Reading The Fine Print

You may have already received some acceptances. Be on the lookout for financial aid letters which often arrive separately from admissions decisions. Now’s the time to focus on details as the letters may look different from one another, often making it difficult to compare them. With your admissions decisions and financial aid offers in hand, it’s so important that you understand the fine print, including the terms of your aid package(s), a school’s requirements for you to keep your aid and how the aid you’ve been offered may change from year to year.

Here are some important things you need to know about financial aid offers:

  • You must reapply annually to qualify for aid, so your package may not be the same each year of college.
  • Deadlines are crucial and you can lose your aid if you fail to file the necessary paperwork on time.
  • Some scholarships have strict academic requirements and can be rescinded if you do not maintain a specific grade point average.
  • Merit aid may be offered to entice you to join a freshman class, but that same aid may not be available in your sophomore, junior and senior years.
  • Aid may not be available to transfer students, or less money may be offered to transfers, so students should not assume they’ll have access to the same aid package if transferring to a new school.
  • Confirm whether aid will be available if you are admitted off of a wait list.
  • Aid packages may be negotiable, particularly if your family’s financial circumstances have changed.
  • If you have any concerns or questions about your financial aid package(s), call the school’s financial aid office and ask a financial aid officer to help you.

Make sure you understand the terms of your aid before you select the school you will attend next fall.

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