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How many times have you looked at your financial aid award letter and wondered, “What am I reading?”

If your answer is, “too many to count,” you’re not alone. The terminology around financial aid can be so confusing. Fortunately, we’re here to help you. Today,  we're going to unravel the mysteries of the Stafford Loan.

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One of the most important parts of choosing a college is figuring out the price tag.

As you've probably realized by now, that's not just a simple tuition number. Adding up costs and subtracting your financial aid offerings are all part of the equation.

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You may have thought your financial aid award letter would answer one burning question: how much does this school cost? But, as you may have noticed, many schools don’t include the cost of tuition in financial aid award letters. 

On top of that, your financial aid allocations can be ... confusing. Can you imagine buying anything else in life without knowing the price, or what kind of discount you might be receiving? Probably not. 

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Can't decipher the award letter from your school's financial aid office? Here are some of the most commonly used abbreviations and what they stand for.

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As a former high school counselor, I can tell you how emotional springtime can be for parents of seniors. If that’s you, know that it’s not uncommon to experience pride, excitement, fear, panic, and utter confusion on a daily basis.

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Did you get your financial aid award letter yet? Was it good news or bad news?

For some lucky families, the search for college funding ends here. However, you may find that — like many others all across the country — there's a gap between what you've been offered in aid and how much is going to be due on your final bill.

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Best Banks for Private Student Loans in 2017. Get Your Rate.
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