Congrats! You’ve received your award letter, but now what do you do? Reading your award letter might seem confusing at first, but we are here to help make the process as easy as possible.

Your award letter is an important document because it outlines all the details of your financial aid package. It is unique to your financial situation and the information you provided on your FAFSA. In the award letter, you’ll see your total estimated award amount based upon your financial need and the estimated cost of attendance for one year. This award total will be built from several different programs that you are eligible for, such as scholarships, grants and loans.  

Did you receive any grants or scholarships?

You don’t need to do anything else to accept these funds. Since grants and scholarships are amounts of money being given to you, the Financial Aid Office has already accepted these awards for you. Learn more about the specific scholarships and grants you might see on your award letter. 

Outside Scholarships 

If you are receiving an outside scholarship (not from WSU) and it doesn’t appear on your award letter, please notify the Financial Aid Office. You’ll need to send a copy of the award notification you received from the source.  

  • Email: FinancialAid@winona.edu 
  • Fax: 507.457.5628 
  • Mail: Winona State Financial Aid Office, P.O. Box 5838, Maxwell Hall, Winona, MN 55987  

Did you receive work study?

If you have received work study, you can start looking for a work study job on campus. Or you could decide that you don’t want to use those funds by working on campus. If you choose not to use the funds, note that the cost incurred will be higher since those funds aren’t being utilized. If you don’t have work study listed, you can contact the Financial Aid Office about your options to work on campus. Learn more about work study and student employment 

Did you receive any loans?

You will need to take steps to accept any loans you may need to cover your college education. The award letter lets you know your eligibility, but the application process still needs to be completed. The loans are not automatically processed for you. Learn more about the specific loans you might see on your award letter.  

Will you get funding from a third-party organization beyond WSU or personal bank accounts?

Third-party funding could affect your other financial aid awards from WSU.   If you expect funding from another source that is not shown in your award letter, please send a copy of your award notification to the Financial Aid Office:  

  • Email: FinancialAid@winona.edu 
  •  Fax: 507.457.5628  
  •  Mail: Winona State Financial Aid Office, P.O. Box 5838, Maxwell Hall, Winona, MN 55987  

If you are receiving financial assistance from a third-party agency such as the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or a job service, you need to authorize the Student Accounts Office to bill your agency.   It usually takes about 3-4 weeks into the semester before your agency will be billed. Once third-party funds are received, any extra money from your financial aid award will be direct deposited to your personal bank account. Call 507.457.5075 with any questions about this process. 

Reasons your award might change

Your award letter is your guide to how you can pay for college. But, it may be adjusted when the funds are actually paid out. Here’s a few reasons why:

1. You have money from other sources such as private scholarships. If you don’t need federal or state aid programs, the Financial Aid Office will redistribute those funds to another student who does.

2.  You aren’t going to be a full-time student. The exact amount disbursed will depend on the number of credits you are enrolled in. We assume that all students are full time, taking at least 12 credits for undergraduate and 6 credits for graduate.  The Minnesota State Grant does require 15 undergraduate credits to be paid out at the maximum amount. If you are not a full-time student, please contact the Financial Aid team at 507.457.5090 or by email at financialaid@winona.edu. The staff can adjust your award letter and answer any questions you may have. 

3. Awards are based on the availability of funds. Many financial aid programs are on a first come, first served basis. Once the pool of money is claimed, that’s it. So be sure to take the next steps to accept your awards as soon as possible. If your award is adjusted for any reason, you’ll be notified. 

Reading your award may be confusing, but the good news is there are plenty of people on campus who are here to help you. Visit the Warrior Hub on the second floor of Maxwell with any questions regarding your award letter. If you would prefer to reach out digitally, email warriorhub@winona.edu or call 507.457.2800.

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Madeline Schonitzer

Majoring in English with a Writing Emphasis and a Communications Studies minor, Maddy is graduating in the Spring of ’23 from Winona State University and strives to be a financially stable and career-minded individual. Originally from Beaver Dam, WI, Maddy prioritizes self care through listening to music and has been writing through introspective journaling since 2nd grade.

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