Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Comparing Financial Aid Offers

Packages offered by schools aren't always easy to assess. Here are some ground rules for what's most valuable

You've been accepted by a bunch of good colleges, and the financial aid offers from the schools are flowing in. How do you compare them?

It's not necessarily easy—especially if this is your first exposure to the college years. Experts warn that it's common to get confused about which combinations of loans, scholarships, grants, or work-study are best. "We're seeing a sustained high level of confusion, because there are always new entrants who are suddenly faced with vocabulary they never learned when studying for the SAT," says Robert Shireman, director of the Project on Student Debt.