Financial Aid Packages

how to evaluate your financial aid package

  • Find your cost of attendance (COA)
  • Find your EFC (if any)
  • Find your financial need (COA – EFC)
  • See if the proposed financial aid package meets all your financial need
  • From the package, how much is gift aid vs self-help aid?

What is your net cost?

• Self-help aid
• Any unmet need that you will be asked to fill through other sources

additional things to take in mind

  • Compare Net Costs for the schools your are considering
  • Be mindful of the amount of debt you are being asked to accept
  • Loans can be declined or reduced
  • Do not borrow more than you need
Credit: HSF
Look at these two different financial aid packages. The net prices at the bottom are the financial costs you and your family are responsible for.

final tips for students

  • Make sure you look beyond the “sticker price”!
  • Research financial aid programs and resources offered at the colleges you are interested in applying
  • Tools for estimating your net costs: Net Price Calculator on your school’s website

Financial Aid Packaging, Appeals for Additional Aid

  • Working with your financial aid office
  • All schools have a financial aid office staffed with financial aid professionals
  • Do not hesitate to contact your prospective schools’ Financial Aid Offices for information on how to appeal for more aid
  • The more documentation you can provide, the stronger your appeal will be
  • Some schools are generous in their appeal process, others are more strict
  • Unexpected circumstances are appropriate reasons to appeal
  • Unemployment, loss of benefits, death or illness of primary wage earner, estrangement from parents, housing insecurity and PLUS loan denial are examples of appealable circumstances.