As some colleges are struggling, there may be an opportunity to provide more help. Here’s how to negotiate
Stony Brook, NY First day of Fall 2020 semester at Stony Brook University.
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Some of the most selective colleges and universities are seeing an increase in freshmen applications this fall. Still other schools are fighting.
This could be an opportunity for families to try to get more money on tuition.
“We could see a year similar to last year when families have more purchasing power for consumers and more leverage over these smaller, less selective, and lesser-known schools,” said Shannon Vasconcelos, who works with freshmen and their families as Director of College Finance at Bright Horizons College Coach. She is also the former assistant director of financial aid at Tufts University.
“Schools really depend on tuition,” she said.
The grant offices are very well prepared for a big year of grant applications.
Director of College Finance at Bright Horizons College Coach
According to the Common Application, the most widely used college application, college applications have increased 10% this year. However, these more selective public and private schools saw a 17% increase.
However, there was a general decline among small institutions, with the exception of the more selective private ones. Applications to public schools decreased by 3.76% and 4.71%, respectively, in both the more and less selective categories, and applications to private, less selective universities decreased by 1.28%.
“Colleges and universities are businesses,” said certified financial planner Lawrence Sprung, president of Hauppauge, Mitlin Financial in New York. “They are very well-run, well-oiled machines.
“Like everything else, there are options.”
Jump is currently going through the process with his 17 year old son. The couple plan to negotiate a better financial package once their son receives the third and final letter of approval he is hoping for.
However, there are different tactics for getting more money, depending on whether it is needs-based financial support or performance-based scholarship money.
Ask for more financial support
Financial aid decisions for the Incoming Freshman class are based on 2019 income levels, so if your family’s finances were affected during the pandemic or your financial situation has otherwise changed, you can apply for more money.
Vasconcelos said that common reasons are:
- A job loss.
- A hit on your savings since you filled out the application.
- High medical expenses.
- Support for elderly relatives or family members overseas.
- Additional medical or care costs for a child with special needs.
- Private lessons for a younger sibling.
- Capital gains from stocks in 2019 that were not repeated.
- You will no longer receive the child benefit that you received in 2019.
- Parents’ student loan debt.
To file your complaint, visit the school’s website and fill out an official complaint form. If there isn’t a form, email the school’s grant office. Explain the changed circumstances and ask for additional help.
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You must include documents to support your request, e.g. B. a notice of termination or a vacation letter, a large medical bill, your W2 or updated bank statements.
“The grant offices are very well prepared for a big year of grant applications,” said Vasconcelos.
Make sure you are already establishing a relationship with the schools’ admissions offices while you wait for your admissions certificates and before starting negotiations, Sprung advised.
“Students should be in constant contact with the admissions advisors at their top schools to consistently show their interest,” he said.
If you would like to request more scholarship money, please contact the admissions office with a personalized message.
Ideally, you have an offer from another school that you can use as leverage. If so, make sure your documentation includes documentation.
“What you want to avoid is the requirement that one school match what another school has to offer,” advised Vasconcelos.
“You want to give a little boost from them, which would make a big difference to your decision,” she added. “Then the colleges are more willing to work with you.”
If there aren’t any cheaper options, it still doesn’t hurt to try. Just let them know that you are not sure your cost can fluctuate, especially given the current circumstances.
Asking whether there are other scholarships to apply for is a great way to start making a request for more money, especially if you don’t have competing offers or cheaper bargaining options, Vasconcelos said.
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