Spring is in the air (finally—well at least in Texas!) and senior prom is just around the corner. Along with finishing their high school careers, seniors are now receiving college acceptance letters and finalizing their college decisions. It is an exciting time for high school seniors! With so much happening, many high school seniors are becoming anxious to see if their hard work has paid off, literally.   During the months of March and April, seniors who have been accepted to college and applied for financial aid using the FAFSA form or other required applications should expect to receive their financial aid award letters soon. Many colleges, however, are still processing the incoming financial aid applications and forms, but we are starting to see some award letters trickle in from several universities and colleges around the U.S.   So what is an award letter exactly? An award letter details the types of financial aid a student is eligible for during the specified school year. The types of financial aid may include grants, student loans, and scholarships the student is eligible for. In addition, these letters may indicate a suggested Parent PLUS Loan amount as well as the cost of attendance for that school year. Although some colleges do still send a physical letter in the mail, nowadays many colleges provide award letters through email or their online student accounts. Here is a sample of what an award letter may look like:

CAA - Award Letter

  CAA advises that you review all of the award letters you are expecting to receive before making a final decision and putting down an enrollment deposit at a college. Keep in mind that your financial aid awards should be secure until May 1st, which is the national acceptance deadline, unless otherwise stated on your award letter. Did you know that colleges are ethically bound by NACAC to abide by the May 1st decision deadline? Students can ask college for an extension beyond May 1st as needed, but should also be aware that some colleges will encourage you to put down a housing deposit to hold a place for on-campus housing that may not be available if you wait until May 1st. CAA recommends that students ask for a refund of this deposit if you choose not to attend.   Don’t panic if you have not received any of your award letters yet, but go ahead and contact the admissions and financial aid departments at the colleges you have been accepted to and confirm they have all the information they need. CAA Coaches love this time of year and are always available to answer our clients’ questions. Seniors, remember to be patient and enjoy these last few months of your high school life!