Your Award Letter
If you are eligible for financial aid through Abilene Christian University, you will receive a financial aid award letter. As a new student, you will receive your first award letter by mail and your ACU email account. After that, all subsequent award notification is sent only to your ACU email account. You may also view your awards through your myACU account.
Understand how your awards were determined:
The award letter will provide a listing of the financial aid available to you to help cover the cost of your education. The aid offered to you is based on the information you provided in the admission process and, if you completed a FAFSA, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – When you submit your FAFSA, you provide financial information that the U.S. Department of Education uses to determine your ability to pay for a college education. A federal formula calculates an EFC. This is an estimate of how much a student and their family can contribute toward educational expenses. This is not an actual dollar amount that you are expected to pay, but rather a number used to determine eligibility for need-based aid programs. Your EFC is compared with the Cost of Attendance to determine the amount and type of aid that is include in your award letter.
Cost of Attendance (COA) – This is an estimate of the total cost to attend ACU. This estimate includes both the direct and indirect costs of attending college.
Need – Need is determined by subtracting the EFC from the cost of attending; the remainder is considered your need. Some of the aid you receive may be based on your need. It is the goal of ACU to assist in identifying all the aid for which you qualify to meet as much of your need as possible. Other aid is not based on your need, but is awarded based on merit or provided to assist you in meeting your EFC.
There are two types of financial aid -- gift aid and self-help aid. Gift aid is money that does not have to be repaid, and self-help aid is money that must be repaid or earned from working. These types of aid are awarded based on financial need and merit.
Scholarships are typically based on merit or some type of talent. Some scholarships are also based on financial need. These awards are often awarded as a result of the information you provided in the admission application process or the completion of a separate application or audition.
Grants are typically awarded based on financial need. In most cases, they are a result of the information provided in the FAFSA.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is a government loan that is based on need. The government pays the interest on the loan while you are enrolled in college at least half time. The amount listed on your award letter is the maximum amount you can receive based on your specific need level and your year in college.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a government loan that is not based on need. Any student, regardless of need, can receive an unsubsidized loan. Students are responsible for paying the interest while they are enrolled in school, or it can be deferred with the principle amount. The amount listed on your award letter is the maximum amount you can receive based on your your year in college.
Federal Work-Study is a need-based federal aid program that provides eligible students with the opportunity to work part time while in school. Being awarded work-study does not guarantee a job on campus or a specific amount of earnings. Job openings for students are at acu.edu/work. These jobs are available to all students whether you have been awarded work-study or not.
Federal Direct PLUS is a loan for parents of undergraduate dependent students. This loan is based on a parent’s credit worthiness. Parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student has received. Your award letter presents you with an estimated amount that can be borrowed as part of your payment options.
Your award letter also provides you with information about the cost of attending ACU. The estimated direct cost for a new full-time student living on campus is detailed along with an estimated amount owed after subtracting the total aid you have been awarded. It is important to understand the following as you consider your cost of attending ACU:
Direct Costs – These costs refer to tuition, fees, housing and meal plan costs (if you live on campus). These are the actual charges you can expect to see billed to the student account by ACU.
Indirect Costs – These are additional expenses that are determined as necessary to attend a university. They include books and supplies, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. These expenses may vary with each student. If you live at home or off campus, the cost of living expenses is included in your cost of attendance instead of room and board.
Net Cost – The amount listed on your award letter is your estimated costs of the annual block tuition, housing and meals (if you live on-campus) minus all the grants and scholarships that have been awarded. This is the amount that you will need to have a plan to pay. It is also the amount you should use to compare the cost of attending ACU against the cost of attending another university.
Any grants or scholarships on your award letter are automatically awarded at an accepted status and will appear on your bill; however, you will need to accept, reduce or decline any loans you were offered. Further, you will need to complete additional steps in the loan application process in order for these funds to be available to cover your bill.
Your award letter offers different payment options at ACU. Additional information about these options and the billing process will be available in the summer to assist you in preparing for the fall semester.
After you have carefully reviewed your financial aid award letter and the additional information provided on this website, feel free to contact the Admission and Financial Aid Helpline at 800-460-6228 with any questions or for additional assistance in completing the financial aid process.