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.