Understanding the New SUNY Financial Aid Award Letter
By Cynthia Rybaltowski, coordinator for student accounts
June 13, 2013
Last September, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher officially launched the SUNY Smart Track campaign. This campaign is an initiative to improve student financial literacy and address the concerns of student loan debt. Smart Track will use new tools and services to help educate students from the earliest stage of financing their education.
One component of SUNY’s Smart Track campaign is a new SUNY award letter. The SUNY award letter displays amounts in these categories:
- student estimated cost of attendance
- grants and scholarship
- loans offered
- federal work-study
- student and family options
Also incorporated in the award letter are campus specific details such as graduation rates, loan default rates and the median student loan debt from that campus.
While a few SUNY campuses have piloted the implementation of the SUNY award letter, all campuses will be using this format by the end of 2013.
Empire State College expects to begin using the SUNY award letter format in July of this year. A guide to the new format as well as an FAQ page will be available on our website to assist students with the transition.
Other components of Smart Track in development are:
- an expansion of the Student Loan Service Center
- the Early Engagement program
- Smart Track website
This campaign’s objective is to help reduce student debt and create a more financially sound future for SUNY students and alumni.
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