I Have An Aid Award…. Now What?

Note- this posting was update since its initial publication in April 2014

You applied for aid and have viewed your aid award letter on the Yale Student Information System (sis) and now… (pause, silence, crickets etc.)

The letter you received is termed a “preliminary” award meaning there are a couple of things you need to do to turn the preliminary award into a final award:

1) Send the required tax documentation. We will actually compare your prior year 1040 tax return to the information you provided on Need Access upon which the preliminary award was made. If there is a substantial difference between the two an aid award adjustment (either increase or decrease ) may be made. Remember you need to file tax documentation for anyone whose data you reported on Need Access (including spouse or parent(s) if you are under age 29 by 12/31 of the year for which you are seeking aid). Weren’t required to file a tax return? Then you need to complete a “Non Filer” Statement on the Forms section of our website. Big requests … please only send the first two pages of the 1040 return . Our office printers and fax machines have died slow and painful deaths printing out tax returns that include multiple pages of Schedules. Save some trees, save our office machines… only send the first two pages. If we need any of those additional forms for further clarification.. .we will let you know at the appropriate time. Final step on the tax returns … by federal aid regulations they must be signed preferably on page 2 of the 1040 where it says “ Sign Here” (you would be surprised how many people miss that). Electronic or scanned signatures are totally acceptable. And if you e-filed your returns just sign anywhere on the copy you are sending us.

2) Send the Notification and Confirmation Form. The most important part of the 3 page form is Section A where we as are asking you to accept or decline your aid offer. This is also the part where you can indicate how much or how little of the loan funds offered you are actually accepting as well. A couple of notes on that topic:

  • If you have decided to borrow additional loan funds to cover the calculated parent contribution you would simply add that additional borrowing to your Grad Plus loan . You can never increase the Direct loan above the $20,500 federal limit. International students should just increase their Yale Graduate and Professional International loan for any parent contribution borrowing.
  • Think about how much you truly need to borrow- do you really need the full amount of loan funds offered? Can you budget for less than the $17,000 living allowance to decrease borrowing? Even a few dollars less in borrowing can save you considerable money in ultimate loan repayment. Also know that if you do decline any portion of your loans now… at any point during the academic year you can re-accept those funds .
  • The Notification and Confirmation form is flexible… you can change this form at any time between now and the beginning of the academic year. Not just in terms of accepting and declining funds .. but you can also change loan types as well. When the interest rates on federal student loans for next academic year come out (on or around June 1) and if you feel based on those loan rates that you want to look at private student loan options .. you can do that and submit a revised Notification and Confirmation form. The reason why we ask for this form now ( or by the May 3rd deadline) is because:
    • We have to know how much aid you are accepting so that those funds appear as “ anticipated aid” and will against the direct Yale charges of tuition and fees on your soon to be issued (July 1) Fall term bill.
    • Equally important… receipt of the Notification and Confirmation Form is our indicator that your file is ready for a final review. Submitting the taxes alone will not trigger that process .

Is there more to the financial aid process? Oh yes. Between now and the end of the summer, financial aid requirements including loan master promissory notes , online entrance counseling, asset verification forms, refund requests will all come into play. All to insure that when you do arrive on campus the bill is paid and you have funds in hand to support your living expenses. But that’s info for another blog at another time. For now just focus on finalizing the aid award.

For more information on the aid award process with links to the tax return and Notification and Confirmation Form requirements visit our website.

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