Negotiating a better financial aid package
Once you have received a financial aid offer from your school of choice, you should consider trying to negotiate a better deal. Some schools have a flexible appeals process, and hate to lose out on a top student just because of financial reasons. This will not always work, but under the right circumstances, it is quite possible to improve the financial aid offer.
Of course, to win an appeal of your financial aid package, you will need to present a strong case. Schools are not likely to increase your aid unless you can demonstrate that the current offer is simply inadequate and that without more money you will not be able to afford the school. At this point, some parents are tempted to exaggerate their financial difficulties in order to gain sympathy. Keep in mind, that the school will likely require verification of everything you claim, so be honest.
What circumstances may be legitimate grounds for an appeal of your offer? Here are a few examples:
● Your financial situation has changed since you first applied. (Such as loss of job, divorce, or some other hardship.)
● Your original financial aid application was incomplete and missing vital information.
● You believe that the school has misjudged your financial resources.
● Another school (preferably of comparable reputation) has made you a much more generous offer. Don’t bluff on this one. They will ask for verification.
If any of the above is true, the school will almost certainly give serious consideration to your request. Whether or not they decide in your favor will depend on a number of factors.
The best chances, as always, lie with the students with the top academic records. Schools know these students have other offers, and the unspoken threat that you may enroll elsewhere is a powerful negotiating tool on your side.