Financial Aid Package

Outside Scholarships and Your Financial Aid Package

When I won my first scholarship for college, I was ecstatic. I proudly walked into the financial aid office and turned over my check to be deposited into my account. A few days later, I pulled up my account online to view my financial aid package and noticed that one of my college grants had been reduced. Livid, I called up the financial aid office to find out why. That’s when I learned about a little-known rule called the Federal Overaward Regulation (34 CRF 637.5). Under this provision, outside scholarships are considered resources and can reduce your financial aid dollar-for-dollar. In fact, colleges are required to reduce your aid package whenever the total from all resources exceeds the school’s tuition costs by more than $300.

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Understanding Your Financial Aid Award Letter

Financial Aid Help You’ve filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), submitted your college applications, and have received your acceptance letters, so what comes next? Welcome to the confusing task of reviewing and understanding your financial aid award letter! If you’ve received your letter and are wondering what COA, EFC, Subsidized, and Unsubsidized mean, never fear, we are here to help!

First, it’s important to know how your college calculated your award package. When you completed the FAFSA, this information was sent to your prospective colleges and you were assigned an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Colleges use this number, along with the Cost of Attendance (COA), to determine the amount of financial aid you may be entitled to receive. Each college has different variables when determining their COA, with many including tuition, fees, books and housing in the calculation. Continue Reading…


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