Webinar: It's Time! Comparing Financial Aid Award Letters and Making the Best Decision for You

Watch the presentation and download resources

Congratulations — acceptance letters and financial aid award letters are in your hands. But now what? How do you keep cost in perspective when making a decision? This on-demand webinar, recorded April 3, 2013, will provide you with the information and tools needed to analyze your award letters and to understand the financial impact each might have.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Understand the components of an award letter.
  • Assess an award letter, including a review of three to four real award offers.
  • Use and interpret results of the BigFuture Compare Your Aid Awards tool.
  • Put cost in perspective with other key factors of the college (such as academic programs and campus life) so you can make the best decision for you.

Presenter: Myra Baas Smith, Executive Director, Financial Aid Services, College Board; former Director of Student Financial Aid, Yale University and Smith College

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Webinar resources

Comparing Financial Aid Award Letters: PowerPoint presentation

Get the PDF version of the slide show presented in the webinar.
Download presentation (.pdf/695KB)


Sample Financial Aid Award Letters

View these examples of different types of award letters, which are reviewed in the webinar.
Download examples (.pdf/1.4MB)


Questions to Ask About Your Financial Aid Award

This handout lists questions to ask the financial aid office about the components of your award, which may include grants and scholarships, loans and work-study aid.
Download handout (.pdf/200KB)


Financial Aid Timeline: Next Steps, May–October

This timeline spells out what to do from spring of high school senior year through fall of freshman year in college.
Download timeline (.pdf/167KB)


How Much Will You Have to Write the Check For?

Use this worksheet to compare financial aid packages and determine how much money you'll need for college.
Download worksheet (.pdf/267KB)


College Loan Reference Chart

This chart shows the interest rates, fees and other attributes of the five types of college loans, making it easy to compare.
Download chart (.pdf/337KB)

Visit StudentLoans.gov for more information about federal loans.