Figuring Out Financial Aid Offers

fin aidThe tables have finally turned. Now that students have been notified by colleges as to where they've gotten in, it's their turn to make the decisions. And for the students to whom money matters, financial aid offers add another layer of complexity. Here are a few tips published by consumerreports.org to help figure out those financial aid offers:

  • Make sure you understand the total amount you'll receive. Pay attention to the figure "total cost of attendance," but not all schools handle this number the same way. Some figures include tuition, fees, room and board, while others include additional costs such as books, activities and living expenses.
  • Think about the type of loan you will need. You can opt for a Direct loan or a Perkins loan, and they can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Make sure to research which ones best suit your needs.
  • Find out if work-study programs are available. Work-study programs can be extremely helpful in making ends meet, and they are usually offered on campus.
  • Make sure that your offer will continue for four years. Schools often supply a financial figure for the first year of college. Be sure to find out what you are guaranteed throughout your four years.
  • Financial aid offers are not written in stone. You can always appeal an offer with the schools' financial aid office. This is especially true when you have a more generous alternate offer.
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