Scholarship News

Making the Choice: Tips for Comparing Financial Aid Packages


April 15, 2010
by Scholarships.com Staff
As students begin evaluating their offers of acceptance from colleges, one factor may weigh more heavily than any other on the tough decisions of choosing the right school - financial aid. The financial aid opportunities School A offers to incoming freshmen that School B does not may be what makes or breaks the decision on where a student will enroll, even if School B is the student's "dream school." Comparing financial aid offers is then an integral process in the decision-making process, and unfortunately you don't have a lot of time to send your notice back to each school you've been accepted to. Here are some tips to navigate the process, and help you determine how to find the "best value":     Compare the scholarships and grants available at each school. Have you already been offered either, or has the school simply notified  you of your eligibility for more free funding?  Compare student loan amounts. What may seem like the best offer at first may actually be anchored by a significant amount of student loan debt. Student loans should be your last resort as far as covering college costs.  Compare your expected family contributions. Schools may handle this piece of information differently, and may even accept more information about your family's financial situation after you've received your financial aid package. It's fine to question a school's offer, especially if there are big discrepancies between what each school is offering you.  Compare the tuition and fees of each school, and what that financial aid package covers. Some schools may offer you what appears to be an impressive amount of aid based on the cost of tuition alone, and you already know college costs include a lot more than that base price - fees, books and supplies, and room and board, for example.  Be aware of what you're eligible to receive next year. Some schools may offer a more impressive financial aid package to incoming freshmen, and pad students' offers the following year with more student loans. Do your research. Compare average student loan debts at each school, talk to students already attending each school, and be frank with your financial aid administrator.Some students may have been lucky enough to have been accepted into a program that has offered them a tuition-free education. A recent article in USA Today took a look at colleges that offer to pay the tuition of all new students, despite all you've already read about tuition and fee increases across the country. Some are military schools that require a commitment from you to serve in the military post-graduation, but others are schools where there exists a need for new graduates, either due to the school's locations or lack of graduates in certain fields of study. Webb Institute, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and the College of the Ozarks, for example, all offer tuition-free educations to students. Do you know of more? Tell us about them!

As students begin evaluating their offers of acceptance from colleges, one factor may weigh more heavily than any other on the tough decisions of choosing the right school - financial aid. The financial aid opportunities School A offers to incoming freshmen that School B does not may be what makes or breaks the decision on where a student will enroll, even if School B is the student's "dream school." Comparing financial aid offers is then an integral process in the decision-making process, and unfortunately you don't have a lot of time to send your notice back to each school you've been accepted to. Here are some tips to navigate the process, and help you determine how to find the "best value":

  • Compare the scholarships and grants available at each school. Have you already been offered either, or has the school simply notified you of your eligibility for more free funding?
  • Compare student loan amounts. What may seem like the best offer at first may actually be anchored by a significant amount of student loan debt. Student loans should be your last resort as far as covering college costs.
  • Compare your expected family contributions. Schools may handle this piece of information differently, and may even accept more information about your family's financial situation after you've received your financial aid package. It's fine to question a school's offer, especially if there are big discrepancies between what each school is offering you.
  • Compare the tuition and fees of each school, and what that financial aid package covers. Some schools may offer you what appears to be an impressive amount of aid based on the cost of tuition alone, and you already know college costs include a lot more than that base price - fees, books and supplies, and room and board, for example.
  • Be aware of what you're eligible to receive next year. Some schools may offer a more impressive financial aid package to incoming freshmen, and pad students' offers the following year with more student loans. Do your research. Compare average student loan debts at each school, talk to students already attending each school, and be frank with your financial aid administrator.
Some students may have been lucky enough to have been accepted into a program that has offered them a tuition-free education. A recent article in USA Today took a look at colleges that offer to pay the tuition of all new students, despite all you've already read about tuition and fee increases across the country. Some are military schools that require a commitment from you to serve in the military post-graduation, but others are schools where there exists a need for new graduates, either due to the school's locations or lack of graduates in certain fields of study. Webb Institute, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and the College of the Ozarks, for example, all offer tuition-free educations to students. Do you know of more? Tell us about them!
ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with our massive database of millions of college scholarships by conducting a free scholarship search at Scholarships.com. Scholarships.com offers the simplest way to search for, apply to, and win college scholarships. Make your college education affordable or even free, by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
FAFSA is an acronym. It stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Please take note that the first word in the acronym is Free. You do not need to pay to fill out the FAFSA but there are certainly websites out there that will charge you for their assistance. If you are asked for a credit card at any point in the process, you are at one of these sites. If you do not want to pay to complete the FAFSA, be sure to apply at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. The FAFSA must be completed by you and your family each year if you wish to be considered for need-based grants from the college or university you are or will be attending as well as subsidized student loans.

What is the FAFSA?

October 8, 2021 2:52 PM
by Scholarships.com Staff
FAFSA is an acronym. It stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid". Please take note that the first word in the acronym is "Free". You do not need to pay to fill out the FAFSA but there
A study abroad program can be the beginning of the most exciting chapter of your college experience. Often, the travel, housing, credits and even food are included in the price of the program you choose. However, this is no reason not to look for more financial opportunities!

