How do I understand my financial aid package and which tips and tricks can maximize my aid?
Be sure to compare the bottom line cost, not only the amount of scholarship money received. Know what expenses will be billed such as tuition, fees, room/board vs. personal expenses paid for out-of-pocket throughout the year. Depending on school location, personal expenses can vary greatly - and should include travel cost. Also, understand what is gift money (grants/scholarships) vs loans, which you'll have to repay. With scholarships, know if they're renewable and what the requirements are to renew them. Finally, know that not all schools negotiate. Many publics do not, which means aid is not flexible unless income changes.