Reading Your Award Letter: Undergraduate Students

Here is the format of the financial aid award letter and key items you should be aware of. The sections are listed in the order they are printed on the award letter, from top to bottom, and on the Addendum to Award Letter for admitted first year students.

Tufts ID

A seven-digit number listed in the upper right corner that was assigned to you and your student record. Be sure to include this number in any phone calls or email correspondence with Student Services or Financial Aid staff.

Financial Aid Package

The aid you were awarded will be listed in four columns. The “Source” column denotes the type of aid, whether it is a loan, grant, or work-study. Please note that expected outside aid not awarded by Tufts may be listed here as well (including outside scholarships, ROTC scholarships, tuition remission benefits from an employer).

The next two columns display the distribution of aid for the Fall and Spring semester, and the final column shows the Total amount of each award. The bottom row lists the total for each column. Grants and loans (minus the fee for Federal Direct Loans) will be credited to your bill each semester based on the amounts in the Fall and Spring columns. Work-Study is an earnable award that is not credited to your bill. You can earn the total amount of Work-Study over the course of the year, you are not limited to earning a set amount each semester.


Your financial aid counselor may need to alert you to special circumstance related to your award. In these cases, a message printed in italics is included underneath the financial aid package. Always read any messages on the award letter, as they often relate to how your award was calculated. An example of a common message is one that explains how having a sibling in college reduced the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and how the EFC could change will they are no longer enrolled.


This is a list of items used to determine the cost of attendance that was used as a framework for your award. It includes both direct costs (things that will be charged on the bill) and indirect costs (estimated out of pocket expenses that will not be charged to your bill). Each budget category and its amount are listed, with a Budget Total at the bottom. Please note that this is not a bill, and the award letter is not indicative of what your actual semester bill balances will be. You can use the Student Account Calculator to estimate your bill based on billed costs and the aid you received.

Resources (Expected Family Contribution)

This is a breakdown of the Expected Family Contribution, as determined by our analysis of family financial resources. The Parental Contribution was calculated using financial information reported in your aid application. The Student Contribution is typically a standard amount ranging from $1,700 to $3,000. Student Contribution may be higher than the standard amount if student earned significantly high wages or owns substantial assets.

The Parental Contribution and Student Contribution are combined and listed as Total Resources. This amount is subtracted from the Total College Budget, and the difference between these figures is listed as the Need (Budget – Resources). The Total Award amount above on the award letter is based on the Need.

Addendum to Award Letter

Award letters for admitted first-year students undergraduate include an Addendum, a second page with important information. Be sure to scroll down on your award letter to read and review it. The Addendum details how Tufts determines aid, applying for aid in future years and how and why an award might change, how to utilize Work-Study, the requirement that students must report outside aid, and how the award is adjusted as a result.

In addition, the Direct and Indirect Costs in the budget are listed separately to provide a better understanding of how the cost of attendance was determined.

At the bottom of the Addendum page, there are instructions for how to decrease or reject a loan and/or work-study, how to report outside aid, and how to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in your FAFSA if you are required to submit a Tax Return Transcript as part of FAFSA Verification.

Additional Information