Understanding Your Financial Aid Offer (2024)

Your student's financial aid offer shows you the financial assistance your family will receiveand how much your student's educationis going to cost. Here's a quick guide to your offer.

What is a financial aid offer?

The financial aid offertells you what financial aid and scholarships your student can receive at a particular school or university. The offeris usually sent after the school has received the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The offerwill also provide an estimated amount of the cost to attend that school, and will typically list any scholarships, grants, loans, work-study or other financial aid that your student iseligible to receive. The types of financial aid your student canreceive are based on many factors, such as financial need, their FAFSA,academics or other talents. The financial aid offer only includes the cost and financial aid for one academic year – not the full four years.

What information is included in my student's offer?

Typically, the offer includes information such as cost of attendance, net price, financial aid types and amounts and some helpful definitions. Below are some details about each section:

Cost of Attendance: The cost of attendance includes an estimated cost to attend the school based on:

  • Residency status (Ohio or out-of-state).
  • Enrollment plans (whether your student plans to attend full or part-time).
  • Housing plans (whether your student plans to live on campus,off campus or commute from home).
  • Because Kent Statehasmultiple campuses, it will be based on which campus your studentplans to attend.

The cost of attendance usually lists the billable (direct) costs that will be billed by the school and non-billable (indirect) costs. Direct costs are usually tuition and required fees, plus housing and food plan costs if your student chooses to live on campus. Indirect costs are items that will not typically be billed, but you may want to make a financial plan to cover these costs when planning your finances.

Student Aid Index (SAI): Most financial aid offers will include your student aid index (SAI). The SAI is a number that is calculated by the government based on the information you entered on the FAFSA. The SAI number tells the financial aid office what type of financial aid and the amount your student may qualify for based on their FAFSA. In the financial aid offerfrom Kent State, you will see the SAI listed in the upper right corner. The lower the number, the higher the financial need of that student.

Keep in mind the amounts listed for cost of attendance are an estimate because we do not know exact charges yet – such as your student's room assignment or food plan choice – at the time this offer is printed. Your e-bill, received via emaillater in the summer from the Bursar’s Office, will list the exact charges. Your SAI, on the other hand, is the same at all the schools that you requested to receive your FAFSA.

How do I know what type of financial aid I received?

Most financial aid offerswill list gift aid and self-help aid separately, so you can tell the difference. Gift aid is money that does not have to be repaid or earned. Typically grants and scholarships are considered gift aid, andloans and work-study are considered self-help aid. Loans are borrowed funds that must be repaid, and work-study programs must be earned to receive. At Kent State, you and your student can click on each award in FlashLineto see more information about the type of financial aid offered to get more details. Our website can help you navigate the financial aid section of FlashLine.

Cost and net price… what’s the difference?

The cost of attendance usually includes all the total billable and non-billable expenses. However, net price is the difference between the amount you will need to cover for your billable costs minus your gift aid only. The net price is alsocalled your out-of-pocket expense. The net price is important to consider. You and your student should always review both the cost and aid offer to get the full picture of what your out-of-pocket cost will be to attend.

Students can receive financial aid to cover just the amount needed for the bill or up to the full cost of attendance, depending on what you and your student would like to cover.

The financial aid offer from Kent State shows these amounts in the offerto help you understand the net price.

Next steps?

When you receive your financial aid offer in the mail, the back of theoffer includes helpful definitions and terms to make sure you are informed. Included with each financial aid offer mailing is our Financial Aid Next Steps, which is a guide to help you with the financial aid process. Have your student check their applicant portal for a personalized list of events where they can learn more about their next steps and get their questions answered.

The financial aid offer can vary in style and format, but there's one thing that is always the same: the helpfulness of the One Stop for Student Services and University Office of Scholarships and Financial Aidstaff at Kent State University. We are here to guide you through the process so you can truly make your student's dream of attending Kent State University possible.

Have questions? We're here to help! Contact One Stop for Student Services.

Understanding Your Financial Aid Offer (2024)
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