Evaluate an Award Letter

Which Financial Aid Package Offer is Right for You?

When a college or university figures out how much financial aid you qualify for, you will be sent an award letter. The letter lists the kinds and amounts of aid you're eligible for. You might be awarded gift aid— scholarships or grants that you don't have to pay back — or you might get work-study, or loans of various kinds or a combination of all of the above. Award letters may be sent hard copy to your home or electronically through email.

The letter doesn't mean that you have to accept the financial aid. You can accept all of it, some of it, or none of it. If you accept the entire offer, sign the letter, make a copy of it for your records, and return it to the school. If you want to accept some of the offer or find out what your options are, contact the school that sends you the letter.

If you have been accepted by several schools, don't rush to sign the first award letter you receive. Wait and compare financial aid packages. You may be pleasantly surprised at what seemingly expensive schools offer you in the way of financial aid.

Here are other documents located on AIE.org that you may be interested in: