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The Offer Letters Are Now In – What's Next?

It’s an exciting time for seniors. The year is winding down, prom is coming and now it’s time to choose a school. Each school will send an award letter. Now it’s time to see what college will really cost. It can be tricky evaluating the offers. Be sure to look at all the fine print. For example, if the student is offered an academic scholarship, what GPA do they need to maintain in order to keep the scholarship? Remember, even the brightest students often have trouble their first semester as they adjust to the rigors of college. Is the aid available every year? What is the real cost of attendance including room and board, travel and incidentals?
Evaluating the offers:
Create a spreadsheet – be sure to include all the costs of attendance. Go to collegeboard.com if you need to look up some of the costs. Remember to include lab fees, health service fees etc.
For each school, list the value of scholarships and grants.
Now subtract the award from the cost of attendance.
How much is left? How much are you considering taking out in loans?
Most students don’t really understand what impact student loan payments will have on their future. Lay it out for them. Show them on paper what they’ll likely earn as a salary when the finish their education. Then show them a budget including food, housing, car expenses, clothing, etc. Can they really afford the loan payments? What impact will those payments have 5, 10, 15 years down the road?
Once all the data has been gathered and the school has been chosen, then enjoy all those end the year activities! Parents, celebrate! Your child is entering the next phase of life!