What is an Award Letter?
You’ve applied for financial aid and received your award letter, but what does it really mean? Have you been offered grants and scholarships, or will you need to borrow and pay back student loans? Are the loans offered through the federal government or will they be paid back to the school? Understanding your financial aid award letter can be a little confusing, but armed with the following information, you will be better equipped to read and understand what you are being offered.
Understanding Your Award Letter
After completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the financial aid office at the school(s) you listed on the FAFSA, will receive your Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR). The ISIR contains all of the financial information that you reported on the FAFSA. From the ISIR, and perhaps a secondary institutional application, the financial aid officer (FAO) will determine your eligibility for programs from the institution, federal government, or other sources of aid. This aid package will then be sent to you in form of an award letter. Most schools will require that you sign the award letter to show that you are accepting the aid offer. Be aware that just because a school offers you an award, you do not have to accept it. You actually have the option to accept it, decline it, or decrease the award to fit your needs.
What Should You Look for in an Award Letter?
Terms to Understand
Grants and Scholarships
Tuition and Fees
Cost of Attendance
Resources to Help You:
- (see Grants, Fellowships and Scholarships)
AAMC Financial Wellness
Education Debt Manager (EDM) for Graduating and Matriculating Medical School Students
655 K St., NW, Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20001-12399