ALEXANDRIA, VA – MARCH 28: Vikaya Powell, 17, right, confers with Patricia Braun, College and Career Specialist, at T. C. Willams High School career center, Friday March 28, 2014. Vikaya and other seniors are hoping scholarships will fill in the gap between their financial aid awards and what they can actually afford to pay, which is not much. They have gotten a lot of help from counselors at school. (photo by Dayna Smith/for the Washington Post).

Acceptance letters are rolling in and thousands of families are wrestling with the decision of where they can afford to send their kids. But comparing the cost of one college to another can be difficult.

There is a lot of variation in the financial aid award letters schools use to inform students of the grants, scholarships and loans available to them. We got a hold of a few letters and highlighted key terms that can help families understand exactly how much money they have to pay.

Check Out Our Interactive Award Letters