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Award Letter FAQ

This page is designed to assist you in understanding and interpreting your (or your student's) award letter. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and their answers below. You may quickly navigate to a question category or to a specific question by using the following links.

Accessing information through myPurdue

A prospective student must first set up their Career Account (username and password) using the PUID and setup/temporary password included in the offer of admission letter. Career Account activation is completed at www.purdue.edu/apps/account/AccountSetup. The career account is used to log in to myPurdue at mypurdue.purdue.edu.

If you have previously set up your Career Account username and password and you are now having problems logging in, please contact Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) for assistance. They can be contacted at 765-494-4000 or by email at itap@purdue.edu.

Once your career account is set up, you can find instructions for accessing award offers or other information on the myPurdue Help page at www.purdue.edu/dfa/mypurdue.php.


  • Aid Eligibility

    • Is this the final amount of financial aid our student will receive?

      At this time, all merit and departmental scholarships have been entered into financial aid award packages, along with all need-based financial aid. This information will not be changed unless a parent updates the FAFSA with their actual yearly tax earnings instead of an estimate and results in a change in aid eligibility. If the new information changes the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), then our office will re-evaluate the student’s financial aid.

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    • What is FWS, and am I eligible?

      Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a program offered to students who have demonstrated a high level of financial need as determined by the results of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must meet the awarding criteria and request FWS on their FAFSA in order to be offered FWS. Eligible students will see FWS offered on their award letter.

      FWS eligibility can make it easier for students to secure part-time job opportunities on or around campus. Students work to earn a regular bi-weekly pay check, which they can use to meet some of their day-to-day expenses. The FWS award (usually $2,500 for the academic year) makes up a portion of the students total financial aid eligibility by reducing loan eligibility, thus helping reduce loan debt. Students can earn up to the offered FWS amount with an eligible employer. Additional information is available at www.purdue.edu/dfa/stuemp/types.php.

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    • Will my financial aid offer remain consistent for my time at Purdue?

      Financial aid award letters and need-based financial aid are based on information from the previous year’s earnings and on Purdue’s available funding. If a family’s income remains relatively the same, they file the FAFSA by Purdue’s March 1 priority date each year, and the student meets all GPA requirements for awards, then it is common that awards will stay relatively the same. Some awards are one-time offers, and others are renewable upon meeting certain criteria. Refer to your paper award notice and important financial aid messages in myPurdue to determine which awards are renewable.

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    • How can I qualify for in-state tuition?

      Residency is determined prior to the first day of classes based on set criteria established by Purdue University and the Registrar’s Office. You can view more information about the residency policy and requirements to receive in-state tuition at www.purdue.edu/registrar/Residency/Res_Form_Policy.html.

      Non-resident students typically remain non-residents for tuition purposes for the duration of their time at Purdue. Refer to the link above for appeal requirements if you have special circumstances that you feel should be considered.

      Students are typically not considered for in-state residency based on living in Indiana over the summer, working, or paying Indiana state taxes.

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    • How will I be notified if my aid changes? Will we always receive a letter in the mail?

      This initial award eligibility notice you receive as an incoming student is the only letter you will receive through the mail. If your current financial aid eligibility changes as a result of updates made to the FAFSA or outcomes of verification, the student will receive an email notification but not a letter in the mail. Aid eligibility that is calculated for subsequent years will be sent electronically only. All aid eligibility is available to view through myPurdue.

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    • Where can I receive more help understanding the award letter and everything it contains?

      You should receive an email in late March/early April with details of how to join a webinar our office will host to discuss more specific information about what the information contained in the award letter means. For those who are unable to participate in the webinar, a recorded version will be posted on our website after the webinar concludes.

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    • Will my financial aid eligibility change if I don't attend full-time or both semesters?

      Some awards, such as state aid or merit scholarships require full-time enrollment. Full-time enrollment for an undergraduate is 12+ credit hours and 8+ credit hours for a graduate/professional student. You must attend at least half-time (6+ credit hours for undergraduates/4+ hours for graduate or professional students) to be eligible for most types of financial aid. By default, we create award offers based on the assumption that you will attend full-time for both fall and spring. If you will not be full-time or attend both semesters, you should contact our office to notify us of your enrollment plans. Financial aid eligibility may be adjusted as a result.

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    • Scholarships

      • My son/daughter is a great student. Why didn’t he/she receive any scholarships?

