Understanding Financial Aid Award Letters

If you have a college-bound senior, you might be dealing with one of the more confusing parts of helping your child decide which college admission to accept—figuring out what the financial aid award letter means and how those offers from different colleges compare. The SLM Corporation, known as Sallie Mae, the federal banking partner that runs the student loan program, has a useful page to help you decode what a financial aid award letter means.

The page provides answers to questions such as:

  • What’s in a financial aid award letter?
  • What do COA, EFC, and other parts of the letter mean?
  • How to you compare financial aid packages?
  • How do loans, grants, and scholarships compare in an financial aid award letter?
  • Do I have to accept all of the financial aid offered in the letter?

The site also offers a short video with four tips on how to read an award letter. Make sure that you an d your child have the information you need to make a college decision that is right for them and for your family’s financial situation. Check out Sallie Mae’s page and other information on the site.

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