Financial Aid Blog: Understanding your award letter
February 1st, 2014 | Financial Aid Counselors
Without a doubt, receiving an acceptance letter is one of the most exciting parts of starting your college journey. But there’s a second letter, called an award letter, that is also vitally important in actually making your dream of earning a degree become a reality.
Award letters are issued by financial aid professionals to organize how students are covering the costs of attending college. Letters use actual costs based on a full-time class load, and include standard room and board, and university fees. Miscellaneous costs like books and supplies vary, so they are not listed on the award letter.
One section of the letter includes “Gift Aid,” which comprises scholarships and grants that do not have to be paid back after graduation.
It’s important to note that gift aid amounts are based on full-time enrollment, so a student who registers for fewer than 12 credits will have their amount reduced.
Traditional loans, which are funds you must pay back, are also represented on the letter. The amount listed on the award letter is the maximum amount a student is eligible to receive, so you can accept less if you choose.
The work-study program is also listed on the award letter. Work-study positions provide hourly employment for undergraduate students with financial need, as determined by the FAFSA. Funding for this program is limited and allocated on a first-hired basis.
If your award letter does not show one of the types of aid described here, either you were not eligible for that aid, funds were no longer available from that source when your application was received, or the school has not been notified of your award from the donor/lender.
If you find that you are in need of additional financial aid, here are some possible options and ideas to help you through the financial process:
- Apply for outside scholarships … lots of them. They are are publicly available to anyone who meets the outlined requirements.
- Talk to your parent(s) about a Parent PLUS Loan. It’s a low-interest student loan that parents can get for their dependent, undergraduate student who is attending at least half-time. Also, if your parent is denied a PLUS loan, you can automatically receive additional unsubsidized loan funds. With a denial, freshmen and sophomores receive an additional $4,000 and juniors and seniors receive an additional $5,000.
- Research private loans. They are available to students who need funds to fill the gap between financial aid and total expenses.
We hope that you will be receiving and award letter from Evangel University soon! As always, contact the Student Financial Services office for assistance with award letters or to answer any questions regarding financial aid.