        Purdue’s merit awards are very competitive, and about 15% of applicants are awarded a merit scholarship. These scholarships are awarded holistically, so each student is evaluated on an individual basis and each department sets their own criteria for selections of Presidential Scholarship recipients. We do not have a uniform set of criteria that we are able to share. You can find more details regarding the awarding process at www.admissions.purdue.edu/costsandfinaid/scholarships.php.

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      • Another college offered our student scholarships and additional aid offers. Will Purdue match this award offer?

        We attempt to make our university an affordable option for families, but we do recommend that families discuss if Purdue is a good financial fit. Our university does not match award offers from other schools. As a state-funded university, we have do not have the required resources or funding to do so.

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      • I received several Purdue scholarships. How do I know which ones are renewable?

        If a scholarship is renewable, often a letter is mailed to the student detailing the renewal criteria with the announcement of eligibility. Students can also access this information on their myPurdue account. By clicking the Financial Tab, and then Important Messages on the left-hand side, students can find information regarding renewable scholarships. Eligibility for non-renewable scholarships is determined annually based on FAFSA filing priority date, cumulative GPA, level of financial need, etc.

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      • When students decline their offer of admission, will additional scholarships be awarded?

        Purdue University and its various departments initially award an excess of scholarships with the understanding that many students who receive scholarships will decide not to attend Purdue. Due to this initial overawarding process, no additional scholarships will be awarded to students.

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      • I applied for private scholarships. If I receive them, how will that affect my financial aid award?

        Private scholarships will affect each financial aid award differently but will often reduce loan eligibility first. We ask that student’s report any anticipated private scholarships as soon as they are notified so that we may adjust the financial aid award accordingly. Please follow these steps to report any private scholarships:

        • 1. Login in www.mypurdue.purdue.edu using your Career Account Login and password
        • 2. Select the Financial Tab
        • 3. Choose Award for Aid Year under the Quick Links section on the left-hand side of the page
        • 4. Select the appropriate aid year
        • 5. Choose Resources/Additional Information

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      • Purdue is not affordable for our family without additional scholarships offered; what can we do?

        Common payment methods families use to cover remaining costs are detailed at www.purdue.edu/dfa/options.php. It is best for each family to have a discussion about whether a college will be a good financial fit prior to accepting an offer of admission. Families should not only consider the first year of attendance but also the total costs for the length of time needed to complete a degree when evaluating affordability and financial fit. A comparison of the total costs and total aid offered from each college choice can help in this discussion.

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      • We have an alumni affiliation with Purdue. Can we receive scholarships for that reason?

        Purdue University does not offer scholarships specifically to students with an alumni affiliation. If you are involved in a local club through the Purdue Alumni Association, you may contact the club leader to determine if scholarships are available. Local clubs and leader contact information are included at http://purdue.imodules.com/s/1461/2column.aspx?sid=1461&gid=1001&verbiagebuilder=1&pgid=451 .

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    • Terminology

      • What are the different types of financial aid that we may be offered?

        Financial aid eligibility is different for each student and family based on the information provided on the FAFSA and the calculated Expected Family Contribution and level of need. Not all students qualify for each type of financial aid described.

        Grants and scholarships are types of gift assistance that do not need to be repaid. These are sometimes referred to as “free money”. Loans are another type of financial aid, but they are different from grants and scholarships because they must be repaid. Loans are a form of “self-help” financial aid. Student borrowers typically do not begin repaying the loans until after they graduate as long as they attend at least half-time (6+ credit hours) while pursuing their degree.

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      • What is an EFC?

        The EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, is calculated by the Department of Education utilizing the information provided on the FAFSA. It considers a variety of factors, such as the Adjusted Gross Income, investments, the number of people in the household, and the number of family members in college.

        It does not represent the amount that parents are expected to pay for their child’s schooling, but rather it is an index number that determines eligibility for need-based financial aid including scholarship, grant, and loan eligibility. Families may be required to pay more or less than the EFC, based on individual aid eligibility.

        The methodology used to calculate the EFC is set by the Federal government.

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    • FAFSA

      • I used estimated tax information on the FAFSA. What is the deadline to update it after filing my taxes?

        While there is not a deadline for updating your tax information on your FAFSA, in order to have an accurate financial aid package and avoid potential subsequent billing, you will want to make tax data updates in a timely fashion, preferably using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool links the parent or student’s tax information directly to the FAFSA. This tax data becomes available to download approximately 3 weeks after filing your annual Federal taxes electronically, or approximately 8 weeks after mailing them to the IRS.

