Your dream college has accepted you for enrollment next fall and has mailed your financial aid package for review. The package includes a hefty scholarship from the college and federal loans and grants. However, you just received an award letter stating that you won a $10,000 scholarship from an external organization. Congrats! Will this $10,000 scholarship you earned affect your financial aid package? Unfortunately, the answer isn't simple. It depends on the college's policies.
Some colleges will treat the $10,000 as if you saved it and intended to use it for college expenses. If your financial aid is need-based, then the school's financial assistance office may reduce the university's scholarship they were going to give you.
Other schools may have a different policy. Instead of replacing another scholarship, the $10,000 could substitute a student loan. This option would be a great benefit to you. The fewer student loans you have, the less money you will have to pay back.
Lastly, some universities may not take away any cash. This choice may result in you receiving an overpayment from your financial aid package. Make sure you discuss your refund with an accountant to learn if you will be required to report this extra cash on your tax forms.
So, check with your prospective colleges and learn how each of them handle outside scholarships in financial aid packages. You want to know if you are receiving the best deal and coming out the winner in this battle.
In the meantime, keep applying for scholarships! You deserve them. Then, tell us how you talked with the financial aid offices. We want to know the end result. Leave us a comment.
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