aid step 4: Analyze the Award Letter

college award letter
Two forms will follow your submission of the FAFSA form. First is the Student Aid Report (SAR). Next is the Financial Aid Award. Step 4 reviews the Financial Aid Award letter.


Aid Information:

  1. what is the financial award letter
  2. review the award letter: accept or reject
  3. FREE summary aid booklet

Click a topic heading to toggle the display of its contents | hide all | show all

What is the Financial Award Letter

The Financial Award Letter is processed by the college or university that you will be attending

The school's financial aid office will process the SAR and determine the total financial aid you can receive through federal, state, and college-based programs.

The school will then send you the Financial Award Letter (Package) usually upon acceptance of your college admission — usually around April to May

The Financial Award Letter (Package) will list the type of financial aid that may include:

  • grants and scholarships:
    includes private and government grants and all scholarships.
  • student loans:
    Perkins, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, PLUS loans, state loan programs, other.
  • work-study programs:
    different work programs through the school or in the community.

    link to our financial aid charts for a summary review

Sample aid listing of an award letter:

top of page

Review Award Letter: Accept or Reject

Some award letters do not cover the full cost of attendance

The sample award letter above shows an award package that matches the financial need for the academic years. Some colleges may offer award amounts that are less than the total financial need.

You will have to determine what additional money you can find on your own in order to attend your college of choice.

You should review the financial award letter

Understand its terms including loan interest rates, required work hours, aid renewal and other requirements.

Look at each award item to understand exactly what requirements are necessary to earn that award. Note that some institute grants are given to first-year students to encourage them to enroll. Make sure these grants are not reduced or removed after the first year.

Ask about the work-study program: hours required, pay, type work, etc. Some students may opt to work the summer months instead of taking work -study programs.

You'll also want to ask about the continued availability of the state grant.

The school will require you to either Accept (A) or reject (R) the financial aid package.

Have all of your questions asked before accepting the financial aid package — if you feel the package is inadequate, contact your school's financial aid office.

Review the financial aid packages among the various schools you plan to attend — compare which school offers the best financial aid package as it relates to your overall educational requirements.

top of page