new Steps to Take After Receiving College Financial Aid Award Letters Learning whether your child has been awarded financial help is maybe even more nerve-wracking than waiting for their college acceptance letters. This is the piece of the puzzle that will tell you how much it will cost in the end, and whether or not a certain school is within your budget.
“It might be difficult to decode award letters and compare their stipulations,” explains Angela Colatriano, chief marketing officer of College Ave Student Loans. “All you have to do is be patient and pay attention to each offer.”
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new Steps to Take After Receiving College Financial Aid
According to a recent College Ave Student Loans parent survey conducted by Barnes & Noble College Insights, 42% of parents who received an aid offer letter found aspects of it confusing, and 68% agreed that the terms and layout of these letters varied from school to school, making it difficult to compare them.
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Follow these procedures to make sense of financial aid award letters:
1. Look for free money: Your award letter will indicate whether or not your youngster is qualified for scholarships or grants (sometimes called Merit or Gift Aid). This is money that you usually do not have to repay. Some merit aid is based on your child’s high school grades. Congratulations on this achievement; they worked hard for it.
2. Investigate Federal Work-Study Opportunities: Your child may be eligible for Federal Work-Study opportunities. While employment aren’t always guaranteed, they might be an excellent way to help pay for school.
3. Look for the loans: Your child’s school will mention any federal loans that he or she is eligible for. They might be put together with scholarships and grants. It’s also important to know whether a Federal loan is subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are preferable because they don’t earn interest while your student is still enrolled or during periods of deferment.
4. Determine your net cost: Determine the net direct cost of each institution to get an apples-to-apples comparison of the offerings. This is calculated by deducting the cost of attendance from the scholarships and grants that have been offered (the total cost of tuition, room, board, textbooks and fees). Work-study aid can also be deducted if applicable. It’s crucial to do the arithmetic because the largest scholarship doesn’t always equate to the lowest out-of-pocket expense.
5. Play the field: Some parents have had success appealing the financial aid package they were offered, particularly if their financial circumstances had altered. Share the honors your student has been offered with your top schools of interest. Some schools will match or supplement the reward packages of other schools. You should also inquire about any possible additional scholarships or grants.
6. Take into account additional factors: Check to see if the prizes are for the entire four years and what your child will need to accomplish to remain eligible year after year. Expected increases in tuition, lodging & board, and other costs should also be considered.
7. Fill in the gaps: If you find yourself with a financial gap after performing the calculations, you may want to explore a private student loan or a parent loan. Look for a lender that offers competitive rates, flexible payback options, and the ability to tailor the loan to your family’s needs. College Ave Student Loans, for example, provides tools and information to assist you on your financial path to college, as well as a pre-qualification tool that provides quick responses without hurting your credit score. Visit CollegeAve.com for additional information.
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While waiting for and analyzing financial aid award letters can be complicated and frustrating, the good news is that once you have them, your family will have the resources they need to move forward.