If you are going to make a good decision about whether or not you can afford a certain school, you need to be able to understand the financial aid offers that you receive. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Understand the total cost of attendance. This means tuition, books, housing, the meal plan, etc. Don’t forget to include some miscellaneous expenses. 
  • Know what you have been awarded. Include all of your grants, scholarships, and other free money for college. 
  • Determine your out-of-pocket costs. This is the difference between the total cost of attendance and the total amount of money you have been awarded. 
  • What part of the financial aid must be repaid? Sometimes financial aid offers include federal loans. Remember that this money will eventually have to be returned, and you may spend considerable time paying off these debts in the future. Remember also that this doesn’t include any private loans you take to make up the gap, so you may be making multiple payments per month. Keep this in mind when determining what you anticipate being able to budget for loan repayment in the future. 

Getting Help Now So You Don’t Get in Over Your Head

Part of the student loan problem in America is a lack of understanding of how federal funding for college works. To learn more, contact College Planning Source. We help students like you to understand the best ways to attain student aid and to plan ahead for college funding. Call 858.676.0700, or you can contact us online to get started. 

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