What is a financial aid award?
Financial aid awards go by a few other names, such as:
- Merit Letter
- School Aid Offer
- Financial Aid Package
- Award Letter
Your financial aid award is the single most important document you will receive from your college after you are accepted. You will usually receive this award letter after your college has sent you an acceptance letter. The financial aid award letter may come in the mail, via e-mail, or in your college’s student portal.
The financial aid award will list how much money the college, the state, and the federal government are able to provide for you in grants, scholarships and/or loans.
Tip: Schools determine how much financial aid you should receive based on your FAFSA. Once you successfully complete the FAFSA, or CA Dream Act (if you’re in California), and/or other financial aid applications available in your state, then the college will have the required information to finalize your financial aid award.
How do I find my financial aid award?
If you have not yet received your financial aid award, follow these steps to make sure you haven’t missed it.
Check your personal and college email
- Open the email account that you used when you applied to college. If you’ve already been given an email address for the college you were accepted to, check that email address too.
- In the search function, type in the name of the college or university you applied to followed by “+ financial award.” (Example – “San Jose State University + financial award.”) You can also try searching for messages containing “financial aid” from that school.
- Look through these emails from your school for information about your award notification.
- If you find an email saying that you need to submit additional documents or are selected for verification, be sure to read it right away and thoroughly. Follow all the steps provided as soon as you can and follow up with your financial aid office to confirm you have completed all of the required steps.
Check your mail
Ask your family members or housemates if any mail has arrived addressed to you from your school.
Check your college portal or student account
- Even if your school sends an email or mail notification, many schools will also list your award in your college portal.
- Log into your college portal or student account on your college’s website.
- Look for a section labeled “financial aid” (or something similar, as the title varies by campus) and click there.
- If you have trouble finding your award once you get logged in, reach out to your college advisor or the financial aid office at the college for support.
Call the college’s financial aid office
If none of the options above help you locate your award notification, the most direct way to get answers to your questions is to call the college’s financial aid office.