How do I compare financial aid packages from different colleges?
Ask yourself these questions when evaluating financial aid offers:
- With the aid offered to me, can I afford to attend my first choice college
or university? Remember, the goal of aid is to provide access and choice,
not to lure you to a college you don't really want to attend.
- Is there a commitment from the financial aid office to continue the aid
after the first year of college? Under what terms and conditions?
- Is the loan or work required reasonable? Can I afford the payments once
I have graduated? How many hours of weekly work does the award imply? To
help determine how much the monthly payments on student loans would be, try
the Student Loans Over Projected Earnings (SLOPE) Calculator.
- Are other options available to me at my first-choice college or university?
Ask the aid office at that college or university to suggest other options
for financing your education.
Luckily for Hannah Crippen, a first-year college student, all three
schools she applied to offered comparable aid packages. This allowed her to
make her decision based on other factors.
"The college she chose came
down to a gut feel she had during her campus visit, and also recruiting by
their admissions staff that made her feel special and wanted," says her mother,
Mary Crippen. "My husband and I met at a college very much like the ones she
applied to, so we want to give our children the opportunity to have a college
experience like we had if at all possible. We know it means making some adjustments
to make that happen."