Paying For College - Head Matters

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8. Award Notifications

Schools will send you an award notification (also called award letter) showing how much and what types of aid they are able to award you. After you receive these notifications from each of the schools, compare them to better understand your true out-of-pocket cost for attending each school.

While each school will try to meet your need, it’s important to be aware of the type of financial aid they use to meet that need. If one school offers more financial aid in the form of loans and another offers aid in the form of grants, remember that even though you do not have to pay either out of pocket now, you’ll need to pay the loan back (with interest!) after you graduate. 

Award notifications can vary quite a bit from school to school. That can make it tough to compare apples to apples. Use our award letter comparison tool to make sure that you understand how much gift aid you’ll get and how much of the aid you’ll be required to repay.


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