Comparing Financial Aid Offers: Don't Make This Common Mistake

Comparing Apples and Oranges

When students receive their financial aid offers, most are concerned with only one line item: what are my immediate out-of-pocket costs?

Many are tempted to choose the college that seems to have covered most of their financial need, and has left little or nothing for the student to pay out-of-pocket.

This is a mistake!

Comparing an offer full of grants and scholarships to one full of loans is like comparing apples and oranges.

In other words, they are two completely different scenarios and should be treated as such.

An Example

Let's use this comparison of College A, B, and C as an example.

On first glance this seems like an easy decision. College A appears to have a generous aid package that has met all of this student's financial need!

Ah - but you must look closer to see how your aid has been divvied up. 

Example taken from the eBook,   How to Avoid Wasting Money on College Tuition  .

Example taken from the eBook, How to Avoid Wasting Money on College Tuition.

College A has offered $18,000 in gift aid. Fantanstic!

Ooh, but they have also slapped a $14,000 unsubsidized loan into the offer. Ouch! 

After taking a closer look at this application, you can clearly see that College B or C would be the better option financially for this student.

Get Help Comparing Offers

Cost Cutter was designed to help students cut through the confusion and avoid common mistakes made in comparing financial aid offers.

Begin analyzing and comparing your offers for free!