Spring’s in the air and that means colleges will soon send out acceptance letters to anxiously awaiting student applicants who have applied for admission. Applicants who completed the FAFSA (and CSS Profile, if applicable) will also receive a Financial Aid Award Letter along with their letter of acceptance.
The Financial Aid Award Letter is not a bill, although it contains all sorts of numbers and dollar amounts. The college will send out a bill only after the student has decided to attend and for the upcoming semester only. A Financial Aid Award Letter helps the student and family devise a budget, based on total Cost of Attendance (COA) for the entire year. The COA includes tuition, fees, housing, meal plan, books and any other education-related expenses, like transportation and computer equipment.
More importantly, a Financial Aid Award Letter provides a breakdown of all the forms of financial aid the student qualifies for, including scholarships, grants, federal loans and work-study. Here’s what to look for in a typical Award Letter: