Financial Aid Offer Letter Breakdown

Print Aid Offer Letter

Your financial aid offer letter will outline different financial aid options available to help finance your education. The aid offered to you is based on your expected family contribution (SAI), your cost of attendance (COA), and the availability of funding. 

Student Aid Index (SAI)

When you submit your FAFSA application each year, a federal formula is used to calculate your Student Aid Index (SAI) number. This number is an estimate of how much a student and their family can contribute toward educational expenses. This number is not an actual dollar amount that you are expected to pay. It is the number we must use to determine eligibility for need-based aid such as the Pell Grant and the subsidized Ford Direct loan.

Unfortunately, having a zero SAI does not mean your financial aid offer will be able to cover your full cost of attendance. Aid is limited by federal aid maximums and the availability of other funds.

Once the SAI is calculated for the aid year, it may only be revised based on limited exceptional circumstances such as loss of employment or medical expenses. If your resources are not accurately reflected by this year’s SAI, you may contact our office regarding the Special Conditions Appeal process.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

This is an estimate of the total cost to attend OSU. This estimate includes tuition and fees, books and supplies as well as living costs such as housing, food, personal, and miscellaneous expenses. Award amounts offered reflect a three-term, full-time cost of attendance. These are estimated costs only and are subject to change based on factors such as the dining plan chosen, actual credits taken, etc. The actual charges you can expect to see billed to the student account by OSU will only be tuition and fees and room and board (if applicable) on a per term basis. If a student is living off-campus their student billing account will not be charged for housing and dining expenses.

Total Financial Need

Financial need is determined by subtracting the SAI from the COA. The remainder is considered "gross need". If no financial need remains, the student eligibility will consist of non-need-based aid such as an unsubsidized loan and/or Parent PLUS loan. 

Your Aid Offer

The financial aid offer is based on the expectation of full-time enrollment and is divided up over the three-term academic year: Fall, Winter, and Spring Terms. Summer Term is optional and is the first term of each academic year. If you plan on being enrolled less than full-time or will be attending fewer than 3 terms, an enrollment revision form must be submitted. See our Summer Aid webpage for more information on requesting aid for Summer.

Your financial aid offer may include federal, state, and institutional funds. The federal loan offers are limited by both yearly and aggregate maximums. The Parent and Graduate PLUS loans do not have yearly or aggregate maximums. The PLUS loans are not initially shown on the award letters because they require a separate application and credit check that can be completed each year at

Accept, Reject, Revise - You can accept, reject, or revise most parts of your financial aid award. Some types of aid, like the Pell Grant, do not require your acceptance.