What Is a Student Aid Package?

Main Content

What Is a Student Aid Package?

Your student aid package details the types and amounts of student aid that a college is offering you. The college informs you of your student aid package in an award letter. Look very carefully at each award letter and ask yourself these questions:

Question: What percentage of the award is "free" money?

Answer:
  • You don't have to pay back "free" money as long as you meet all of the obligations.
  • "Free" money includes grants and scholarships.
  • Grants and scholarships work like coupons, in that they lower the cost of tuition.

The more "free" money the better.

Question: How much am I responsible for paying?

Answer:
  • This amount can vary depending on the school.
  • Don't assume that a less expensive school will cost you less money.

You are responsible for paying the difference between the amount of aid the school is offering and the total cost of attendance.

Question: What are my other obligations?

Answer:
  • Find out how often you need to renew. Student aid packages are usually good for only 1 year.
  • Are there any academic requirements associated with the aid?
  • Will you still receive your student aid package if you change your major?
  • Will you still receive your student aid package if you change your enrollment status (for example, if you drop from full time to part time)?
  • What happens if you receive outside aid that results in an overaward?

Do not agree to any award letter until you understand your obligations.