...from GuidedPath Edge Guru

Choosing the best financial aid offer

When looking at financial aid awards from the schools you’ve been admitted to, one offer may appear better than others.  But is it really?  How do you know? 

Once you’ve entered your financial aid offers into GuidedPath (see last week’s Guru blog) you can compare awards.  Which of your college offers adds up to a 5star Award rating?  Follow these steps to compare offers from up to 4 colleges at a time. 


  1. Log into your GuidedPath account. 
  2. Click on Decisions in top blue menu bar.  Find drop down link for Cost Comparisons. 
  3. Select up to 4 colleges with awards you want to compare. 

Comparison Questions 

Look over your cost comparison charts on GuidedPath.  Check out the following line items for each college on your list: 

  • Award Rating:  What is the star rating?  5 stars is best. 3-5 stars is a good award. 
  • Percent of need met:  Is the school meeting more than 50% of your need? 
  • Average NeedBased Award Does your award match or exceed the average needbased financial aid package?  If not, ask the college why your award is less than their average. 
  • “Gift” aid offered:  Look at the Total Grants and Total Scholarships awarded.  This is money you don’t have to pay back.  Which school is offering you the most in these two categories combined? 
  • Student Loans offered:  The loan limit for Direct Loans for a dependent freshman is $5500.  Are you being offered this amount between subsidized and unsubsidized loans? 
  • Unmet Need (Gap):  Do you have need?  Is there unmet need?  How much?  If you have unmet need, contact the college using to ask if more financial aid is available. 
  • Four/Six Year Outlook:  Which college will cost you more if you take 4 years to graduate?  6 years to graduate? 

Take Action
By comparing financial aid awards side by side, you will see which colleges have given you the best offers.  This is important to consider as you finalize your college choice for the fall. 

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