If you filled out the FAFSA form by the end of December of your senior year, you may find that starting around March, you’ll start to get acceptances and financial aid packages from different colleges offering you discounts, scholarships, grants, and other kinds of “free money.” These are discounts off the total prices posted on their websites.Why would a college or university make offers like these? For one, the school may not have filled its classes with students who can pay the full amount, so it’s having a ‘sale’ on the remaining open spots. Or, maybe you deserve a little credit. Perhaps the school particularly wants you to attend – because you have better grades and scores than their average applicant, or you have an unusual skill or talent, or because you make the campus more diverse—ethnically or geographically. However, it may come as a surprise to you to learn that some of the financial aid you’re being offered includes loans. That’s not free money. That’s money you need to pay back. So be sure to read over your offers carefully, so you can compare them accurately.