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Negotiate for better scholarships

barbmazbarbmaz Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
edited January 2008 in Parents Forum
I tried to post this earlier, but it didn't show up. How do you negotiate for a better scholarship? I am told it is possible, but have no idea how to go about it. If you are accepted at some competetive schools, can you use this to your advantage somehow?
Post edited by barbmaz on

Replies to: Negotiate for better scholarships

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    Im not sure what you mean by negotiate.

    If you are applying to say- two comparable schools that meet 100% of need & one school gives you a grant of $10,000 with $15,000 in loans and workstudy & the other schools package consists of a $20,000 grant with $5,000 in subsidized loans-and the first school is your first choice- you could ask if they could help you keep your loans down for the 4 years.

    Or if one schools own financial aid forms revaluate your EFC to increase it by $10,000, you could ask for clarification . Generally if you are getting different packages from similar schools, it could be that one school you fill a needed niche & at the other school it is already filled. ( both package meet 100% of need- just in different ways)
    We have double checked that the school was taking into account unusual expenses, but unless the school has made a mistake ( which does happen), it likely is not going to be adjusted.

    If you are not talking about need based aid- but merit- that would depend obviously on the school and their ability to scrape up extra money.
    Be warned however- that even without asking, some schools offer merit based awards to freshmen, that are non renewing.
    IMO, if the school is going to offer a $20,000 award freshman year- but for the next three years it will be $2,000, I want to know up front.
  • nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Agree w/ emeraldk above.

    Also, there are a number of recent threads on this topic.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,884 Super Moderator
    1. You do not "negotiate" for a better offer. you request an appeal of your financial aid and you present your situation.

    related thread

  • cj_svu6cj_svu6 Registered User Posts: 359 Member
    I know my cousin was able to have her merit scholarships increased, but I'm not exactly sure how she did it. She was accepted to a few top schools and a few strong schools and almost all of them offered her some sort of scholarship. I think what she did was go back and forth between the schools to let them know that she was accepted at another school and the other school was offering her x amount, but they were only offering x amount, etc. She had some of her offers go up by a couple thousand dollars.
  • nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    See post #2 re: the difference b/w merit awards (scholarships) and need-based finaid (grants/loans).
  • collegeforkatiecollegeforkatie Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I found this out while attending graduate school. My job was to grad papers, monitor tests, to make sure no one was cheating, and other light work that my professors came up with. I was paid monthly and that was a part of my financial aid package.

    I found myself running short on funds during the summer of my graduate work, so I wrote a letter to the Dean of the Graduate School explaining my situation and to ask for help. The net result was that I got the money I needed. I don't view this as any great trick. I think anyone who can write a good letter and who doesn't mind dressing neatly when called upon to justify their needs in person, can do this.

    I believe this sort of thing happens just about every semester, somewhere. Anyone can step up and ask for help, and if you are in good standing with the school, meaning "B" or better, you can get money from the Chairman of the Department of your major. Just ask.
  • mikemacmikemac Registered User Posts: 9,578 Senior Member
    sybbie makes a very important point. Never, ever, use the word "negotiate" when talking with financial aid offices. Take it out of your vocabulary. Of course that is exactly what you're doing, and if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... But they are very sensitive to being seen as an ordinary business trying to maximize its profits, or to acknowledging the savy consumer can get a better deal.

    So when dealing with Financial Aid offices you are trying to appeal your award decision and show them information they may have overlooked. As a practical matter the best way to do that is show them an offer from a competitor and ask if they can make a similar evaluation -- but remember, it's not negotiating.
  • barbmazbarbmaz Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Thank you for all the good info and advice!
  • pumpkin65pumpkin65 Registered User Posts: 361 Member
    I will never forget the day I heard one of my co-workers talk to someone at a well regarded NC LAC regarding his son's scholarship offer there. The boy had been invited down to the school as a finalist for an excellent merit scholarship, and did not win the scholarship. He was instead offered a much smaller merit amount. My co-worker made an impassioned plea over the phone, talked at length to the representative about his truly wonderful son, how the college was the boy's dream school; he nearly cried on the phone with this person. No mention was made of other scholarship offers, which I know this boy had. It was not a negotiation.

    It worked. He was made a much larger offer, and attended the college as a result.

    It taught me a lot about advocating for your child when it is really warranted. It was done in a nice way. There was clearly emotion involved, but it was not negative at all. I guess it also goes to show you that some colleges can find money if they want to.
  • proudamerican007proudamerican007 - Posts: 73 Junior Member
    If they want your child, offer can be increased substantially. We have received a very nice aid from all HYP but H aid was best in terms of all the $$$$$$ given
  • foolishpleasurefoolishpleasure Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    I too have a friend who successfully bumped up his D's finaid (not scholarship) award by $2K "just for the asking." He made his pitch to all 7 schools that had accepted his D and only one increased the award. He quoted offers from other schools and was told different institution calculate ned differently; also, more compet schools were not interested in meeting offers of less compet schools. His D did not attend sch that increased the award; she opted for more compet sch offering slightly less finaid pkg.

    In all other cases of which I have personal knowl, the awards increased were increase b/c the parents demonstrated addit need (most often unreimbursed med expenses).

    As for scholarships, I believe either Northeastmom or Northstarmon recently posted that the result of her attemt to get S's scholarship increase resulted in an increase in not only the $$ but the gpa required to keep the award - - a less attractive package overall, in her view. The increas in $$ wasn't worth risking the award by maintaining the higher gpa.
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