Apples to oranges
If trying to figure out financial awards from different colleges is like comparing apples to oranges, the Dept. of Education provides this College Financial Plan in PDF form to standardize the numbers you’ve been given.

Now that those early action decisions are coming, you may be seeing financial award letters that differ in format from one college to another, making comparing the bottom line cost of attendance (COA) hard to decipher. The U.S. Department of Education has a tool to help you compare apples to apples instead of apples to oranges. This PDF is available at

Kudos to the schools who use this format. I’ve taken the information from the PDF and made it into an editable Word document. Feel free to use:

How to Compare Financial Awards from Colleges