A front-loaded financial aid package is one in which the college offers a generous financial aid package to first-year students and then reduces it over the subsequent years. The reason why colleges front-load their financial aid packages is simple—they do it to offer aid and attract more students with it. But what’s in it for you? Is it worth it?

Pros and Cons of Front-Loaded Financial Aid Packages

Pros: You will benefit from a front-loaded financial aid package if you are in a situation where you only need the financial aid temporarily during your first year and will be able to cover your tuition as you enter your second year.

Cons: If you are not careful, or if like many students you are unaware of how it works, you could find yourself with dwindling resources from your second year onward. If you cannot afford to cover the tuition from your family’s private funds, you will probably turn to private student loans, which can lead to debt. The other option is to transfer to another institution with lower fees.

Keep in Mind…

Front-loaded financial aid packages work for some students, not all. The most important thing is to first understand how it works. Then take the time to determine whether this is the right option for you. Last but not least, if you plan on accepting the offer, give some thought to how you are going to finance your college education after the first year.

Use College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder to compare lenders and interest rates side by side!