Understanding Your Financial Aid Award Offer

Although we wish that being a college student was as easy as showing up on campus in the fall, there are some things we need to cover first. Let’s talk about your financial aid award offer.

You can find your financial aid award offer in your email, inbox and along with a second copy sent to you in the mail. (Yes, it’s important enough to send twice!) You can also find it in your online student portal, which you are given access to upon acceptance to Alma.

Your financial aid award offer letter is customized to you based on the information that was collected through the application process and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to lay out the total cost of a year attending Alma College. This includes tuition fees, grants/scholarships, housing, and your selected meal plan.

To be clear, this is not a bill! It’s an explanation of cost. Let’s break down what your offer letter includes:

  • YEARLY COST for tuition, fees, housing, and food. This is charged directly to your student account.

  • GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS you are receiving for the academic year. There is no repayment required for this section.

  • LOANS OFFERED to you. You must complete steps for these to be applied to your account. This is a loan and repayment is required once you are no longer enrolled at least part-time in higher education.

  • FEDERAL WORK STUDY provides federal funding for students working on campus with financial need. It provides a way for you to earn money to pay for school expenses through part-time campus jobs. These may be on- or off-campus. In order to receive the offered funds, you must secure a campus job and earn them through your hours worked.

    If you are eligible, it will be listed on your financial aid award offer. Additional information about the program including open positions can be found at the Federal Work Study webpage.

    If you do not qualify for the Federal Work Study program, you can still apply and be employed in campus jobs to help offset your remaining costs!

  • THE REMAINING COST at the bottom of your letter is what you will be responsible to pay for the year. This balance includes offered student loans. There are required steps to claim these.

It is important to check your email regularly for communication from your financial aid counselor. This part of the college admissions process can be daunting, but the price of becoming a Scot is a lifelong investment! Once you understand what you’re getting into, you’ll be set for the rest of your college career.

Contact the Financial Services Office on campus with any questions at (989) 463-7347.