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Understanding the Financial Aid Award Letter
You will receive financial aid award letters from the schools to which you applied and requested financial aid from.
An award letter is typically made up of the following sections:
- Financial calculations
A summary of the cost of education for that school is calculated, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, living expenses, transportation and personal costs. The cost of education will be different for each school.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
An estimate of a student's personal and/or family money that should be available to help pay educational costs, based on the federal methodology. The EFC is calculated using the information provided on the FAFSA.
- Financial need
This figure reflects the cost of education minus the EFC. This figure reflects your eligibility for need-based financial assistance at each school. Financial need varies from school to school because the cost of education varies by school.
Review Your Award Letter
Within two weeks of receiving an award letter, you should inform your school whether you are accepting or declining the awards. You don't need to accept everything offered, but if you decline anything, the school typically will not replace it with other types of aid. Occasionally, Work-Study and loans are negotiable, but grants and scholarships are not.
If your or your parents' financial circumstances have changed since the completion of the FAFSA, it's very important to inform the financial aid office.
Items to Consider
- Are the grants and scholarships in the award letter renewable? What are their terms and conditions? If they are renewable, what is the renewal process? If not, what financing options can be substituted for them after the first year of college?
- If the college can not meet your total financial need, can this amount be earned or will you need a loan?
- How much loan aid is offered? What are the terms and conditions? What is the interest rate? Are there any deferment, cancellation or forgiveness policies?
- If Work-Study has been awarded, is this a realistic option?
- Once you have decided which school you will attend, the other schools to which you applied should be notified so that they can offer admission and financial aid to other eligible applicants.
Important Legal Disclosures and Information
You are encouraged to explore all scholarship, grant and federal borrowing options before applying for a private loan.
PNC does not provide accounting, tax or legal advice. Any calculators provided are intended for educational and estimation purposes only, and their accuracy is not guaranteed. The calculators, and any results displayed, do not constitute the advice of, or reflect actual products, services, rates and/or terms available from PNC Bank or its affiliates, and nothing contained in the calculators shall constitute an offer or solicitation of a product or service by PNC Bank or its affiliates.
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