An “overaward” is when the need-based awards exceed financial need, or the total of financial aid awards exceeds the cost of attendance. If a student has been overawarded, federal regulations require us to adjust awards which may result in a bill. Need-based aid includes grants, scholarships, Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, and outside resources (i.e. faculty/staff tuition benefits, scholarships, etc.). Non-need based aid includes Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Parent PLUS Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS Loans, and Alternative Loans.
Possible reasons an overaward can occur are:
- Additional awards are received after the awarding was done.
- Housing status changes after the awarding was done.
- Changes in student’s enrollment after the awarding was done.
If a non-need based overaward occurs (student’s cost of attendance was exceeded), the financial aid department will reduce or cancel federal aid in the following order.
- Alternative/Private Loan
- PLUS or Graduate PLUS loan
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- TEACH Grant
- Perkins Loan
- Federal Work Study
The combined amount of aid from all the sources can never exceed graduate student’s Cost of Attendance (COA).