After a college accepts you, they will send you a letter outlining how much the school costs and what kind of financial aid package you'll receive for one year. Not all financial aid award letters look the same, but they contain the same general information:
- Federal student loans
- Cost of attendance (COA) - an estimate of what you can expect to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal expenses for one year
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - an index number that colleges use to determine financial aid eligibility
- The remaining amount, or funding gap, that you’ll have to make up through other sources
Figure Out How Much You'll Pay For Each College
To figure out your funding gap for each school, take the school's COA and subtract both your EFC and the financial aid package. You'll have to pay the remainder from other sources, such as a private student loan. For some families, your funding gap might include part or all of your EFC.
Award Letter Tips
- You may have to accept or decline your award with the school, either online or by returning a signed form
- You don't have to accept all the terms in your financial award letter. You can choose to decline loans, work-study, etc.
- Your award letter covers one year only; you'll need to fill out the FAFSA and apply for financial aid every year you're in school
- When you're comparing school offers, be sure to consider other factors, like location, quality of academic programs, and graduation rate.
Tuition and other education expenses can be high, and you may be responsible for expenses not covered by financial aid, grants, and scholarships. HVCU partnered with Sallie Mae® to offer our members additional funding with their Smart Option Student Loan. ®