Want to Study Abroad? Find Scholarships

August 31, 2021 12:30 PM
by Scholarships.com Staff
A study abroad program can be the beginning of the most exciting chapter of your college experience. Often, the travel, housing, credits and even food are included in the price of the program you
As you get ready for this next big step in your life, this last year at home can feel like the longest and the shortest you ever had! While you prepare to select a college and research scholarships and financial aid, don’t forget to spend some quality time with your friends and family. While movies, even when based on a true story, are always a little bit fantastic, they are also works of art that share experiences among their viewers.

Movie Night! College Classics

August 19, 2021 12:22 PM
by Scholarships.com Staff
As you get ready for this next big step in your life, this last year at home can feel like the longest and the shortest you ever had! While you prepare to select a college and research scholarships
While the notion of men and women having naturally different aptitudes and interests is slowly becoming a thing of the past, there remain differences in professional compensation between the sexes. Recent studies are still exploring the way women with the same education and occupation as their male counterparts earn less money. There also remains a tendency for jobs dominated by female workers to pay much lower, in general, than those with a larger male employee base.

Fighting the Wage Gap

August 11, 2021 12:21 PM
by Scholarships.com Staff
While the notion of men and women having naturally different aptitudes and interests is slowly becoming a thing of the past, there remain differences in professional compensation between the sexes.
While you work hard to ensure your future at the college of your dreams, it may seem like academic programs and credits are the only things going on there. Once you enter your college or university, you will find that it is one big community made up of many smaller ones. Part of your journey will be to find your specific home there. This may entail finding a teacher you love working with, a project with peers that fuels your creativity or your entrance into an entire academic department.

Netflix's New Fictional Show About Higher Ed

August 5, 2021 10:20 AM
by Scholarships.com Staff
While you work hard to ensure your future at the college of your dreams, it may seem like academic programs and credits are the only things going on there. Once you enter your college or university,
A high school senior from Lithia, Florida has just been awarded the $1,000 grand prize in a scholarship competition. The 16-year-old, Laura Gonzalez, is on track to attend college next fall. She hails from Lithia, a suburb of Tampa in central-east Florida and is completing her last year at Newsome Highschool, with a total population of about 3,000 students. Her small school and community are thrilled for her and are all wishing her the best on her upcoming new chapter in life.

Florida Teen Wins Scholarship!

July 29, 2021 12:44 PM
by Scholarships.com Staff
A high school senior from Lithia, Florida has just been awarded the $1,000 grand prize in a scholarship competition. The 16-year-old, Laura Gonzalez, is on track to attend college next fall. She
Even after all the battles you have won in applying to schools and getting accepted, there will most likely still be work to get done when it comes to paying tuition. There are two main avenues you can take to try to address this problem: scholarships or student loans:

Student Loans vs. Scholarships

July 13, 2021 2:57 PM
by Scholarships.com Staff
Even after all the battles you have won in applying to schools and getting accepted, there will most likely still be work to get done when it comes to paying tuition. There are two main avenues you
Among the most important things you want to do before applying for a job is to update your resume with relevant experience. Doing so makes it possible for employers to take notice of you, your skills, and what you have to offer their companies. The sooner you clean up and polish your resume, the easier it becomes to submit it to companies seeking employees like you.

Create an Outstanding Resume That Employers Notice

July 7, 2021 11:58 AM
by Scholarships.com Staff
Among the most important things you want to do before applying for a job is to update your resume with relevant experience. Doing so makes it possible for employers to take notice of you, your
College is expensive. That’s why a majority of college students take out student loans. Nearly 70% of the Class of 2019 took out student loans and graduated with almost $30,000 in debt. It’s a frightening statistic, and it’s part of why Scholarships.com exists to help students discover scholarships to pay for college. In general, scholarships do not entirely replace the need to take out loans. Responsibly borrowing for college can be a worthwhile investment, but for students and their families take out an abundance of student loans, the results can be frustrating – saddled with debt that’s increasingly harder and harder to pay off.

Risks of Over-Borrowing on Student Loans

June 24, 2021 2:08 PM
by Izzy Hall
College is expensive. That’s why a majority of college students take out student loans. Nearly 70% of the Class of 2019 took out student loans and graduated with almost $30,000 in debt. It’s a
Summer is the perfect time to take on a student internship. Your class load is lighter, so you have more time to explore options in your preferred industry. There isn’t as much competition from your peers, either, because many have gone elsewhere for summer break, leaving opportunities wide open for you to take advantage of now. Internships open doors in your professional and academic careers by adding to your work experience and offering you a chance to see what a career in your major or interest is truly like.

How to Find a Summer Internship

June 22, 2021 9:46 AM
by Scholarships.com Staff
Summer is the perfect time to take on a student internship. Your class load is lighter, so you have more time to explore options in your preferred industry. There isn’t as much competition from your