A. The college financial-aid award letter usually follows the college acceptance letter, but there are a few common pitfalls parents should try to avoid when reading the letter:
a. First Year Only
The letter you receive is for the first year only, be careful that some colleges front-load scholarships or grants so the financial picture looks attractive for the first year. Each year a new financial-aid aware letter will arrive and the numbers might be different from the first year's figures.
b. Parent Plus Loans
The financial-aid letter might include parent Plus loan offers, be careful it's different from the regular student loans as parental borrowers must pay monthly payments right away and Plus loan carry high interest rate and fee.
c. Net Cost vs. Net Price
Net Cost is the cost after the entire financial-aid package numbers, including loans which is something you have to pay back later; Net Price is a more realistic number if you are looking for your trust college cost - it is your total Cost of Attendance minus free money such as grants, scholarships, and other aids you don't have to pay back!