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4. Getting your heart set on one place before the financial-aid offer. Several years ago, New York University, one of the most expensive institutions in the country, called several thousand prospective students who were accepted after they got their financial-aid offers. They focused on students who had a big gap between what NYU offered in aid and what the family was expected to pay. NYU essentially wanted to encourage the students to look elsewhere, because while the university might be a good academic fit, it wasn’t a good financial fit.
The calls had almost no impact on a student’s decision to enroll, and after a few years, NYU ended the outreach. Most parents didn’t want to disappoint their children. Instead of telling them to go to a less-expensive school, they encouraged their sons or daughters to take out bigger loans, or the parents took out loans themselves to help subsidize the degree