NerdWallet: Accepted to college? How to compare and decipher financial aid offers

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

With college acceptances in hand, now comes the hard part: understanding your financial aid offers.

These letters are notorious for being laden with jargon that differs from offer to offer, making comparison difficult. But you can learn how to interpret award letters to understand the costs and choose an affordable option.

What to expect from aid offers

Financial aid offers should include all of the federal, state and school aid you can access. That could mean free aid, such as grants, scholarships and work-study opportunities, that doesn’t need to be repaid, and unsubsidized and subsidized federal loans, which do.

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