What does your financial aid award really mean?

This year’s applicants could file their FAFSAs on October 1—a full three months earlier than in the past. And while financial aid award letters have traditionally been sent out in mid-March, one of the upshots of the earlier FAFSA filing date is that as admissions decisions are now being released, half to two-thirds of colleges are also including their financial aid decisions, according to estimates by financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz (the full article is here).

So this seemed like the right time to share a past post on how to interpret your financial aid award letters. Mine is the version for my fellow non-number crunchers, but if you’d like to get a far more detailed (and numerically complex) explanation, here is Kantrowitz’s How to Read Financial Aid Award Letters.