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What Is an Award Letter?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 17, 2024
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In the world of finance, an award letter primarily refers to the letter sent to an American college student that verifies the amounts of financial aid or support that he or she is eligible for from government backed institutions and private companies. Other regions of the English-speaking world may have unrelated definitions of an award letter, and in general, this term could apply to any letter that outlines awarded money or capital. Those who hear the phrase mentioned in its primary context can understand it as a convention of the American higher education system.

When a college applicant receives an award letter, he or she can review the document to see how much funds have been offered through various channels. One type of available financial assistance is in the form of grants. There are federal Pell grants that apply to the college educations of many students. In addition, another type of lesser-known grant may also apply. This is called the Federal Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).

In addition to grants, the award letter may outline different types of loans for which the student has effectively been approved. These include Stafford and Perkins loans, as well as those administered by Sallie Mae, an educational lender with federal government support.

Along with information on grants and loans, the award letter can provide the student with further identification of alternative forms of financial support. One of these is work-study eligibility, where a student learns whether he or she can work set amounts of hours at the school or college in order to help pay for tuition. Other means of assistance assistant covered in award letters include scholarships and related funds.

Students who want to receive an award letter must generally initiate this process through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. After getting the letter, the student should contact the school to talk about how any eligibility will be utilized, as the student may be required formally accept the aid in writing. Through confirming the details, the student will be setting up the particular financial agreements that he or she will be responsible for in relation to the individual academic year.

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Discussion Comments
By LisaLou — On Jun 11, 2011

If you come from a home where your parents are divorced, they will look at incomes from both homes to determine the amount of your reward. I think if you are under 25, the FAFSA award letter will be based on the income of your parents. If you are over the age of 25, then this will be based on your yearly income.

They will request financial information from both parents, but in the case of my son they used the household where he lived over 6 months of the year for their figures.

By John57 — On Jun 08, 2011

The financial aid award letter that you receive after you submit your FAFSA information will let you know how much money you are going to receive for your college expenses. It is always great if you qualify for some kind of grant, because you do not need to pay these back.

There are also several different kinds of loans that you will have to pay back once you are out of school. The amounts in the award letter are based on your income (depending on your age) or the income of your parents.

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