Comparing Financial Aid Award Letters

 

You got into the top three schools on your list.  Each has sent you a financial aid award. One offer looks better than the other two, but is it really?  It’s important to compare financial aid offers.  Here are 6 questions to ask: 

  1. What is your Cost of Attendance (COA)? Does the college list all the costs for going to college: 1) Tuition & Fees; 2) Room & Board; 3) Books & Supplies; 4) Personal Expenses, 5) Transportation (getting to and from the campus). If the award does not include these items, search the website for the information or call the college.  
  2. What is your Expect Family Contribution (EFC) number on your Student Aid Report? The amount your family is expected to pay toward college is on the student aid report generated when you filed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This number is needed for comparing financial aid awards.  If your family contribution is close to or more...
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How Do You Know How Much You Will Pay for Your College (Need Based Aid)?

 

Paying for college is often compared to paying for airline tickets. No two people pay the same price. What will your costs be at college? How much you pay for college depends on so many factors.  Knowing what those factors are, and how college will look at your family’s financial situation, will help you know what the price of your “college” ticket will be. Knowing how it will differ from one college to another will help you compare one college to another.
 
How do I know if I am eligible for financial aid?

What do colleges look at to determine how much you pay for college? The FAFSA or Profile forms are used to determine how much your family can contribute to your college education. The forms include questions to find out: 

  • How much income your parents make
  • How much income you make (if any)- even babysitting counts
  • How much savings or investments your parents have
  • How much savings you have in your name

What is an “Expected Family...

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