Have you ever walked into a high tech computer store to buy a computer? Friendly sales people will fill your head with RAM, gigabytes, core processors, hard drive space, pixels, and bus speeds until you have no idea what to do. Last time I went through this ordeal, I walked out with a brand new computer with Windows Vista loaded and was promised this was the operating system of the future (LOL).
Selecting a college can be just as daunting if not more so. You’re making a potential $100,000 investment in your future. What’s more, the financial aid award letters are confusing due to complex terminology and jargon. How do you compare apples-to-apples? It’s so bad, in fact, that a bill was introduced this year in the US Senate, called the Understanding the True Costs of College Act, to clarify financial aid award letters from colleges. So, what do you do while waiting for congress to fix the mess?
Golden Rule #3 states: You must become an “educated consumer” so the process doesn’t intimidate you. Unless you shop around and learn something about how each school handles their financial aid process, you’ll never be able to separate the good offers from the bad.
Every college has, in its financial aid bag of tricks, ways to appeal and entice you. Some parts of these packages are good; some parts of them are not. Some schools have large endowments that they use for their scholarship funds, others “rob Peter to pay Paul” with financial aid. Obviously you want to be Paul in those cases, but you’ll need to understand the school’s financial process to do so.
Want to know more about college award letters and financial aid? Download a free financial aid manual at www.maxfinaid.com.