How long does it take to get my financial aid award letter?
After getting accepted to a college or university, you are probably wondering how much it is going to cost you and your family. The financial aid award letter is the document that will help you understand your financial aid options at the college. Once you get accepted, you are probably wondering “how long does it take to get my financial aid award letter?”.
This is important, because you don’t want to enroll in a college without knowing what the cost is! Most colleges will require students to put down a non-refundable deposit to secure their spot in the freshman class.
Generally, you will receive your award letter around the time you receive your admissions decision (or a few days after). This will give you some time to compare your options and make the best possible decision.
However, the specifics of when you will receive your financial aid award letter depend on how you applied to the college or university.
For students applying Regular Decision
If you have applied to a college under a Regular Decision admissions plan, you should expect to receive your financial aid award letter by the end of March. As students generally need to make an admissions decision by May 1st, you will have a month to make a decision and assess your financial aid package. Of course, this assumes that you met the FAFSA deadline and if applicable, the CSS Profile deadline.
For students applying Early Decision or Early Action
If you have applied under an early admissions plan, you will expect to receive your financial aid award letter in December or January. Note that the financial aid deadlines for early admissions plans are also earlier than deadlines for Regular Decision applicants.
What if you haven’t received your financial aid award letter?
If you haven’t received your financial aid award letter within a few days of being accepted to a college, you should immediately get in touch with the colleges’ financial aid office.
Many colleges also have online status portals where you can find your admissions acceptance letter, as well as your financial aid award letter.
If time is running out and the deposit deadline is coming up, you can reach out to the financial aid office to request an extension. While there are no guarantees that a college will grant you an extension, it is worth asking so that you have more time to assess your financial aid options.