New tool helps you compare financial aid offers

You’ve gotten the college acceptance letters, and their accompanying financial aid offers. But how do you really decipher how much college will really cost you? More than 1.5 million students and their families are wrestling with these issues, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to help. The bureau just announced a tool that can help you evaluate your options. From the CFPB press release:

The beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper has more than 7,500 schools and institutions in its database, including vocational schools and community, state, and private colleges. It draws information from publicly available data provided by government statistical agencies. With the prototype, students and their families can compare the following across multiple financial aid offers:

·         Estimated monthly student loan payment after graduation;

·         Grant and scholarship offers;

·         School-specific metrics such as graduation, retention, and federal student loan default rates; and

·         Estimated debt level at graduation in relationship to the average starting salary.

The Financial Aid Comparison Shopper also includes a “Military Benefit Calculator” that can estimate education benefits for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. The calculator includes military tuition assistance and Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

You’ll find a link to the cost comparison tool here. Take a look, run some numbers and give the CFPB your feedback.