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Should I ask college for a tuition reduction now that it's is giving them to applicants on waitlist?

CTDadof2CTDadof2 86 replies14 threads Junior Member
edited May 29 in Parents Forum
My son was accepted to one of his top college choices via early decision in the Fall. No financial aid was offered. We submitted our deposit in December. This college had accepted only 2 applicants out of 18 from my son's high school the prior year so we were delighted he was accepted and were willing, and are able, to pay the full cost of attendance. Then I saw an article in the local media about how colleges are going to their wait lists to fill their classes for this Fall. The article profiled another applicant to the same college who was denied admission in two different admissions rounds, then after the COVID crisis exploded, was offered admission from the waiting list with close to half off the cost of attendance. The article further said they had offered admission to close to 300 students off the waiting list when typically they take maybe 10 or less. So I would like people's opinions on whether I should ask the college for a break off tuition. It seems to me the school should value my son as much as another student who the school valued less. Further, with the school going so deep into its waitlist, it appears the market is saying their product isn't worth as much now. Thanks.
edited May 29
12 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Should I ask college for a tuition reduction now that it's is giving them to applicants on waitlist?

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3449 replies78 threads Senior Member
    Sure. All they can say is no, right? It would greatly help your case, though, if you can demonstrate a change in your financial circumstances. Comparing your student to "a less valuable" one probably won't cut it.
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  • CottonTalesCottonTales 1504 replies22 threads Senior Member
    Is this a school that offers need based aid? If so, that student may have received need based aid and the reporter didn't ask if that was the case. An article was written years ago about my daughter, and the way it was presented, people were unaware that her full ride was need based. But it doesn't hurt to ask the school in your son's case.
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  • me29034me29034 2093 replies104 threads Senior Member
    That other student probably received half off the cost of attendance due to financial need. Newspapers don’t always get the story right. The year before my daughter graduated high school there was a story about a girl at her school being so smart that she got a full tuition scholarship to Princeton. Of course, Princeton only gives need based aid, not merit scholarships.

    It sounds like you and your son were happy with what you had until you realized that it wasn’t quite as exclusive as you thought. Did he want to go there because it was a good fit for him? If so, that hasn’t changed. If he only wanted to go there because it was hard to get in and it made him feel special, then I guess you’ve got some soul searching to do.

    I agree that you should only ask for money off if your financial situation has changed. What incentive do they have to give you anything? Is he not going to go if they say no?
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  • CTDadof2CTDadof2 86 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Thanks to everyone for their responses. To answer me29034, the fit for this school is superb, that's why he applied there ED rather than to two other far more selective schools which were on his list (and to which he never applied). This was definitely not a matter of chasing prestige. The low acceptance rate for applicants from his high school in 2019, which was much lower than prior years, was one of the reasons he sought to apply there ED. We are blessed in that our financial situation has not changed, and he will go there whether a reduction is offered or not. It will just leave a very bad taste in my mouth if nothing is done for us, because my impression is the college is throwing money at waitlisted applicants to induce them to enroll.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7399 replies34 threads Senior Member
    You stated you can afford the school so not understanding the problem here. No school is enticing families and not giving the same consideration to others. That would be more then a marketing Error. This would be a nightmare scenario for a college. Your not buying a car and the best negotiator gets a better deal.

    But... Ask. Never hurts to ask. But one of the first things they will ask is how your financial situation has changed and they will want proof. If you don't have proof then I wouldn't ask.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13628 replies32 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    You could ask, but don't expect much.

    "It will just leave a very bad taste in my mouth if nothing is done for us, because my impression is the college is throwing money at waitlisted applicants to induce them to enroll."

    There are so many variables here. Is the school need-blind? If not, your son could have gotten in in part because he is full-pay. And schools often give an advantage to those who apply ED because they can lock in applicants (and because many are full-pay). Now, this year, being uncommitted and on the WL is advantageous, but that's the risk/reward trade-off you make when you decide whether to apply ED or not. If you apply ED, you typically get a higher chance of admissions but give up the optionality of shopping around. Vice versa if you don't apply ED. This year, being able to shop around is unequivocally good because the market has changed, but it's like financial instruments in the market. Forwards vs. options. If you bought oil forwards, you would have locked in a price, and you may have thought it was a good deal at the time, but now the oil market has crashed and it suddenly doesn't seem like a such a great deal. But that doesn't mean your counterparty would be interested in letting you out of your contract just because it isn't financially good for you any more because of changes in market conditions. Different story if you're going bankrupt. Then they may be willing to renegotiate because something is better than nothing (actually, that's not how OTC forwards work, but let's ignore that for this example), but if you're not, they have little incentive to let you out of your contract.
    edited May 29
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7766 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    Is this a school that meets full need?

    edited May 29
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30405 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I would contact the school and ask. One of my kids did just that—he was not a candidate for financial aid, got a bit of merit, asked for more and got it. This was before he committed To the school , however.

    I agree that you can’t go by news stories or by rumor. I, too, have heard about Merit scholarships when they are financial aid and vice versa.

    From what I’ve been hearing—and this is partiAlly unconfirmed— is that schools are now poaching and dealing in ways they have not in the past. I understand some rules that schools have followed in the past have been deemed “unethical”, maybe illegal under some DOJ antitrust rules. The tacit agreements of the May 1 deadlines to commit to a school, not committing to multiple schools , etc are all coming under question and outright accusations. I have not been following the exact sources of this, and have no idea how this is going to shape up, but with COVID19 making the fall term unstable for colleges, there have been changes in schools’ behaviors.

    Off on a tangent here... yes, if you feel unhappy or even curious about what you have been hearing and want to discuss this with a college’s admissions office, go on ahead and do so.
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  • compmomcompmom 11786 replies81 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    I would be very curious to hear is the college did indeed offer a discount to someone on the waiting list. I cannot imagine this is true.

    I have seen so many references in the media to full rides as if they are based on merit, when in fact it is need-based aid. The media just doesn't get this kind of thing right.

    By all means check- and please let us know!


    Editing to add that another possibilty is that the family of a person on the waiting list experienced a change in circumstances due to COVID-19 and had to ask for more aid before accepting a spot off the waitlist.
    edited May 29
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10848 replies588 threads Super Moderator
    I agree with all the above. I seriously doubt that the college is just luring waitlist kids by reducing tuition for those students whether they need the money or not. Imagine the PR nightmare that would create. No college wants that kind of situation on their hands.

    I agree fully that a likely scenario is that the school didn’t meet its yield due to the change from the Covid situation and now finds that is has the FA needed to help finance students from the waitlist. But I also think it would be a smart move for the college to address the concerns the OP has expressed here. Other parents must be wondering too.
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