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Understanding the Award Letter

M State's official notification process for financial aid awards is via the Web through a login to E-Services. There are two types of award letters, preliminary and official. The preliminary letter provides an estimate of awards. The official award letter informs each student who has completed the admissions process and all required financial aid documentation of his or her anticipated award for the award year. The heading of each letter states whether it is preliminary or official.

All current and incoming students who provided an email address on their college application will receive an email notifying them when an award letter is available. The award letter will be mailed to students who have not provided an email address. Students who wish to receive a paper award letter can contact their campus financial aid office to receive a copy.

How to Read the Award Letter

The award letter consists of two pages. The first page provides information about your estimated grants and loans and loan application information. Students interested in student employment should contact their financial aid office.

Page 1 - Award Information

The first page indicates the student's campus address and the award year, and it specifies whether the award is preliminary, official or revised. The preliminary award is an estimate, while both the official and official revised awards are actual awards (as long as corrections are not made after the printing of the letter). A revised letter is generated when information about additional awards is provided to the financial aid office and it impacts a student's eligibility for the amounts offered on the official award letter. (The revised award letter usually affects loan amounts when a student receives scholarships or funding from another source or chooses to do work study instead of taking out a loan).

The chart on Page 1 indicates grant, loan and work study amounts at different enrollment levels. The words Fall and Spring are followed by the year and the number of credits This refers to the term and year you are enrolled and the number of credits that you will be enrolled for. The headings 12-30 (full-time), 9-11 ( three-quarter time), 6-8 ( half-time) and 1-5 (less than half time) refer to credits that a student takes for that term. Below these numbers are the dollar amounts that correspond with award types at the left. The fewer the credits, the lower the amount of financial aid offered. Loans are not available to students who are enrolled for less than six credits. Because students enroll one term at a time, award information is provided by term.

There is a chart for each term that we anticipate you will be enrolled. If you have a one-term award, the college is anticipating that you will attend only one term that academic year. If you plan to attend more than one term, you will want to contact your campus financial aid office. Loan and work study amounts require additional action to receive/earn these funds.

State Grant Chart

Minnesota residents who are attending a Minnesota college and have attended less than four years of full-time college may be eligible for the State Grant. The State Grant chart indicates how much a student will receive per term for enrollment of 1 to 15 or more credits. The grant does not increase if a student takes more than 15 credits. Students who fill out a FAFSA after the first 30 days of the term are not eligible for a State Grant for that term but will be eligible for the remaining terms of the academic year.

Students are directed to the College Handbook and Catalog for additional information relating to a student's academic responsibilities to maintain eligibility for financial aid. Important financial aid dates can be found on our website.

Page 2 - Additional Information Page

The second page of the Award Letter explains the loan application process, provides links to loan counseling and the master promissory note website, and includes other important information. All students are required to complete loan counseling and a master promissory note prior to receiving their first loan at M State. The actual request for the loan is in the Spartan Net account under E Services and Financial Aid. Students who are first-time borrowers will have to wait 30 days into the semester prior to receiving a student loan. Student borrowing for one semester only will have half of their loan funds applied to their bill either by the tenth day of the semester, or on the 30th day if they are first-time borrowers. The second half will arrive at midterm.

Summer Award Letter

The summer semester is not included on the basic award letter. To be considered for financial aid for summer, students need to have their financial aid file completed and be registered for summer courses. Students who have attended two full-time terms in the year at any college will have used their grants prior to summer. The award year begins in the fall semester and ends after summer semester. If a student has not borrowed his or her maximum loan for the year, the student may be eligible for loans if enrolled at least half-time (6 credits). Enrollment is determined by the total number of credits for the entire summer term. The award letter that the student receives is the same as the academic year award letter, and the process is the same. Financial aid disbursement dates may vary by program at our campuses during the summer.

Last modified: November 27th, 2013 at 07:46am