By now, most high school seniors should have completed the college application process and will begin receiving financial aid award letters. Seniors and their parents should compare those letters to find the one that offers the best financial aid package, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) advises.
The letter will usually show the total cost of attendance — what it costs to go to that school for one school year, including tuition, fees, room, meals, books, supplies, transportation and personal expenses.
It may also show how much the student’s family is expected to pay toward those costs, the expected family contribution (EFC). The EFC is subtracted from the total cost of attendance to get a student’s financial need. The letter will then list various sources of financial aid offered to pay for the costs not covered by the EFC. Students can accept or reject any or all of those proposed sources.
One consideration is how much of the aid being offered is in federal student loans, which will have to be paid back after a student finishes school. If the package includes federal loans and isn’t enough to pay all expenses, students may be looking at a private education loan. Comparison shopping is a must in that case.
KHEAA is the state agency that administers Kentucky’s student financial aid programs, including the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES).
To find links to other useful education websites, go to www.gotocollege.ky.gov. For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7372.