2 Answers

Jon Semcer Points3610
The financial aid package is actually a letter and depending  on the admission plan you applied under it can arrive at various times of the recruiting cycle. One factor is common -- you can not be awarded aid until you have been admitted. ED applicants get first shot at institutional aid and that is one advantage to applying under this plan.

The letter will outline for you by semester what your aid will consist of in terms of grants and scholarships ( monies that do not have to paid back); possible work study ( work 20 hours a week at the campus and use that money to pay your academic bills) and loans ( student and parent). Be aware of several factors.First, do not miss the return deadline of your award letter because doing so can cause your money to given to other students or returned to the state or federal governments. Second, carefully read how the financial aid is split between semesters. Third, you will be asked to " accept" or " reject" each source of your aid. For example, you might be offered a work study position for both semesters.. You must either check off " accept" or  " reject" next to the work study program. Fourth, be sure to make a copy of your completed letter ( signature and date). Fifth, sign the form.

Comparing letters from different schools can be tricky because the award letter is based on attending that school. Depending on your EFC---Expected Family Contribution  and the cost of the school only compare schools that are close in total cost to attend. Your EFC will remain no matter what the cost of the school. Take into account the size of the debt you are willing to handle after graduation and remember you must apply  for aid every year you are attending school, and will given an award letter ( your aid can vary each year depending on you and your family's financial situation) you can compare federal and state loans. You can also compare the total amount awarded each semester.

 Taking your time is important in order  for you to be prepared each semester. Make a copy of the signed award letter and return it before the deadline. If you have questions about any of the awards call the financial aid first, have your questions answered and then sign.
I honestly have never found a "typical financial aid package" as each student and school is different in addition to the level of funds available which changes from year to year whether offered through the state or, the federal government. Financial aid can be made up of loans, grants, scholarships, work-study, internships. Determining whether or not a student will receive financial aid comes as a result of parents completing a federal application for aid called the FAFSA which can be found at the website below: https://fafsa.ed.gov/ Once the FAFSA is complete, results will be forwarded to you as the parent and, to any colleges listed on the FAFSA as those that a student will be applying to. When you receive the results of your FAFSA application, you will learn whether the federal government has found that your child qualifies for FA or not and if so, how much and in what way (loans, grants, etc.). Each college that your child has applied to will determine as well, as a result of the FAFSA information, if they will or will not be distributing FA to your child as well. But again I would say that there is no typical package. Each student, each parent(s), each college is different. Please do not hesitate to contact the financial aid officer at the schools your child is interested in for more detailed information regarding their particular FA programs. Each state also has an office which, can direct you regarding FA as well. In NJ, the HESAA can assist - you can find them by clicking on the link below: http://www.hesaa.org/Pages/default.aspx For FA information in other states, the website below can help as well: http://www.nasfaa.org/students/State_Financial_Aid_Programs.aspx Good Luck!

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