fee (2013-2014) $65*
Acceptance Rate (2011-2012) 18%**
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $43,779***
Average Financial Aid Package (2012-2013) $34,148***
Percent of Students with Need Met (2011-2012) 100%****
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2010-2011) $22,130****
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 1.8%**

Student Life at Northwestern University

Northwestern University's main campus contains a variety of different libraries that house art collections, music, Africana collections and government resources. Students can participate in over 350 student organizations, including a chess club, a student magazine and a choir group. The University Career Services provides undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni with various career and professional resources. The office offers free access to several career databases, including the CareerCat, allowing students to search and apply for available jobs throughout the country.

In addition to online resources, students also have access to an interviewing center, a career information library and a career lab. Students can find internship opportunities, job fairs and career workshops that focus on all aspects of professional development.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Small city
Student Population (2011-2012) 20,959**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011-2012) 48% to 52%**
% of Full-Time Students (2011-2012) 89%**
% of In-State Students (2011-2012) 26%**
% of International Students (2011-2012) 7%**
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 97%**
Campus Housing Available Yes
% of Students Living on Campus 65%***
Number of Libraries 14 (Evanston campus)*
Extracurricular Activities 377 organizations and clubs****

Sources: *Northwestern University, **NCES College Navigator, ***The College Board, ****U.S. News & World Report

School Contact Info

  • Address: Office of Undergraduate Admission, 1801 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60208
  • Phone: (847) 491-7271