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The 2024-25 FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be available in December 2023.

Reading financial aid award letters can be exciting—and confusing.

There’s a lot of information in each letter, but what’s missing is: How much will I actually pay out of pocket to attend this school, and is this school the best financial option I have?

To understand your award letter, you first have to understand a few components, including grants and scholarships, loans, and work-study offers. You can use online tools, like this financial aid award letter comparison tool, to see how each offer stacks up. Another thing many students don’t know is that you can speak with the financial aid office if you have questions or need clarification. For example, if your financial circumstances have changed, or if you received a larger package elsewhere, you might be able to receive an amended offer.

Before financial aid award letters arrive, brush up on your knowledge with this quiz. The more you know, the more you can make an informed decision for your future—and your wallet.

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