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Marshall U Issues Individualized Financial Award Letters to Prospective Students

Marshall University in Huntington, WV has implemented a financial aid award platform to generate individualized financial award letters for prospective students.

The university adopted the Student Aid Services platform to help more than 3,000 prospective students better understand their scholarship and financial aid options and provide them with a more accurate and complete picture of the total cost of their education program. According to Student Aid Services, traditional financial aid award letters simply list the awards, whereas the custom letters from Marshall U are "highly personalized booklets that educate students and their families about the interrelation between costs, financial aid and educational value."

Marshall U began sending the new financial aid award letters, called Your Personal Award Letter, this past spring. The full color booklets are dynamically generated by Student Aid Services and customized to each student's individual profile. According to the company, the letters explain concepts "such as net price, which is the cost of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid," so prospective students and their parents can clearly understand the individual student's real cost of attending the university. The university is also using Student Aid Services to power a custom net price calculator on their Web site, so students can estimate their potential aid, net price and out-of-pocket costs.

"It is crucial for students to understand their real cost as they compare financial aid packages from various colleges," said Kathy Bialk, director of financial aid at Marshall University, in a prepared statement. "For example, we separate loan offers from gift aid offers so families can more easily recognize the difference between immediate and delayed out-of-pocket costs."

According to the university, the number of enrollment deposits for the incoming class have increased compared to the previous year, and the university attributes at least part of the increase to the new award letter.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at

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