Comparing College Offers

How to Compare Financial Aid Offers

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to more than one college and now it’s time to compare the offers.
Your offer most likely contains a combination of different types of aid. Knowledge of each type of aid is essential to fully understand the offer.
Scholarships don’t require repayment. You may have received merit or talent scholarships. The key items to review are:
How much is the scholarship per year?
What do you need to do to maintain the scholarship? What happens if you change your major, your GPA drops or you get hurt and can’t play the sport? Is there a provision where the scholarship turns into a loan if certain criteria aren’t met?
Grants are money given for education that don’t have to be repaid. Just be sure to review any fine print.
A work-study program is usually for about 10 hours a week. Although not a lot of money, it doesn’t count as income when the school calculates the next year’s package. Plus an on-campus job will help you make connections on campus that can help land internships and provide contacts for jobs when you graduate.
Federal loans are dispersed based on your FAFSA report. Loans need to be repaid so be sure to review the interest rate and repayment terms.
Sometimes private loans are necessary, but be cautious and review payment terms and interest rates. What happens if you don’t get a job right away? When does loan payment begin?
Be sure to compare each offer. Sometimes the schools with the higher price tag offer more financial aid and in the end cost less than some cheaper schools.
If you have any questions, call our office at 630-907-9830.