|Understanding Financial Aid: Your Financial Aid Package|
If you are accepted to a college either through Early Decision/Action or Regular Decision, the college will send you a financial aid package for you to review before you have to decide whether or not to attend. Financial aid packages have many components, and it is important to fully understand all of the costs of a college as well as the aid awarded to cover the costs.
Costs of Attending a College
The cost of attending a college is more than just the tuition that you pay. Below are the components that make up the total cost of attendance. It is important to note the when you get financial aid, it is toward all of the components below.
When your financial aid is calculated, all of these expenses are considered. As a low-income student, you can get financial aid for your personal expenses and also for travel. Since you can get financial aid to travel, you don’t need to worry about not being able to afford to get to a school far from home if that is where you want to go.
Components of a Financial Aid Package
Below are common components of a financial aid package and who actually pays for them.
One cheaper option is that you can apply for outside scholarships, like the Coca-Cola scholarship or a local scholarship, like one from your local Masonic Lodge or Rotary Club. If you get outside scholarships, many schools will allow you to use these awards to reduce the amount you have to pay. Some schools, however, use your outside scholarships to first reduce their grants to you, making no difference in how much you have to pay and only saving themselves money. Be sure to check the school policy on outside scholarships. At many schools, even if you don’t have unmet need, you can use outside scholarships to cover the parent contribution, your summer contribution, or even eliminate your loans and work-study.
You can find out more about outside scholarships and how to apply by looking on scholarship search engines, like Fastweb.com, Zinch.com or Scholarships.com as well as going to your guidance counselor to ask about smaller local scholarships that you might be eligible for. More listings are available on our Scholarship Resources page.