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Apr 30, 2017 10:33 AM EDT

Understanding Your Award: Why College Financial Aid Seems Smaller Than Expected [VIDEO]

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Getting ready and saving up for college is pretty daunting, considering the constantly rising costs of higher education. What makes it more confusing for both students and families is the sticker price for both private and public schools, and they normally would not be able to arrive to the precise amount of how much they will have to pay until they get the financial aid award letter from the college they applied to.

The good thing is that students do not really have to pay for the exact sticker price. For example, for private colleges with a sticker price of $45,370, the only amount that students will have to pay for is $26,080, according to College Board. And this variance is simply because of financial aids.

What happens is that the colleges offer an amount for financial aids based on the expected family contribution because the gap is going to be filled in by the financial aid. However, CNN Money reported that some families are still falling short of the amount that they are supposed to be paying for to cover for the entire costs because of the following reasons.

They had more income than they thought

The family's income influences the amount of the financial aid that they get from the college. This means that the higher the income of the family, the smaller the financial aid will be.

The applicant has an outside scholarship

If the applicant has outside scholarships, it can possibly reduce the amount of financial aid they will receive. The best thing to do is for the students to check how their chosen school will treat an outside scholarship.

The college failed to consider other debts or expenses

Students must never forget to highlight special financial circumstances in their formal appeal to the college so that the financial aid grant may be increased.

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