So, you've gotten into college (congrats!), filled out your FAFSA (great!) and are now staring at a financial aid award letter, wondering what to do next (uh-oh). As the May 1 deadline to accept financial aid offers approaches, TIME Moneyland spoke to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, to thwart many of the common misconceptions families have when it comes to financing a college education.

1. Loans reduce the cost of college.Student loans help families manage their cash flow by spreading out the cost of college over many years, but they do not lower the expense....

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