As we mentioned Monday, financial aid can be confusing. You might start assuming things that may — or may not —
be true. Our Friends at U.S. News & World Report explain some of those assumptions so you can make well-informed decisions.
- Your financial aid package will include just free money, money you won’t have to pay back.
As our financial aid director Melissa Ibanez likes to say, “Free money is good money.” What do we mean by free money? Money you don’t have to pay back, such as scholarships and grants. However, there are other types of aid, such as loans, that you’ll have to pay back, and work-study employment that you’ll have to work for.
- Your awards are renewable.
On our campus, if you get a merit scholarship it can be renewable for us to four years, but you have to meet certain criteria. However, there are other types of aid that may not be renewable.
- The total you see is actually what you pay.
When researching colleges, remember two things: The tuition price that is listed in the college’s or university’s materials or website may not be what you’ll pay because of financial aid you’ll get. For example, on our campus, 94 percent of students receive some form of financial aid. Also, there are other costs besides tuition, room and board, such as assorted fees, textbooks and other miscellaneous needs.
- The total cost will remain the same until you graduate.
Most likely, tuition will increase. Maybe not every year, but mostly likely at least a couple of times before you graduate.
- You can’t negotiate.
It doesn’t hurt to try, particularly if there has been a drastic change to your family’s financial situation.
Do you have any financial aid assumptions to share? If so, just let us know.