Parent College Coach Tip #59: Don’t Be Fooled by the Award Letter

award letterDon’t  be fooled by the financial aid award letter. Colleges use numerous tactics to make it appear that they are awarding aid but it’s not always so. Here are five ways that colleges might be trying to fool you.

  1. Colleges don’t back their admission offer up with money–if a college wants your student, they will back it up with a financial “reward”. No award indicates they are counting on your student declining their offer.
  2. Colleges pack those letters with loans–a prank because every student and parent can get a student loan.
  3. Colleges misrepresent their true cost on those letter–often leaving out expenses that should be considered and not giving the true cost of attendance.
  4. Colleges “gap” students–they don’t award enough financial aid to meet the family’s EFC. This leaves a gap in the award and what the family has to pay.
  5. Colleges consider it an award letter although there’s no award–even if all they offer is a student loan. That’s not an award. That’s not even an olive branch. It’s a slap in the face.

Be a wise consumer. Don’t be fooled by the award letter. Do your due diligence and compare offers, crunch the numbers, and make a wise financial decision. Remember that part of the perfect fit college is the financial aspect. A college who won’t back their offer up with money isn’t a college you should consider.

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