Financial Aid Award Letter Guide

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Review Student Status Information

Your personal information is listed in the sidebar of the Award Letter. Carefully review this information for accuracy, as it can affect your financial aid.


Use this guide as you review your Award Letter. Each section of the letter is broken down in more detail below. If you still have questions, reach out to your regional Office of Financial Aid.


To determine the amount of financial aid you are eligible for, we assume you will be charged certain direct costs. Direct costs are expenses that you pay directly to Rutgers through the term bill. These estimates are listed on your Award Letter and are categorized as follows:

  • Tuition & mandatory fees
  • Housing & dining

It's important to note that these are estimates, not actual costs. Actual costs are determined in July by the Board of Governors. These costs may not apply to every student (for example, a commuting student may not be charged a housing & dining fee).


Indirect costs are expenses you may incur but that Rutgers does not charge you for directly. It is important to keep estimated indirect costs in mind when planning for the academic year. These are also estimates used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. These expenses include:

  • Books & supplies
  • Travel expenses
  • Miscellaneous costs

This amount is the total of direct and indirect costs listed above. This estimate is the amount that your financial aid award is based on.

Estimated Direct Cost + Estimated Indirect Cost = Total Estimated Cost of Attendance

A quick recap...

The direct and indirect costs listed on the Award Letter are all estimates. Your financial aid counselor uses this calculation to determine what types of aid you are eligible for. When you receive your term bill, the direct charges may be slightly higher or lower than the estimates on your Award Letter.


Gift aid is typically a scholarship or grant, and does not need to be paid back. If you are eligible for merit-based scholarships and/or federal, state, or institutional grants, they will be listed here. Any outside scholarships you received are also listed in this section.

You may see footnotes on some of the awards listed here. Special messages for these funds will be listed at the bottom of the letter, under the disclaimers section. Read these notes carefully, as they may have more information about each award.


Your net cost is a calculation of your estimated cost of attendance minus the total gift aid you are offered.

Estimated Cost of Attendance - Gift Aid OfferedNet Cost


If you are eligible for the Federal Work Study Program, your award will appear in this section on your Award Letter. Most awards are $2,000 for the entire academic year. This money will not go towards your direct expenses; instead you will be paid directly via check or direct deposit as you earn the funds.

You will also find the link for your Federal Work Study Job Application, which must be completed in order to receive a job, as well as job placement information in this section. Job placement information for students who complete their job application is typically available in mid-August.


A loan is borrowed money and must be repaid. Your federal direct loans, PLUS loans, and private loans will be listed in this section. Note that the full amount of these loans will be split equally between the fall and spring semesters.

Federal direct loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized.

 Subsidized LoansUnsubsidized Loans
Who is eligible?Available to undergraduate students with financial need.Available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need to receive these loans.
When does interest accrue?Interest does not accrue while you are enrolled in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as the grace period), and during a period of deferment. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest.You are responsible for paying the interest on these loans during all periods.
When does repayment begin?After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you will begin a one-time six month grace period before repayment begins.After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you will begin a one-time six month grace period before repayment begins.

Check with your loan lender to determine the terms and conditions, including when repayment begins, for your private loans.


You will find a breakdown of everything listed on the award letter under this section. You will be able to see how your estimated total direct costs stack up to all of your offered gift aid and loans. This will give you a good estimate of how much more you may need to pay to attend Rutgers.

Estimated total direct cost (tuition and fees, housing and dining)
Gift aid
Amount to put toward indirect costs (like books) OR Estimated remaining cost


If you still have an estimated cost, or the amount you can use for your indirect costs doesn't quite cover it, there are other options. The links listed in this section are alternative funding options.


After we review your FAFSA, we may need additional documentation from you, like your tax return transcripts, or proof of citizenship. You will receive an email notification if we request any additional documents. Your financial aid awards may change based on new information we receive from these documents. Your aid will be finalized once all documents are submitted and reviewed.


You may see another section on your Award Letter with additional information about some of your awards. Read these notifications carefully and follow any instructions to prevent delays with your financial aid.

A note about disclaimers...

Carefully read and review the disclaimers section of your Award Letter for important information regarding your awards, outside scholarships, and disbursement details.