By Aimee Nemeth

The moment has finally arrived…

Your college acceptance letter is in your hands.

After you and your family are done celebrating the great news, the next question is, how are you going to pay for it? Confused, you look back at the letter, you flip it over, and turn it inside out, but there’s no information about funding, scholarships, or costs of attendance.

Every year, students and their families assume that acceptance to a college or university means that all the hard work is over- that it’s time for celebration until they have to load the car up for the upcoming fall.

That’s, unfortunately, not the case (though you are almost there!). The acceptance letter won’t tell you anything about funding your education.

But what are you going to do now?

Remember the FAFSA you filled out (or are going to fill out as soon as you finish reading this?)? All of that information was sent to the schools of your choice so that their financial aid offices could decide who gets scholarships, grants, and funding for the upcoming school year. Given the numbers of students who apply, and all of their unique financial circumstances, that can take some time to sort out to create a solid picture of their incoming Freshman class.

Fortunately, soon, you will receive a second letter at some point between the winter and spring called your “Award Letter”. On this page is an example of an award letter from the University of Michigan:

Notice how it breaks down the different estimated costs, as well as your individual financial aid for the year? This letter is essential if your college decision is based off of financial need.

Most universities and colleges will send this award letter before the deadline to accept their offer of admission (the only exception to this rule will be for Early Decision applications.). Make sure you have all of your information before accepting a school. There’s nothing worse than accepting your dream school, only to find out that you can’t afford it a few months later.

Parros College Planning can take on all of the stress of understanding your tuition costs and help you create the perfect budget for the school of your dreams.

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