Top Tips To Help You Evaluate Your Aid Offers

Your financial aid packages will shortly arrive, if you have not already received them. These offers may show up separately from your admissions letters. Each school presents their offer in a different format making it difficult to easily compare from one school to another. It’s important for you to understand the specifics of each package, including merit aid vs loans, the terms of each loan as well as the requirements for you to continue to qualify for your aid and any changes in the aid from year to year.

Make sure to be aware of these important specifics of your financial aid offers:

  • Schools require that you reapply annually to qualify for aid, so your package may not be the same each year.
  • Deadlines are absolute; 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  • Some scholarships have strict academic requirements and can be rescinded if you do not maintain a specific grade point average.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 not be offered for all four years. Funds may be offered to entice you to join as a freshman, but that same aid may not be available in each of the following years. Make sure to confirm.
  • Aid may not be available to transfer students, or less money may be offered to transfers, so if you are a transfer student, do not assume you’ll have access to the same aid package at the new school. Be sure to check with the financial aid office.
  • If wait listed, confirm whether aid will be available if you are admitted off of the list.
  • Aid packages may be appealed, particularly if your family’s financial circumstances have changed. Make sure to provide updated information to your financial aid rep.
  • 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.
  • If you are considering accepting any loans, make sure you and your family fully understand the repayment terms and are comfortable taking them on. 

Deciding where to attend college is a big decision. There are a lot of factors to consider. If financial aid is important to you and your family, make sure you understand the terms of your package so that you may effectively evaluate your options before you select the school you will attend next fall.

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