...from GuidedPath Edge Guru

Seniors – Choosing the best financial aid offer

When looking at your financial aid offers from the schools you’ve been admitted to, one package may look 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 5 star Award rating? Follow these steps to compare offers from up to 4 college at a time.


  1. Log into your GuidedPath account.
  2. Click on Decisions in top blue 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 Need Based Award: Does your award match or exceed the Average Need based 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?
  • Unmet Need (Gap): Do you have need? Is there unmet need? How much?  If you have unmet need, contact the college using First Choice Strategy to negotiate for more financial aid.
  • 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 are weighing which college to attend in the fall.