Your College Financial Aid Award Letters!
As your Award Letters start rolling in please make copies and share them with us. We collect these every year to help you evaluate the letters to find your best deal, determine your eligibility for the Phillips Scholarship, and to get a sense of what schools are giving our students—which will help us make recommendations for next year’s seniors and other Upward Bound students for years to come. And so far, the Award Letters that we have seen are just about what we expected. Your hard work— or lack of—in high school does pay off—we see it in every award letter. We also see students who have not identified realistic safety schools struggling to figure out how to afford all of those Dream Schools on their list! Be Smart and Work Hard!
Look Closely At Each Award Letter!
Please remember to share each award letter with us! This will not only help you and your family make a good decision but it will also help all of the other Upward Bound students who are looking at schools similar to yours! After a college accepts you, you'll receive a letter outlining how much the school will cost and what kind of financial aid package you'll receive for one year. All financial aid award letters don’t look the same, but they contain the same general information about grants, scholarships, work study, and loans! We have seen some great award letters and some that leave students looking for as much as $20,000 a year! After a college accepts you, you'll receive a letter outlining how much the school will cost and what kind of financial aid package you'll receive for one year. All financial aid award letters don’t look the same, but they contain the same general information. The biggest that we have seen so far is the amount of GAP that schools are listing! This remaining amount—or funding gap—is the amount that you will have to find through other sources! At some schools that funding gap maybe part of your Expected Family Contribution or it may not! And remember that your award letter is just for 1 year! If you have to borrow about $10,000 a year—you will have to multiple that by 4 years!
Check Your Student Aid Report!
It is very important to have an accurate SAR. All of your financial aid awards are based on the information listed on the information your provided on the FAFSA back in October! Please take some time right now to review it carefully with your family and compare the information listed to a copy of your FAFSA.The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) listed on your SAR will determine the amount of aid you'll receive. We have had a few students who had put down information that was not correct so you really need to take the time to look through the SAR to make sure you are getting all of the money that you are eligible for! If you think any of the information on your SAR is incorrect, correct it by going to the official FAFSA website.
Grants vs Scholarships
Think way back to last summer when we talked about Grants and Scholarships! The most important thing you need to remember is that both grants and scholarships are free money for you! Grants are need based—on your families ability to pay for college—and scholarships are based on merit! But money from either source will help make the difference between a target and a reach school! You have all completed your grant applications (FAFSA and VSAC or NHCF) Now is the crunch time to really shake those bushes for any scholarship money that you can find. By this point, hopefully, all of you have completed the VSAC Scholarship book and sent everything to Winooski! Please make sure that you have exhausted your schools guidance department for all of the local scholarships that you are eligible for. And please remember to look closely at all of the scholarships we send your way—in particular the EPSCoR, the Gilman and the Phillips! These scholarships will be the ones that will help you to afford the college you most want to attend! If you do not apply for them you most likely will eliminate some very good schools! A college scholarship may be renewable each year if all criteria has been met. In order to have the college scholarship renewed it is important to maintain the level of achievement the scholarship committee is requiring. Failure to do so may result in a loss of the college scholarship. Call us if you have questions…..