Financial Aid Award Letters 101

Financial Aid Award Letters 101
You have been accepted to​ college .​
Now, how are you going to​ pay for it?
For college-bound students and families, this is​ the moment of​ truth when they find out the amount of​ money being offered by a​ specific college .​
Each school will offer different award packages, which can include a​ combination of​ grants, scholarships, work study or​ student loans .​
Students and families should carefully read all of​ the information contained in​ the award letters and clearly understand the letters' terms and conditions .​
Equally important, try not to​ panic if​ the amount of​ money awarded is​ not enough to​ cover college expenses.
The financial aid award package is​ not the end of​ the road by any means, says Martha Holler, spokesperson for Sallie Mae, the nation's No .​
1 paying-for-college company .​
Never simply settle for a​ school based on cost alone .​
With roughly $143 billion in​ financial aid awarded last year, financial assistance is​ out there for students to​ attend their dream school.
In addition to​ thoroughly reading each award letter received, students and families should ask themselves the following:
• What are the enrollment requirements for grants and scholarships?
• Are the awards for one year or​ all four years?
• is​ the required GPA to​ maintain the awards realistic?
• If student employment is​ part of​ the financial aid package, what types of​ jobs are available and what rate of​ pay is​ typical?
Above all, it​ is​ important for students to​ compare their award packages on an​ apples-to-apples basis, says Holler .​
While one letter may total a​ higher amount, it​ may be more heavily weighted with loans and not free money, like grants and scholarships.
Holler adds that while most colleges rarely negotiate or​ match another school's award package, they should be alerted if​ a​ family's financial circumstances have changed .​
In that case, families should contact the financial office as​ quickly as​ possible for a​ reassessment.

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