Understanding your financial aid award letter

The financial aid award letters to perspective students can also be a bit confusing for students and parents trying to come up with the true costs of a school. Some are written in a manner that suggests the student is getting a great deal by blurring the line between grants and loans or not making clear how much the student may have to pay or borrow.
When reading your award letter, you might get the impression that you would owe nothing and might actually walk away with money. Read the calculations carefully, as an award letter might presume grants, student loans and parent loans figured in towards covering your estimated cost of tuition. Better yet, you should call the school’s Financial Aid department and have them walk you through what are truly grants or loans and what your non-loan tuition expense will be.
If you need to take out student loans, max out on the federal loans available.If you still need to bridge the gap, shop around for private student loans to get the best rate and terms.Also, once you graduate, don’t forget to consolidate your federal student loans and private student loan consolidations have also become quite popular and beneficial as well.