        The state of Indiana only accepts updates made by the family that lower the EFC through May 15, 2014, unless they use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. FAFSA updates made after May 15 may cause otherwise-eligible students to lose eligibility for state aid programs such as 21st Century Scholars and Frank O’Bannon Higher Education Awards.

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      • Our FAFSA doesn’t reflect our family’s current financial situation. How can we receive more financial aid?

        If your family has encountered and can document an extraordinary circumstance that is out of your control (i.e. job loss, out-of-pocket medical bills, etc.), then you may qualify for a Special Circumstance Appeal. This form provides the family the opportunity to demonstrate that the FAFSA information does not appropriately reflect the current financial situation. The Special Circumstance Form can be requested by contacting the Division of Financial Aid and explaining the situation in further detail to a counselor. Our office will review all submitted Special Circumstances and determine if the situation warrants an adjustment of financial aid. See additional details about what circumstances we can and cannot consider at www.purdue.edu/dfa/policies/specialcircumstances.php.

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    • Loans

      • Why are we only offered loans?

        The Division of Financial Aid determines eligibility for need-based aid programs from the information provided on the FAFSA and the Expected Family Contribution that the Federal Processor calculates each year. We would like to be able to offer grants or scholarships to all the talented students who apply to Purdue. However, as a state supported institution, we have a limited amount of gift funding and Work Study that can be awarded.

        Refer to the "FAFSA" section on this page if your financial situation has changed since completing the FAFSA.

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      • When do we need to accept the loans?

        First time loan borrowers have several requirements, such as signing the Promissory Notes or completing Loan Entrance Counseling, before they can receive their loan money. We recommend students accept their loans by July 8 so that our office has time to process the requirements and clear up any confusion that families may have. Fall bills are due the first day of classes, so this allows over a month to complete all requests. Parents may begin applying for the Federal Parent PLUS Loan online beginning mid-April. See a few questions down for the steps to apply for a Parent PLUS Loan.

        Current/returning students may accept loans until the last week of the semester but should allow 1-2 weeks beforehand for the loans to fully process.

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      • Am I required to borrow all of the loans that are offered to me?

        Students are not required to accept any loans that are offered to them. If the loans are not initially needed, they can remain in offered status throughout the semester in case the additional funding is needed later. Students have the option to accept or decline all or part of their offered financial aid. We encourage families to discuss loans and what it means to borrow money for each year of a student’s education. If you need to accept loans that have been offered, it is in your best interest to only borrow the amount you need to finance your education. Incoming students should wait to accept loan offers until a decision has been made about the admission offer from Purdue.

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      • What are the interest rates and fees for each loan?

        Rates for 2014-15 should be set by legislature over the summer. You can receive a general idea of rates by looking at the rates for 2013-14 at www.purdue.edu/dfa/loans/interest-rates.php or by viewing the comparison chart of loan types at www.purdue.edu/dfa/loans/stafford.php.

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      • How do I accept my loans after accepting my offer of admission?

        • 1. Login to www.mypurdue.purdue.edu using your Career Account Login and password
        • 2. Select Financial Tab at the top of the page
        • 3. Choose Award for Aid Year under Quick Links on the left-hand side
        • 4. Select the appropriate aid year
        • 5. Click Accept Award Offer (Please remember this link only works for Federal/Purdue student loans. The Parent PLUS loan and any private loans require a separate application)
        • 6. Enter in the amount you would like to borrow in the text box and choose Accept from the drop-down box next to the loan you would like to accept
        • 7. Click the Submit Decision button

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      • How do we apply for a Parent PLUS loan?

        Parent PLUS Loan applications must be completed every year if the family wishes to continue using this type of funding. For 2014-15, parents may follow the steps outlined below beginning mid-April to apply for a Parent PLUS Loan:

        • 1. Parents need to login at www.studentloans.gov by clicking the green Sign In button and by using their information
        • 2. Once logged in, select Request a Direct PLUS Loan in the middle of the page
        • 3. Choose the Parent PLUS Loan option

        First-time borrowers must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN), which can be used for ten years

        • This can be completed by clicking the green Sign In button and logging into www.studentloans.gov with the parent information
        • Select Complete Master Promissory Note in the middle of the page
        • Choose the Parent PLUS option

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      • What are private student loans, and how can I utilize them?

        This type of loan is obtained through a credit union, lending institution, bank, etc. Please refer to www.purdue.edu/dfa/loans/altloans.php to see a list of private lenders that Purdue students commonly use.

