The award letter that colleges send you contains crucial information about the aid you are being offered. A typical award letter will provide details about the types and sources of financial aid available to you.
While all award letters are the same in that they contain important information about the aid you are being offered, these letters are not standardized. Every award letter will be structured differently, which can often be confusing. Students may read one or two award letters and just presume that all contain the same information. Doing this may result in you making an expensive mistake.
When you read your award letter, you must pay attention to every little detail. Yes, the devil is truly in the details.
Here are some things that you should look out for in your award letter:
How much of the aid is from scholarships and grants (this is money that you do not have to return) and how much is by way of loans (this is money that you will have to return with interest)?
Do you qualify for work study?
Is the Cost of Attendance (COA) clearly stated in the letter? What is included in the COA? Are room, meal plans, and text books also included along with tuition fees?
Reading your award letters carefully will help you make an accurate estimation of how much it will cost you to attend each college and ultimately decide which of the colleges you can actually afford to attend.
Use College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder to compare lenders and interest rates side by side!