Financial aid, in the context of colleges, refers to various forms of assistance provided to students to help them afford the costs associated with pursuing higher education. These costs include tuition, fees, room and board, textbooks, and other educational expenses. Financial aid can come from different sources, including federal and state governments, colleges and universities, private organizations, and individuals.
There are three main types of financial aid:
- Grants and Scholarships: These are typically awarded based on financial need, academic achievement, talents, or other criteria. They do not need to be repaid and are a form of "gift aid."
- Loans: These are funds that students borrow and are expected to repay with interest after they graduate or leave college. Loans can be from federal sources (e.g., Stafford loans) or private lenders.
- Work-Study: This involves part-time work (often on-campus) while enrolled in college to earn money to help pay for educational expenses.
Financial aid is determined through a process called "financial aid packaging," where colleges assess a student's financial need based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other financial aid applications. The aid package typically consists of a combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study opportunities.
Students and their families are encouraged to apply for financial aid to help bridge the gap between the cost of attending college and their ability to pay. It's an essential tool to make higher education more accessible and affordable for a broader range of students.
We empathize with the potential stress associated with the Financial Aid process, and at John Hancock College Prep, we are dedicated to supporting students and families throughout this journey. In the upcoming Fall semester, we have scheduled multiple workshops designed for both students and families to provide comprehensive insights into the Financial Aid system. As we move into the Winter, we will be organizing workshops to guide and assist you in completing the financial aid applications. Please take a moment to review the dates and times provided below!
Student dates are now available. Parent/Guardian dates will be out soon!
Financial Aid Award Letters
A financial aid award letter is a formal document issued by a college, university, or other educational institution to inform a student about the types and amounts of financial assistance they are eligible to receive for the upcoming academic year. This letter is typically sent to students who have applied for financial aid, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans.
Here are some key components of a financial aid award letter:
- Types of Aid: The letter will detail the types of financial aid being offered, which can include grants (need-based or merit-based), scholarships, federal work-study programs, and student loans.
- Award Amounts: It specifies the amounts for each type of aid offered. These amounts may cover tuition and fees, room and board, textbooks, and other educational expenses.
- Terms and Conditions: The letter may outline any specific terms and conditions related to the financial aid, such as maintaining a minimum GPA or enrollment status to remain eligible.
NEW IN 2023: SAI is replacing the EFC (Estimated Family Contribution)
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) is an eligibility index number that a college’s or career school’s financial aid office uses to determine how much federal student aid the student would receive if the student attended the school. This number results from the information that the student provides in their FAFSA® form.
- Cost of Attendance (COA): The COA is the estimated total cost of attending the institution for the academic year, including tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses. The letter may include this figure to help students understand the full cost of their education.
- Acceptance Instructions: The letter will provide instructions on how to accept or decline the offered financial aid. Often, there is a deadline by which the student must respond.
- Renewal Information: If applicable, the letter may provide information on whether the aid is renewable for subsequent academic years and the conditions for renewal.
It's important for students and their families to carefully review the financial aid award letter to understand the terms and obligations associated with the aid, as well as to compare offers from different institutions to make informed decisions about college affordability. Students can also reach out to the financial aid office for clarification on any aspects of the award letter that may be unclear.