Explainer~What is Preferential Financial Aid?

2 little kids reading about preferential financial aid

What does it mean?

Preferential financial aid describes a financial aid package that indicates the college really wants the students to attend. These packages provide a combination of financial aid that minimizes self-help aid such as loans and while maximizing the free money from grants and scholarships.

What does it have to do with how much you’ll have pay for college?

Essentially, financial aid has become a recruiting tool for many colleges. The students colleges really want to attend are more likely to receive preferential financial aid packages. These are generally in the top quarter of the recruited class or have other characteristics the school desires. Those with qualifications that are in the bottom half of the admissions class are likely to receive financial aid packages more weighted to loans and possibly no free money at all. In other words, the colleges show their preference for candidates through the type of financial aid awarded.

Students can significantly cut the cost of college by applying to colleges that are likely to offer them preferred packages. These are colleges that provide merit aid which excludes the most competitive colleges in the country. They don’t need to offer preferential packages since they generally have their choice any students they want.

Where to learn more

The Real Deal on Financial Aid

Financial Aid Packaging Philosophies

What is financial aid preferential packaging?


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