Question: How Do You Decode A Financial Aid Award Letter?

Oct 30, 2016
Paying for College, Lesson Idea, Student Loans, Current Events, NGPF Fellows

Hat tip to NGPF Fellow Charles Kafoglis for pointing to this resource at (and thanks to my friend Kim Clark for producing it!). This site decodes financial aid award letters from six colleges and grades each one based on their level of transparency. Here is an example on how they decoded one of these letters:


Note that while these letters date back to 2007 sadly, despite best efforts, these award letters are still often are confusing, full of jargon, and not standardized across colleges.


This will be a good resource to share with your students before embarking on NGPF’s latest new product, The Fine Print, which includes several Award Letters for your students to analyze!

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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