Skip to main content

Exploring Financial Options

Students and their parents are encouraged to work closely with the NKU Office of Student Financial Assistance as they explore options in meeting college costs.

After reading the consumer information on this page, you can contact our staff for answers to any additional questions. Our office is in Room 301 of the Lucas Administrative Center.

Contact Us:

  • Phone: 859-572-5143
  • Toll-free: 1-888-225-4499


Eligibility Requirements:

In order to determine your eligibility you must be fully admitted to NKU. You must annually complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The priority deadline to file the FAFSA each year is February 1st. You will not be awarded federal, state or institutional aid until your financial aid file is complete. Learn more about completing the FAFSA with this video guide:


You must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program to receive federal financial aid. During any semester (fall,spring, or summer), you must be enrolled at least half-time to receive a Federal Direct student loan.

You must also be maintaining progress according to NKU's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (see below). 

You must meet all federal, state and institutional eligibility requirements. All estimated awards are awarded based on of full time enrollment. Aid will be prorated or reduced depending on the actual number of hours you are enrolled.

Cost of Attendance:

The Office of Student Financial Assistance is required to establish an annual cost of attendance (COA). The COA is reflective of the student budget which includes: tuition,  room and board, books, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Student budgets are different based on a student's residency (Kentucky resident/non-resident).

Student budgets also differentiate based on undergraduate, graduate and law programs of study. Cost of attendance can be prorated depending on the length of the term.  Please contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance if you have any questions regarding your student budget.

Cohort Default Rate

Approximately, 65% of NKU students borrow a student loan to assist in financing their educational costs.  The U.S. Department of Education (ED) releases official cohort default rates once per year.  As defined by ED, a cohort default rate (CDR) is the percentage of a school's borrowers who enter repayment on certain Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program or William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans during a particular federal fiscal year (FY), October 1 to September 30, and default or meet other specified conditions prior to the end of the next fiscal year. Please refer to the Cohort Default Rate Guide for a more in-depth description of cohort default rates and how the rates are calculated.

The FY 2017 official cohort default rates were published on September 2020.  Below is a comparison on NKU's CDR vs the national average for the last three reporting years.

  FY 2017 FY 2016 FY 2015
National Average 9.7% 10.1% 10.8%
Northern Kentucky University 7.7% 6.5% 8.1%

Financial Assistance Websites

College Is Possible - Motivation for ages K-16 that help motivate students to achieve a college education

U.S. Department of Education - Higher education information

FinAid - SmartStudent Guide to financial assistance - Keep track of your student loans and other financial aid information

Searching for Scholarship - Vast scholarship search

Budgeting 101 - Simple budgeting guide for college students

Student Renter's Guide - Tips for off-campus housing rentals

Student Complaint Process

Students are encouraged to resolve complaints at the appropriate level of dispute; however, should this approach fail or be inappropriate, students may submit written complaints to the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Advocacy at All pertinent information should be listed including date, time, location, parties involved, witnesses, any attempts to resolve the complaint, and desired resolution. Anonymous complaints can be submitted in writing to the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Advocacy at the address below. Once received, the complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate academic area or administrative unit for review.

Complaints are respected and honored. No reprisals or retaliation shall be invoked against any student for processing, in good faith, a complaint or for participating in any way in these complaint procedures.

All submissions will be kept confidential to the extent possible given the need to investigate the complaint, maintain campus safety, and comply with federal, state, or local mandates.

Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Advocacy
Student Union room 301
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY, 41076


To file a consumer complaint against a Kentucky postsecondary institution, please write a letter to the address below or submit your complaint via and include the following information:

  1. Name of student (or complainant)
  2. Complainant address
  3. Email address
  4. Phone number
  5. Name of institution
  6. Location of institution (city)
  7. Dates of attendance
  8. A full description of the problem, any relevant documentation that will support the complaint such as correspondence, and the desired outcome.

Mailing Address:

Institutional Complaints
Council on Postsecondary Education
1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 320
Frankfort, KY 40601

You may also contact our accrediting agency the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) if you have a concern about the institutional accreditation status. The Commission’s complaint policy, procedures, and complaint form are available at:

Contact information for student complaint processes in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico:

Ombudsman Information

To contact the FSA Student Loan Ombudsman Group:


Phone: 877-557-2575

Fax: 606-396-4821


FSA Ombudsman Group
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633