It’s hard to believe spring is upon us. Hopefully, your college applications are in, your FAFSA has been submitted, and you’ve started receiving different types of letters from your schools. Right C3 coaches are fielding calls from parents wanting to know what each letter means. We understand it can be confusing, so today we are going to discuss two types of letters: scholarship letters and award letters.
A scholarship letter is not the same thing as an award letter. Some colleges send scholarship letters, usually between December and March, to notify students that they will receive a specific scholarship if they choose to attend that college. These scholarships are usually based on high school GPA and standardized test scores but might be awarded based on talent or other notable qualities. Some of you may have received these letters—if you have, congratulations! But wait—don’t commit yourself to a school based on a scholarship letter, there’s more!
And if you have not received a scholarship letter that does not mean you won’t get a scholarship. Not all colleges send this type of letter.
About two to three months after you file your FAFSA colleges will start sending out award letters. This typically happens in February, March and April. This letter will provide you with details about your financial aid package and will include any scholarship you were offered, but will also list any federal, state, or other institutional aid you qualified for. You might see grants, loans, and/or work study listed on these letters.
Understanding award letters is an important part of making sound financial decisions when it comes to your college education. Comparing your offers from all of the colleges helps ensure that you understand which college will be the most affordable option. Review your award letters in detail and compare each type of aid from each of your colleges to determine which university is the most affordable option. Make sure to take into account what the college will costs for four years, not just freshman year.
Right C3 clients can contact our coaching staff to answer all of your questions about scholarship and award letters. If you are not one of our clients, please contact the financial aid office at the colleges where you have been accepted to discuss the details of your awards. Unless the college says otherwise, you need to make your final college decision by May 1st.