Understanding and Reviewing Financial Aid Letters

Brought to you by our partners at College Ave Student Loans.

If you were accepted to multiple universities (congratulations!), you likely felt a great deal of excitement when you received your letters. But then your excitement was probably quickly replaced with confusion, and maybe even anxiety, when you tried to make sense of your financial aid letters.

After all, universities don’t have a standard way of presenting the information, and it can be hard to see what offer is best. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be confusing.


Elements of Financial Aid Letters

The first step to evaluating financial aid letters is to understand the elements they include. Each letter will include:

  • Cost of attendance (an estimate of tuition and fees, room and board, books, and other supplies)
  • Money that you do not have to repay (e.g., grants or scholarships)
  • Money that you need to repay (e.g., federal loans)
  • Work-study programs funded by the federal government and/or the university

financial aid

Factors to Consider When Reviewing Financial Aid Letters

Contact the university’s financial aid officer listed in your offer letter to gather more information about your offer. It’s a good idea to do this by email so you have a written record of the conversation. You’ll want to know the following information:

  • Additional Costs
  • Estimated Tuition Cost Increases
  • The Average Graduation Rate at the University
  • Scholarship Terms
  • Loan Terms
  • Work-study Program Terms

Additional Questions

In addition, you’ll want to know:

  • Might the amount of my award increase if some other students don’t accept their awards?
  • What do I need to do to receive the award?
  • What do I need to do to continue to receive award funds in subsequent years?

Learn More

Want to learn more about what do next with your financial aid letters? Looking for more information about the different factors to consider? Check out the full article from our partners at College Ave Student Loans.




financial aid


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