13 THINGS TO KNOW WHEN EVALUATING YOUR FINANCIAL AID OFFERS U.S. Department of Education Resource Article You’ve submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and applied to schools. How do you know what to look for when they send you financial aid offers? Understanding how to interpret what you’re committing to could save you future surprises, not to mention thousands of dollars in payments. Here’s what you need to know. KEEP TWO KEY QUESTIONS IN MIND AS YOU READ EACH FINANCIAL AID OFFER The purpose of financial aid offers, which are often called “award letters,” is to bridge the gap between your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the cost of the school. As you compare your offers, keep these big-picture questions in mind: • What types of aid is the school offering you? • How much of your financial need is met through the aid the school is offering you? MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND HOW LONG EACH KIND OF AID IS OFFERED Federal student aid (such as federal loans) is offered on a yearly basis, so you’ll 2 receive a new aid offer each year. Meanwhile, schools may offer aid (such as scholarships) for one year or for multiple years. As you review your package, make sure you’re clear about which parts can be offered in the years to come and which are available this year only. 1
TAKE NOTES FOR A DISCUSSION WITH THE SCHOOL’S FINANCIAL AID OFFICE, IF YOU NEED IT
Make a list of questions you want to ask each prospective school. Make sure you get them answered by the school’s financial aid office before you decide where you’ll enroll and how you’ll pay for it.
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