Figuring out Your Monetary Help Award Letter

A Step-By-Step Guide to Understanding Your Financial Aid Award Letter

The instant is right here.  You click on in your admission standing. YOU’RE IN! YOU’RE IN!  YOU’RE IN!  You soar. You scream. You rejoice. You prevent. “Can I find the money for it?” Pleasure drains. Truth hits you. You anxiously anticipate your award letter. That is the piece of the puzzle that tells you ways a lot it is going to in point of fact price.  While you open it up, it may be complicated.  Like, REALLY complicated.

Right here’s a step by step information to lend a hand transparent up the monetary help award letter confusion:

Step 1. Open the letter.

Don’t tear it. Be delicate. Take a deep breath. Have a look at the letter.  It could glance a little bit complicated.  Be ready. Other colleges would possibly use other phrases and acronyms (TLA: they love acronyms).

Step 2. To find all that unfastened cash!

Search for scholarships and grants (often referred to as Present Help). You may qualify for grants or scholarships you by no means even knew existed in your campus. That is cash you DO NOT want to pay again. It’s being passed to you. Congrats!

Step 3. Search for Federal Paintings-Find out about (FWS).

You could be eligible for Federal Paintings-Find out about jobs. That is NOT unfastened cash. You must paintings to earn this cash. The Federal Paintings-Find out about program offers you a possibility to discover a work-study task. If you happen to don’t follow for a work-study task (positions aren’t assured) or select to not paintings in university, you are going to NOT get this cash.

Step 4. Spot the loans.

Colleges will record the federal loans you might be eligible to obtain. Once in a while this will also be grouped together with your scholarship and grants (complicated). Federal loans are sponsored or unsubsidized.  Sponsored loans don’t accrue pastime whilst you’re at school or all over deferment sessions. Unsubsidized loans start accruing pastime the instant you or your faculty obtain it.  Sponsored federal loans are probably the most fascinating.


Step 5. To find the Value of Attendance (COA).

COA is tuition, room, board, and costs. To resolve your internet direct price, you are going to use the COA and subtract scholarships and grants. If you happen to’re going to paintings on campus, and are eligible for work-study, you’ll be able to subtract work-study help too. This offers you the web direct price BEFORE factoring in loans. Relying in your price range, it’s possible you’ll or would possibly not want loans.

Step 6. Don’t let BIG scholarships confuse you. Do the Math.

As an example, if one faculty is providing you $30,000 in award cash and every other faculty will provide you with $15,000, the college that’s providing you more cash would possibly in reality price you more cash after you do the maths.

College #1: Value of Attendance (COA) $50,000 – $30,000 (award) =

$20,000 Web Direct Value (What You continue to want to pay).  Overall over 4 years: $80,000

College #2: Value of Attendance (COA) $25,000 – $15,000 (Award) =

$10,000 Web Direct Value (What You continue to want to pay). Overall over 4 years: $40,000

Conclusion: On this instance, the college providing two times as a lot help prices you two times as a lot cash (stunning!)

Step 7. Touch the colleges that pastime you and proportion the awards you’ve been introduced.

Some colleges will fit different colleges award applications or will give you further price range. You must additionally ask about further scholarships or grants that could be to be had.

Step 8.  If you happen to do take out a mortgage, perceive EXACTLY how a lot it is important to pay every month while you graduate.

It’s simple to get cash. Paying it again is when it will get difficult. Perceive the entire pastime you are going to pay.  I counsel bobbing up with a pattern price range in line with your projected first-year income out of school. Do the maths.

Step 9. You probably have questions, touch the monetary help workplace on the colleges that pastime you.

Advisers need to lend a hand.  Don’t hesitate to succeed in out. In case your monetary state of affairs has modified, allow them to find out about those adjustments and notice if that affects your award.


  •  Be sure that the award is for all 4 years. Will the similar scholarships and grants be to be had?  What is going to alternate? What is going to now not alternate?
  • What price will increase are you able to be expecting? Will tuition, room, board, or charges building up? If that is so, more or less how a lot? Is that this incorporated for your award letter?
  • What loans are ONLY to be had to you as a result of your demonstrated want? What scholarships and grants are in line with your grades?  What do you wish to have to do with a view to stay them?
  • Percentage any outdoor scholarships you have already got secured to be sure you are nonetheless eligible for scholarships at the award letter.
  • Go back all asked fabrics to the college by means of the cut-off date incorporated for your letter.
  • It is important to whole the FAFSA each unmarried 12 months.  Some colleges require you to finish college-specific monetary help packages too.


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