What aid do I report?

<p>Last night I attended my senior awards night where I (thankfully!) received some scholarships! But I'm wondering what I NEED to report, what I don't necessarily have to report, how I report it, and why I need to report some of this aid...? For example, a few of the scholarships gave checks directly to me, so do I report those or does that go toward my family contribution? And a few scholarships will be sent to my college next year, so do I need to report that right away or will the scholarship donors tell the school?</p>

<p>I feel like my questions are kind of silly, but I would greatly appreciate the help because I've never done this before. Please keep in mind that I'm not trying to get out of reporting aid because I'd be happy for the scholarships to cover the loans in my financial aid package if that's possible. ;) Whichever way it works out will be great for me; I just want to do it right. Thanks in advance.</p>

<p>Call or email the FA office at your college - at my D's school the larger "direct pay" scholarships were reportable but they didn't care about the smaller (under $500) checks given to her by local businesses/teachers assn/families, etc. and considered these "HS awards" rather than scholarships. You might also ask them what their policy is for outside scholarships affecting aid - hopefully they'll give you the choice to apply them to any gap or unsub loans first.</p>

<p>Check the website of your college. Here's an example from one school's FAQ section.

[quote]
If I receive an outside scholarship check in my name, what am I supposed to do with the check?</p>

<p>You must forward the check to the financial aid office for proper crediting to your account. You are required to report any outside scholarships that you are or will be receiving, as they are considered to be a part of your financial resources and must be taken into account with any other financial aid received. Scholarship funds are generally divided and applied equally ...
How will an outside scholarship affect my aid award?</p>

<p>Because outside scholarships are a resource that you will be receiving, your financial aid will have to be adjusted accordingly. *********'s policy is to reduce self-help first (subsidized loans and Federal Work-Study), and then University Scholarship assistance. Scholarship funds are generally divided and applied equally ....

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Every school I know wants every single scholarship reported to them, ESPECIALLY the ones that are given directly to you and that they cannot easily discover. There are some schools, I have heard that do allow you to keep all outside awards, but they are few and far between.</p>

<p>I think that if you are getting government aid and if the scholarships do reduce your need to the point that you are cutting into those funds, it can be an issue if you don't report it. Awards that get reported often are considered income and are included as such in the subsequent year when you fill out your FAFSA and other forms. </p>

<p>In reality, much of that money is not reported. Like babysitting money, gifts, etc, the chances of it coming to the college's attention can be small. However, you do take the risk of getting caught. </p>

<p>As others have said, colleges are very vigilant about addressing this specific issue. It will be on your college's website. Make sure you know your college's policy towards outside scholarships.</p>

<p>This is what distinguishes FINANCIAL AID from MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS. Pure merit awards are not reduced by outside awards, financial aid is, because you are getting the money because you need it; not because it is open scholarship money for the best candidates.</p>

<p>I checked the FA page, and they do want all scholarships to be reported. Basically they note that the scholarships will reduce the financial aid package (starting with loans). So does this mean that they take the entire scholarship and put it toward reducing the aid? The funds I received are less than the loans offered, so I assume they'd just be reducing the loans. I guess I see why the school would want me to put scholarships toward the financial aid package. Do scholarships this year affect income or my EFC next year?</p>

<p>Long answer - Scholarships and grants (including need based grants like the Pell) that exceed tuition and fees and required books are taxable income to you, the student. If your total income including taxable scholarships/grants is above the cut off for being required to file a tax return (it was around $5700 for 2009) then you will have to file a return and the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from the return has to be reported on your FAFSA. The AGI includes the taxable portion of scholarships but there is another question on FAFSA that asks how much taxable scholarships and grants were included in the AGI. The number you report here is deducted from your AGI in the EFC formula so the taxable scholarships/grants do not affect your EFC.</p>

<p>So scholarships/grants may affect your income but they will not affect your EFC.</p>

<p>JulieJuu, I still recommend that you call/email the FA office and ask them if they consider the awards you received at senior night to be scholarships, I did this last year and the firm answer was NO (although their website said to report all scholarships)...even though there were several of them (a $250, $500, and a few others I think). They only considered them scholarships if they were through official organizations and/or they were paid directly to the school (ie the $1500 Dollars for Scholars, Red Cross, etc. that she was awarded). This is a very large public university so it's possible that most people don't ask or that their policies differ from other schools.</p>

<p>Good plan. I'll call today. Thanks for all the info. It helps a lot. :)</p>