NASFAA Mention: Tips for Decoding College Financial Aid Offers

"After the college acceptance letter comes the financial aid offer. But beware: The offers are not always easy to decipher, and different colleges often use different jargon for the same types of aid or loans," The New York Times reports.

"Despite calls for colleges to adopt more uniform, user-friendly formats, institutions remain free to devise their own aid letters, and the information they include varies. Some don’t clearly label student loans and often omit details about the total cost, making it a challenge to figure out how much you’ll have to pay.

A study in 2018 by the New America think tank and uAspire, a nonprofit group that promotes college affordability, examined thousands of award letters and found that not only was the financial aid insufficient for most students, they often used confusing terms. Among the colleges that offered a common type of federal loan, for instance, researchers found more than 100 terms for the loan, including two dozen that didn’t even mention the word 'loan.'

... The Department of Education offers comparison tips on its website, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators offers a worksheet, which you can print out, to help keep information about different colleges organized."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 2/18/2020

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