With most acceptance letters received and financial aid offers in hand as college decisions approach on May 1 (or May 3rd this year for the Ivy schools), sometimes the final choice for college comes down to the cold hard numbers. As you have likely discovered, the “Cost of Attendance” is a very different number than the tuition sticker price.
No matter what the final sticker price is, with tuition and housing and meals all combined, the merit scholarships and grants determine the final price. When you receive your financial aid package after being accepted into a college, there will be multiple lines of funding to take into consideration, and it is important to know what they mean and whether they are negotiable. Comparing the types of aid that have been offered, rather than the number in the total, is the most important step in making a solid financial decisions.
If you’ve recently received multiple financial aid letters and are comparing schools at this point, check out all of our advice on breaking down those numbers in our Scholarships and Reviewing Your Financial Aid webinar.