What is the Average Financial Aid Package for First Year Students?

If you cannot reasonably afford to pay for all of your tuition out-of-pocket, you may be interested in learning about the average financial aid package for first year students attending accredited colleges and universities. Statistics show that, at the average school, about 70 percent or more of the student population receives some type of financial assistance. This assistance is offered at the federal, state and sometimes institutional level, to students who can demonstrate a financial need or who can show excellent academic performance. Every student’s financial aid package as a freshmen attending school will vary, but knowing how much a majority of students receive can help you budget. Read on, and learn about averages as well as the factors that can affect your offer.

Average Financial Aid Awards Vary By School

Some schools offer much larger financial aide packages than others, just like some schools charge much higher tuition rates than others. Taking an average of the financial aid package totals that are received by freshmen student can be difficult because the cost of attending a community school is much lower than the cost associated with attending a university. At some schools, the average financial aide package for families with need is $28,448, and at other schools the average is much lower. At schools where only Federal aide is offered, the average package is $13,218 per student. While this sounds like a dramatic difference, you have to consider the dramatic difference in cost of attendance.

Factors That May Affect How Much Financial Aide You Are Offered

You have to consider several different factors when you are applying to a school, but the cost of attending the school is a big factor to consider. When you are comparing the cost to attend school, you need to know how much financial aide you are eligible for as a freshmen so that you can accept an admissions offer that will not bury you in debt. Some schools have very different reputations when it comes to financial generosity. These schools are willing to extend a financial aide package that meets 100 percent of financial aid and does not include loans.

Be aware that the most generous schools are also the most elite. This means you need an excellent student history and perhaps even connections. While you may not get into a school that meets 100 percent of need, you may be able to gain acceptance at a school that meets 60 to 85 percent of need. This will qualify you for a larger aide package than some public schools who only offer federal aide and other loans. Your income, your family’s income and even your academic record can all come into play when calculating your freshmen package.

You need to know just how much aide is available to you so that you can budget how much your student career will cost you. Be sure that you do not consider a loan part of your aide package. If you must take out loans, compare all of your options so that you can keep your debt ratio down. First year students may not get as much aide as upper class men, but there is still aide out there. Check out the average financial aid package for first year students at the school you would like to attend and do more planning.