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How to Read Your Award Letter

This page provides important details about the Award Letter provided by the Office of Financial Aid. Review it carefully with your parent(s) so that you have a clear understanding of the financial aid offered, financial aid terms, our policies, and your responsibilities as an aid recipient.

In addition to the text below, which describes content of  Parts 1 - 5 of your Award Letter, be sure to review the links under “More Resources” in the column on the right.

Part 1:  Estimated Costs   

Your Award Letter begins with information about the costs we estimate you will incur. All figures assume full-time enrollment, unless otherwise noted. “Direct Costs” will appear on your billing statement. Your actual costs may vary, based on your housing, enrollment, year in school, and other factors. Standard, direct costs for the year are:

    2018-2019 2019-2020
Tuition (full-time; 3 - 4.5 credits)   $46,320 47,680
Fees   $744 744
On-Campus Housing (standard rate1)   $4,990 5,140
Meal Plan   $5,400 5,536
Total   $57,454 $59,100

1 There are other room options, each with different pricing.

In addition to these direct costs, your initial bill will include the cost of the College’s health insurance (est. $1,500). You will receive instructions for waiving the insurance during the summer.

“Indirect Costs” will not appear on your bill, but should be anticipated. While your cost may differ, we suggest you budget the following:

Books  …………………….$1000
Personal Expenses  ….……1700
Travel  ……………..………..1050         

For a list of other costs go to lakeforest.edu/costs.

Part 2:  Financial Aid Eligibility

Here you will see the funds you qualify to receive from all known sources. All figures assume full-time enrollment, unless otherwise noted. They were determined by the applications you submitted and guidelines of both the College and the U.S. Department of Education.

Part 3:  Estimated Payment and Payment Options

This section summarizes the estimated amount your family will pay for the year and the choices you have in making payment to the College. Your billing statement (available in June) will provide official figures. New students who pay the $500 deposit will see $300 applied as a credit on their billing statement. The remaining $200 is retained by the College, and refunded after graduation. 

Payment in full and on time ensures that you will avoid late fees and keep your chosen classes. Payment may be made by check, wire transfer, credit card, or EFT.

Estimated Payment

This section begins with our estimate of the amount your family will pay, with and without loans. Loan fees (as of 12/1/18, Stafford Loans, 1.062%; PLUS Loans, 4.248%) and the cost of health insurance are not included in our calculation.  

If you have been offered work-study, your earnings are paid directly to you by check, so funds are not included in our calculation.

Payment Options

Option 1: You make one payment each semester, no later than two weeks before classes begin. While the amount you pay each
semester will be similar, a health insurance fee will appear only
on the first semester’s bill, making that payment larger. 

Option 2: Your monthly payment options include a 9- and 10-month plan (July – April, due on the 1st or 15th). There is an enrollment fee each year (est. $90). No interest is charged. 

Option 3: Your parent uses a federal loan to cover your costs, with credit approval required. Applications are available in mid-June.

Option 4: You may use a private loan, if you have a credit-worthy co-signor who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Option 5: You customize a plan to fit your budget, by combining
the monthly payment plan and an additional loan.

If you have questions about payment options,
contact the Student Accounts Office (847-735-5032, studentaccounts@lakeforest.edu).

Part 4:  Important Messages

Please note these details about your financial aid, including conditions related to your financial aid, the documents you may need to provide, and similar notes. The most issues (and forms you may need) are found below. 

Most forms can be scanned and sent by email (preferred method) to finaid@lakeforest.edu. They can also be faxed (847-735-6271) or sent by regular mail. Need help with something else? Call 847-735-5010 or -5103 or finaid@lakeforest.edu

Need a special form, not found below?  Click here for more. 

Citizenship: to document citizenship, send a .pdf of your Certificate of Naturalization or signed U.S. passport to finaid@lakeforest.edu

FAFSA is needed, but you completed it? Add Lake Forest. New FAFSA?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is the best way to complete the verification process. It transfers the required financial values (ex: AGI, tax paid, exemptions, etc.) from your federal tax return to your FAFSA. Get step-by-step help with video or pdf. If you cannot use the DRT, send a 2017 Tax Return Transcript (we recommend the option to “Get Transcript Online” if you are able) to finaid@lakeforest.edu

Permanent residents: to document permanent resident status, send a .pdf of your “Green Card” to finaid@lakeforest.edu

Selective Service: register here  or  confirm your registration

Signature needed on the FAFSA? Here’s how.

Tax Return Transcript, 2017: available online (in real time) or have it mailed to you. Both available from hereWe recommend the option to “Get Transcript Online” (access in 10-20 minutes) if you are able.

Verification Worksheets:

V-1 for dependent students    

V-1 for independent students    

V-4   and   V-5        please contact our office.

W-2 needed? Send a clear copy. For the 2019-2020 academic year, send only the 2017 W-2; for 2018-2019 academic year, the 2016 W-2. If you did not work, please contact our office for instructions.


Part 5:  What Happens Next…

Here you will see what steps you will need to take once you decide to enroll at the College. Full details and links are found here.


Be sure to review the links under “More Resources” at the top of the column on the right.