NASFAA Resources Can Help Students Compare Financial Aid Offers

Students and families can use NASFAA’s Award Package Comparison Worksheet to make more informed decisions when choosing a college.

February 8, 2018 – The college application season is wrapping up, but students and families may have more work to do before making a final decision on which college to attend. One of the biggest factors in choosing a college is cost, and comparing financial aid award letters can be tricky. NASFAA’s Award Letter Comparison Worksheet can help make the process easier for students in the coming months as they receive financial aid award letters.

Just like schools, no two financial aid award letters are exactly alike. Some colleges might separate financial aid into federal, state, and institutional categories, while others might separate the types of aid by gift aid — like grants and scholarships — and self-help aid, such as loans and work-study. Financial aid and costs can also vary greatly from school to school.

NASFAA’s Award Letter Comparison Worksheet is a useful tool that students and families can use to decipher different award letters and compare them on a level playing field. The worksheet gives students tips to follow when comparing award packages — explaining the difference between gift aid and self-help aid, checking for eligibility requirements to maintain grants and scholarships, and calculating out-of-pocket costs for school.

“While colleges’ award letters may look different, NASFAA members adhere to standards that should allow students and parents to make apple-to-apple comparisons,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “Being able to compare award offers is an important step in choosing a college, and NASFAA’s resources can help make the process a little easier for students and their families.”

NASFAA policy experts and financial aid administrators can discuss what students and their families need to know about financial aid awards and how to compare them. For more information, contact us at 202-785-6959 or to set up an interview.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit

Publication Date: 2/8/2018

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