Financial aid award letters

financial aid award lettersAfter your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been processed and submitted to the schools to which you applied, as well as any additional forms required by the school, you will receive a financial aid award package from each school. This packet will explain the different types of awards for which you are eligible and outline the dollar amounts for each. It should also detail the total Cost of Attendance (or COA) for the school. Make sure you know what types of expenses this number includes, such as tuition, books, room, board, fees, required computer/equipment, personal expenses, and transportation. If it doesn’t include all of those items, you will want to add them to your total cost of attending each school.

The financial aid award can include a combination of scholarships, grants, loans, and even a work-study job. Since these types of aid are very different from each other, it’s important to know the differences, what you might have to do to keep your financial aid, and how it might change in subsequent years of college.

You can also accept or reject parts of your award package. You can accept a smaller loan amount, for example, but know that you will have to find the money elsewhere.

Earning Money is a Good Thing, Too

A financial aid award might include work-study (or federal work-study). This is a part-time job that enables you to earn at least the federal hourly minimum wage. The amount of the award depends on when you apply for the job, the level of financial need, and the availability of funds from the school. Work-study jobs can be either on campus or off campus and could be related to the student’s course of study. The amount you can be paid, or number of hours worked, cannot exceed the Federal Work-Study award amount. Some questions to ask about work-study include:

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