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Evaluating your Financial Aid Award 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It is about that time when high school seniors are getting their college acceptance letters. This can be both an exciting and confusing time for students, especially when deciding which financial aid award package is the best. Luckily, CollegeToolkit has a Financial Aid Award Evaluator to help you in your decision process.

How does it work?

The Financial Aid Award Evaluator calculates three different things:

  1. Needs Analysis: This section looks at what aid you were offered and calculates your total unmet financial need. This give you an idea of how much all of your financial aid does (or does not) cover.
  2. Debt Burden-Monthly Loan Payments: This section uses the previous information to calculate your estimated monthly loan payments for all the types of loans you may have received.
  3. Debt Burden- Estimated Repayment Period: This section calculates how many years it could take you to pay off the loans you have received, based on the monthly loan payment calculations.

So how is this evaluator beneficial? For those students who must closely consider their award packages, this can give a real-life estimate of how your education is getting paid for. Many students take out loans without thinking about how they will repay them. By using this evaluator, students can get a clearer understanding of the financial burden loan debt can be. Hopefully, students can use this tool to make an informed decision about which school is right for them.

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Anonymous Anonymous   March 12, 2011 at 2:02 PM

I am looking for advice on the following- Our daughter has been accepted at her first choice college. We are not eligible for any need based financial aid. If we send in the deposit-and commit to the school- are we tipping our hand and therefore out of the running for any merit based scholapships that may open? ie would the college assume we are locked in and award another student who may be on the fence? thanks

Blogger College Toolkit   March 16, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Because most merit scholarships students are eligible for typically show up on the financial aid award letter, I would not expect for any aid to "open up". This also depends on the particular school. Having said that, you may want to wait until up to the deadline to send in your deposit.

For a more definitive answer, you should try contacting the financial aid office of the school.

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