Financial Aid Award Letters: Questions to Ask Your College

In Paying for College on Apr 08, 2016

Understanding your financial aid award letter can be complicated, but there's no reason to avoid talking to your college's financial aid office if you need more help. Even if you understand your letter, there are several questions you should ask each college’s financial aid office:

  • What is your outside scholarship policy? Will receipt of a private scholarship displace the college’s grants?
  • Do you practice front-loading of grants?
  • Can I qualify as a state resident? (This question should be asked of public colleges. State residents may qualify for tuition rates that are as much as half to a third of the tuition rates charged to out-of-state and international students.)
  • What percentage of undergraduate students graduate with student loan debt? What is the average amount of debt at graduation?
  • Is the financial aid in the award letter renewable? What are the criteria for keeping the financial aid in subsequent years?
  • How many hours will I need to work for my work-study job? Am I guaranteed to get a work-study job? Will the work-study job be related to my academic major? How often will I be paid?
  • How do I appeal for more financial aid?
  • Do you offer a tuition installment plan as an alternative to long-term debt?

Want even more information about your financial aid award letter? Check out our guides on:

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