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Starting the Conversation: Financial Aid Award Letters


As we leave 2018 FAFSA priority deadlines behind us, students are checking their portals and mailboxes for their financial aid award letters. As they gear up to make big decisions about their financial and educational future, here are a series of helpful terms and questions to help guide students through their award letters.


More terminology questions related to college costs? Check out our college costs tip blog from Leader Fellow Dr. Jenifer Price!



Award letters do not follow a standardized format. Students and families may struggle to evaluate and compare their financial aid offers. This list of questions should help guide students to the answers they seek as they try to make sense of their award letters.

Once a counselor or adviser has helped students fully understand the answers to each of these questions, as well as their importance, students can do the hard work of weighing costs and benefits of each of their potential futures.


Counselors and advisers: This information is provided courtesy of the Texas OnCourse Academy. For more information on guiding students through award letter analysis, understanding the PLUS loan, and more, click "Login here" in the upper right hand corner of this screen and head to our College Finances module.