        The interest rate on a private loan varies from lender to lender, so it is important to find one that is a good fit for your situation. Borrowers with good credit or with a credit-worthy cosigner are usually offered lower interest rates on private loans.

        Processing a private loan takes approximately 30 days from the time the application is approved until our office receives the money. The Division of Financial Aid recommends applying for this type of loan as soon as possible so that we have enough time to process it before bills are due.

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      • I have completed the promissory note, entrance counseling, or loan application. Why does it show an outstanding requirement for these items?

        We will not begin processing loans and associated requirements for 2014-15 until July 7. If you have completed the items listed above and have confirmation of the completeness, you may disregard the outstanding requests since they should update after July 7. If you still see outstanding loan requirements listed after July 7 but believe you completed them beforehand, they may be incomplete and require further action on your part. In this scenario, the first step would be to complete the requests again and wait a few days for them to clear.

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    • Billing and Payment

      • When are bills due?

        Bills are always due on the first day of classes for the fall, spring, and summer terms. If a student has signed up for the Installment Plan, the first payment is due at the time of enrollment in the plan, which needs to occur by the first day of class.

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      • How do I actually pay my bill?

        Each semester, students must Confirm their Enrollment on their myPurdue. They can only do this if there is enough financial aid to cover the bill, the bill is paid in-full, or if they have registered for the Installment Plan and made the first payment. As long as there are no other holds on the student’s account or requested information, the Division of Financial Aid will apply the money to the bill ten days before classes start, which is the earliest we can do so per Federal regulations.

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      • How do I pay for books or my off-campus living expenses?

        The Division of Financial Aid will send the Bursar a student’s semester financial aid ten days before classes start. If a student has accepted an amount of financial aid that exceeds their university bill, then the Bursar’s office will issue a refund. This refund can be sent to a student’s bank account if they set up Direct Deposit, or will be sent in paper check form to the student’s local address.

        Refunds sent via Direct Deposit will be accessible to students 2-3 days after the Bursar sends the funds, depending on how quickly their bank processes the money. Paper checks take 5-10 business days to be received.

        How to set up Direct Deposit:

        • 1. Login to www.mypurdue.purdue.edu using your Career Account Login and password.
        • 2. Select Financial Tab
        • 3. Choose Manage my Account under TouchNet Payment Portal on the right-hand side of the page
        • 4. Click eRefunds at the top of the page
        • 5. Select Add to enter your bank account information and routing number

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      • What are some other options for funding a Purdue education?

        Parent PLUS Loan

        • Some families may have remaining costs that need covered after all financial aid is applied. Although Parent PLUS Loan offers may not appear on the award letter for all students, the parent may still apply for this type of loan to cover remaining costs. The maximum amount that can requested is the total Cost of Attendance minus all other financial aid. The Parent PLUS Loan is a Federal loan with a fixed interest rate of 6.41% (for 2013-14 – rates for 2014-15 have not been determined). Payments can be made while the student is still in school, or deferred until after the student graduates or drops below half-time status (six credit hours).
        • In order to receive this loan, a student’s parent needs to apply for the loan at www.studentloans.gov and be credit approved. Additional instructions to apply are included in a previous section on this page for loans. The application takes approximately 15-20 minutes and the borrower will find out immediately whether he/she was approved or denied.
        • In the case of a denial, the student would be eligible to receive a maximum additional amount of $4000-5000 in the Unsubsidized Stafford loan, based on the grade level.
        • A Parent PLUS loan typically takes 5-7 business days to process.

        Private Student Loan

        • This type of loan is obtained through a credit union, lending institution, bank, etc. Please refer to www.purdue.edu/dfa/loans/altloans.php to see a list of private lenders that Purdue students commonly use.
        • The interest rate on a private loan varies from lender to lender, so it is important to find one that is a good fit for your situation. Borrowers with good credit or with a credit-worthy cosigner are usually offered lower interest rates on private loans.
        • Processing a private loan takes 30 days from the time the application is approved until our office receives the money. The Division of Financial Aid recommends applying for this type of loan as soon as possible so that we have enough time to process it before bills are due.

        Installment Plan

        • This option requires families to enroll online via their myPurdue account after bills have been issued for the coming semester.
        • Remaining bills for each semester are broken into four equal payments, with the initial payment being due when a student/parent registers for the Installment Plan online. As a convenience of making payments on the balance due, an annual percentage rate of 8% is calculated on the outstanding balance, which averages to around $45 per term. The actual finance charge will vary based on the total balance due.
        • More information about this option can be found at www.purdue.edu/bursar/payments/installment.html.

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