Your financial aid award letter might be hiding the cost of college

The hidden costs of college in your financial aid award letter

Receiving a financial aid award letter can be an exciting and relieving moment for many students and their families. It often signifies that some of the financial burden of attending college will be eased thanks to scholarships, grants, and loans. However, it’s important to thoroughly read and dissect the financial aid award letter to understand the true cost of college.

While a financial aid award letter usually outlines the amount of aid a student is eligible to receive, it doesn’t always provide a clear picture of the total cost of attending college. Many times, the letter only includes the cost of tuition and fees, leaving out other essential expenses such as room and board, textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses.

This can lead students and their families to believe that the cost of attending college is significantly lower than it actually is. The hidden costs can catch students and families off guard and leave them struggling to pay for the additional expenses.

To avoid these surprises, students should carefully review their financial aid award letter and ask the college’s financial aid office for a breakdown of all expenses associated with attending the institution. This will help them get a more accurate picture of how much they will need to pay out of pocket, or through additional loans or scholarships.

In addition, students should look into other ways to cover the cost of college, such as applying for outside scholarships, getting a part-time job, or looking into work-study opportunities. It’s important to have a clear understanding of all expenses before committing to a college to avoid financial hardship down the road.

Overall, while financial aid award letters can be a helpful tool in financing a college education, students should be cautious of the hidden costs that may not be included. By thoroughly reviewing their financial aid award letters and understanding the true cost of college, students can make informed decisions about their education and financial future.
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