If you're not sure, ask the financial aid officer at your
If you don't fully understand your financial aid package or the
process of applying for and receiving these funds, contact the
college's financial aid office.
If one college offers a substantially different package than
another, it's worthwhile for the student or parent to contact the
financial aid offices for an explanation, says Jim Kolesar, a
spokesman for Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The
difference could be due to an error on a form, or the colleges may
have had different information.
"Given the amounts of money, it doesn't hurt to ask," he says.
"They want to be fair, and they want your kid to come, or they
wouldn't have admitted him or her."
The U.S. Department of Education recently created a model
financial aid award letter format known as the "Shopping
Sheet" or use this calculator. Students may complete this
sheet for each college from which they receive an award letter.
Students and parents can then easily compare the financial aid
package from each college.