Understanding Your Financial Award

Financial aid consists of scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans — but of course, not all applicants qualify for all of these awards. In general, scholarships are based on academic merit; grants and work-study are based on federally defined need; and loans are based on need, cost, class level and other factors. Fund availability also affects the kinds and amounts of awards we can offer.

Financial aid awards will be estimated if we still need to confirm or correct information. The most common reason that an award is estimated is if the student’s FAFSA data was selected for federal verification. When this occurs, students and parents must provide a completed verification worksheet and official documentation of their income from the IRS. Estimated awards can be finalized only after we receive and review this information.

Information about additional steps needed to obtain certain kinds of funding, such as finding a work-study job or applying for loans, accompanies the award notifications. Students who are awarded work-study typically work 10 — 20 hours per week while classes are in session and are paid twice per month. Jobs are on-campus or at approved off-campus sites. Students who borrow federal loans must complete and submit an electronic master promissory note and do online loan entrance counseling.

Awards can change for several reasons. They can decrease if students receive outside scholarships that meet part of their remaining need or, in combination with their financial aid, exceed the students’ annual cost of attendance. Awards can also decrease due to changes to FAFSA data, changes in a student’s major or coursework, or reductions in available federal, state, or institutional funding that sometimes occur during the year. Awards can increase due to certain FAFSA data changes, and as a result of our consideration of students’ special circumstances.