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Your Guide to Comparing Financial Aid Packages

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If understanding your award letter wasn’t hard enough, many students base their college decision on what school can offer them a better deal financially, meaning students and parents now have to sort through loans, grants, scholarships, work study programs, and total costs of attendance to get the big picture. Because two or more schools will all cost a different amount and have different programs available for financial assistance, the big picture isn’t always easy to get.

The major points to consider when reviewing two or more award packages is the total cost of attendance for all schools, and how those schools plan to assist you financially. For the most part, a more expensive school will cost you the most, as much of your aid may be in student loans, which you’re required to pay back after graduation. But by taking a closer look at how your needs are being met, you may find the best deals where you didn’t expect them. If your need is mostly being met with grants and scholarships (money you’re given as opposed to having to pay back) at an expensive school, it may in fact be about the same price to attend that school as it would a cheaper school. It may even BE cheaper. Compare the schools by figuring out what you’ll end up paying for each one. Luckily, technology has granted us with a faster, easier, and more simple way to understand the big picture.

According to a recent article entitled “New Way to Compare Financial Aid Awards” by Beckie Supiano published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, a new web site created by The Consumer of Financial Protection Bureau can allow for students and parents to see the big picture just by typing in a few bits of information.

The interactive web site allows for students and parents to enter the colleges for which they have received an award letter, followed by how much money they are getting from various programs, and how much money they expect to contribute on their own. The web site can then rate on a scale of high to low how much debt you’re likely to accumulate by attending. The web site can also give students an idea of how much money they can expect to pay on a monthly basis in student loans once they’ve graduated. For students who have not yet applied to college, the web site can show the average amount students generally receive from different programs. In addition, the web site can supply average graduation rates for the institutions you’ve selected. It’s the hope of The Consumer of Financial Protection Bureau for all schools to adapt a system like this web site for students and parents to truly understand what they’re getting involved in, financially; however, according to the article, many institutions in general were not interested in this type of format. If you’re applying for an associates or bachelors degree, see what you’ll be paying for college!

Want to search for scholarships or find your perfect college fit? Make your profile today on Cappex!

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College News Roundup

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Up-to-date college news from this week:

Pat Summitt Steps Down

After 38 years on the job as head coach of the Tennessee Women’s Basketball program, Pat Summitt has passed the keys to Holly Warlick. Coach Summitt retires with the most wins of any coach in college basketball history (man or woman). She added an NCAA record 8 National Championships to those 1,098 wins.

Coach Summitt turns 60 next month. She is stepping down in large part due to early on-set dementia. She disclosed this condition last August and will focus her energies now on battling the illness. Summitt will remain a part of the Tennesse staff as “ head coach emeritus” and will help mentor current players as well as recruit new players. Holly Warlick will be taking the reigns after 27 years as an assistant to Coach Summitt. Coach Summitt said:

“I made a choice early in my career to challenge myself to step up my game each and every day. You can be sure I will take this same attitude into my new role as head coach emeritus and continue to teach our players the same commitment. I can promise you ladies, I’m here for you.”

Warlick added:

“Today I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I get to coach at a school that has always been in my blood and this is my home. It only took me 27 years to get to this point — I didn’t want to rush it. So I told Pat to take all the time she needed.

People have asked me, why have you not left? And I simply say, why would I? Why would I leave a place that is rich in tradition, has an unbelievable administration that has always supported women’s basketball, and have the most incredible, supporting fans in the country?”

State AG Deems Santa Monica College Tuition Plan Illegal

To combat budget shortfalls, Santa Monica College came up with a plan to charge more per credit for classes that were in higher demand and filled up quicker. Now the California Attorney General has deemed this plan illegal. They would have charged almost four times as much per class for the in demand classes. More than $800 million has been cut from California community colleges in recent years. Santa Monica College says they have not yet received an official opinion on the matter and thus would not comment on it.

Any news going on your college campus? Share in the comment field below!

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