Mapping Your Future: Understanding award letters, student loans


Understanding award letters, student loans

By Beth Ziehmer

June 01, 2016

Award letters from financial aid offices include several different pieces of information and can be unique to the school. This can make comparing the financial aid packages somewhat difficult at times.

Students and their parents can find information about how to review their award letter and the different types of aid it may include, tools to help determine how much they can afford to borrow in the aid includes student loans, and how to compare award letters from different schools. This information is available on Mapping Your Future's review your award letter and accept aid page.

Some of the aid awarded may include federal student loans, which is federal student aid. If loans are part of your award package, borrowing responsibly should be the top priority for you and your family. Remember to estimate the total dollar amount you are going to need to borrow in federal student loans to complete your degree, so that you don't overextend yourself in student loans.

Mapping Your Future provides a student loan debt/salary wizard, where you can estimate how much you can afford to borrow based on your future expected earnings. It is important that you use the average starting salary for your expected career field, as your loans will enter into repayment six months following graduation, several years before you will reach your peak earning potential.

You can accept all or part of the financial aid package offered. If you accept any part of the school's offer, follow your school's instructions for indicating which aid you choose to accept, make a copy for your records, and return it to the school.

Contact the school's financial aid office for any questions you or your parents have about the award letter.