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You’ve been accepted by a bunch of good colleges, and the financial aid offers from the schools are flowing in. How do you compare them?
It’s not necessarily easy—especially if this is your first exposure to the college years. Experts warn that it’s common to get confused about which combinations of loans, scholarships, grants, or work-study are best. “We’re seeing a sustained high level of confusion, because there are always new entrants who are suddenly faced with constant changes within the financial aid process.
But what it really comes down to is this: Which type of aid is most beneficial towards financing a college education? The best answer is to look at the components in descending order of value: first scholarships and grants, then work-study or government loans. Private loans should be at the end of the list.
Naturally, though, nothing is really simple. Here are some resources to help you compare your financial aid offers:
Fill out this form from College Board and hit submit
This resource from Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education
This resource from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Comparing Financial Aid