Comparing School Costs

Comparing School Costs

Once you have decided which school to attend and the financial aid package to accept, follow the instructions in the award letter and return it (or complete it online) before the deadline.

Deciding Among Offers from Multiple Schools

If you have been accepted to more than one school, review each award letter you've been sent and compare the types and amount of financial aid being offered by each school. Here are some things you should consider:

  • Compare cost of attendance (COA) for each of the schools. If one school has significantly higher costs for either the tuition or living expenses, it could mean you will need to borrow more. Even if you are offered the same or more in scholarships, be sure to calculate the out-of-pocket cost for each.
  • Review the terms of any scholarships offered. Is it renewable? Are there contingencies on the renewal such as maintaining a high GPA, demonstrating similar financial need in subsequent years? Will meeting any criteria be of concern?
  • Most financial aid award packages will include some student loans. Which loan programs are offered? What are the interest rates? Are the rates variable or fixed? What fees are assessed? What repayment options are available, including loan forgiveness?

Remember that cost is just one factor to consider when choosing a graduate or professional school. Other factors include, but are not limited to: accreditation, admission criteria, class size, degrees offered, diversity, student/faculty ratio, location and library resources. Many things go into determining which school is the right fit for you.

Once you’ve decided which school you will attend, and what types of financial aid, including loans, you’d like to accept, follow the instructions in your award letter. And be sure to pay careful attention to any deadlines.