The Student Financial Aid Award Letter

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Students around the country have received or will soon receive their college acceptance letters.  Students will need to either accept the admission invitation or reject it for another school.  But wait! Before you say yea or nay on a particular school, first review the college’s financial aid award letter. 

The financial aid award letter is sent to all students who have been accepted by the college and who have requested financing aid.  The financial aid award letter specifies how much your cost of education will be for an academic year and how much aid you qualify for to pay the cost.  The difference between the cost and aid awarded is your expected family contribution towards your cost of education. 

The Financial Award Letter (Package) will list the type of financial aid that may include:

grants and scholarships:
includes private and government grants and all scholarships.

student loans:
Perkins, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, PLUS loans, state loan programs, other.

work-study programs:
different work programs through the school or in the community.

Some award letters do not cover the full cost of attendance.  You will have to determine what additional money you can find on your own in order to attend your college of choice.

You should review the financial award letter. Understand its terms including loan interest rates, required work hours, aid renewal and other requirements.

Look at each award item to understand exactly what requirements are necessary to earn that award. Note that some institute grants are given to first-year students to encourage them to enroll. Make sure these grants are not reduced or removed after the first year.

Ask about the work-study program: hours required, pay, type work, etc.  Some students may opt to work the summer months instead of taking work -study programs.

You’ll also want to ask about the continued availability of the state grant.

 The school will require you to either Accept (A) or reject (R) the financial aid package.  Have all of your questions asked before accepting the financial aid package — if you feel the package is inadequate, contact your school’s financial aid office.

Review the financial aid packages among the various schools you plan to attend — compare which school offers the best financial aid package as it relates to your overall educational requirements.

Next time: what are the college costs

Further Reading:

about the financial aid process

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Categories: Finance