So you have your financial aid letters in hand. Do you fully understand what they say, and know the terms and conditions of the offer? Many students don’t and realize they’ve made a mistake after acceptance – some don’t realize until years down the line! Here are some debunked financial aid offer myths to help ensure you make the best decisions.
Myth: Your Letter Will Always Be an Accurate and Full Picture
Not all financial aid letters will be clear. In fact, many will leave out important information that you need to know or details that you should consider before accepting, especially if you’re comparing several different offers.
Financial aid letters from colleges, for example, will not always be direct when it comes to the cost of attendance to their school. They may include tuition, but not mention the other costs you’ll incur while attending from books to room and board.
Other letters may not be clear on whether it’s a loan or a grant. A loan you’ll have to pay back. Grants do not have to be paid back in most cases – you may be required however if you fail to meet the terms and conditions of the offer. These could be things like maintain a certain GPA or attend college full-time. It’s essential if the letter isn’t clear though if it’s a loan or a grant that you figure out which one it is. Grants will usually use the terms “scholarship” or “fellowship.”
Myth: You Have to Take the Full Amount the Letter Offers You.
The college may offer you quite a bit towards your tuition, but that doesn’t mean you have to take every cent they list. You can opt to take only a portion of what they offered and use either your own money or other routes to afford college. You don’t want to borrow too much – you will have to pay it back after all plus interest. It’s better to borrow what you need and nothing more.
Myth: Your Financial Aid Offer Letter Will Be Clear about Interest Rates.
Did you receive a financial aid loan offer with no mention of interest? That doesn’t mean you don’t have an interest rate. You do – and it’s important to find out what it is before you accept. You don’t want to agree to a loan and later find out the interest rate is higher than you expected. Talk to the school financial aid office if things aren’t clear.
Busting Financial Aid Offer Myths
Before you sign on any dotted line for your financial aid offers, it’s absolutely essential that you fully understand all the terms and agreements to any loans, grants, or scholarships. You will need details on repayment options, college costs (beyond tuition), interest rates, and any requirements you’ll have to meet to get the loan or grants.
Luckily, College Raptor can do all the hard work for you. Simply upload your offer letters into our free tool, and compare offers side by side without any confusing jargon. Just make a College Raptor account and head on over to our Financial Aid Offer tool!