Different colleges cost different amounts, present their costs in different ways, and offer different amounts of fiancial aid in different combinations. This can make it difficult to understand which combination of price and student aid award is best.Diane Stemper, Executive Director of Financial Aid at The Ohio State University, joins us today for the first of a two-part post on comparing financial aid awards so that students and their families can be wise consumers and better understand what they are being offered and signing on for.
During 30 years as a financial aid director, I have worked at several different colleges and universities, creating and revising award letters at each and every school. Financial aid offices across the country engage in the same activity, striving to provide a clear message in the financial aid award letter and often approaching it in a slightly different manner. The result is that letters from different institutions often do not look the same. How do you understand this land of acronyms and abbreviations? And more importantly, how do you understand what the cost will be to you and how do you compare this for various institutions as you make your very important college choice decision?
There are a few basic definitions that will assist you in sorting out the information: