Once all the bargaining has come to an end, you’ll have
to make a decision. All those years of hard work and study have
now come to this. Which college will you choose? Your decision will
hinge on far more than which school offers you the most money.
The Best Deal
Figuring out the best deal might seem like a relatively
straightforward task: Look at overall college costs and see which
school’s financial aid award will leave you with the lowest amount
of debt upon graduation. The best financial aid awards have a high
percentage of gift aid and offer institutional scholarships/grants
that you can easily renew. Though rare, some colleges do entice
students to enroll by offering one-year-only scholarships that leave
students with higher-than-anticipated costs over the course of four
years. Make sure you ask which scholarships you’ve received are
renewable and what the criteria are for keeping them.
The Best Decision
Ultimately, you need to choose a college that meets your
overall goals. It makes little sense to accept a great financial
aid award if the college doesn’t offer the classes you want to take.
Similarly, you might think the prestige of attending a certain college
is an investment worth the added costs of a lesser financial aid
package. You should also consider nonfinancial factors like the
college’s size and location.