by Jeanne Mahan, former financial aid officer at Tufts University
It’s April and your student has (hopefully!) received financial aid offers from the schools to which they were accepted. While some schools still send these via the postal service, many others will notify your student via email that the information is available on their student portal, and still others will make it your student’s responsibility to check the portal regularly to find this information. As you’ve probably noticed, there is no standardization to these offer letters, which causes confusion. Are you comparing apples to apples, or apples to bananas, or bananas to oranges? If I had a magic wand, one of the first improvements I’d make is standardizing financial aid award letters so they’d be easier to compare.