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Denied Financial Aid

PrephopefulPrephopeful Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited March 2012 in Prep School Parents
I was accepted to Both Pomfret School and Lawrence Academy. They said although I was accepted they're unable to offer me financial aid. I won't be able to go there without FA. Is there any way around this? Would they be willing to negotiate? I'm open to suggestions on how to go about this.
Post edited by Prephopeful on

Replies to: Denied Financial Aid

  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,304 Senior Member
    It sounds like you were put on the financial aid waitlist - which means that if someone else turns down an offer and money becomes available, you might have a chance of getting some. It's a long shot, but it's still possible. People do turn down offers, and money does come back - it's just that you're not the only one waiting for it.

    Assuming you are on the financial aid waitlist, what you need to do is go back to both schools and tell each one how much you love that school and would love the opportunity to attend if money becomes available. Don't tell them you were denied anywhere else or waitlisted anywhere else, and don't tell Pomfret about Lawrence (and vice versa). Just tell each school that you want to attend and to please consider you if money becomes available.

    Money could become available anytime from next week until the end of August. Most likely, you wouldn't hear anything before mid-April . . . but it's always possible that someone will drop out during the summer, too. So, stay in touch with each school. Contact the school immediately and tell it you're interested, and then stay in touch to let the school know of your continuing interest - perhaps once a month or so?

    And when you talk to the schools, don't say how desperate you are - just say how much you love the school and how eager you are for an opportunity to attend.

    I'm sorry you've had such disappointing news. This was a rough year for a lot of CC applicants and their families . . . but hang in there and hope for the best!!!
  • mhmmmhmm Registered User Posts: 1,192 Senior Member
    Im not actually sure that denied financial aid is quite the same as FA waitlist. I think the FA waitlists are very clear in their wording. Denying FA is a way for the school to say, well we think you can stretch your budget and eke out the tuition. FA waitlist says, we recognize your need for assistance but right now we are interested in giving aid to bobby cuz he plays the tuba while blowing bubbles, if he isnt interested in us, we'll give the $ to you.
    But - by all means go ahead and try to negotiate, its all fluid at tis point.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,304 Senior Member
    Unfortunately, mhmm may be right. I hadn't realized until this evening (when I actually saw such a letter for myself!) that there actually is such a thing as being accepted, but completely denied financial aid!

    If that's the case for you, Prephopeful, the first thing I'd do is call the schools and find out if you can be added to the FA waitlist.

    Also, it's important to figure out if they decided you qualified for aid, or did not qualify. If they think you did not qualify, and you think you do, then you have some work to do to figure out what went wrong. You'd start by looking at your family's "expected financial contribution" on the PFS (Parent Financial Statement) Family Report. If you haven't seen this yet, it's on the same website, and in the same place, where your family filled out their financial aid information. Then, you compare that "expected financial contribution" with what your family can really pay. If there's a huge difference, then you need to have your parents go over the Family Report carefully, and see if there are any mistakes. Who knows, maybe they accidentally wrote that they have $300,000 income when they only have $30,000!

    Anyway, it looks like there are a lot more variables than I realized at first - are you waitlisted or denied FA? And did they determine you qualified or didn't qualify for FA? If you figure these things out, we can probably give you better advice.
  • swissbritswissbrit Registered User Posts: 1,026 Senior Member
    The same thing happened to me at Loomis. They said that I didn't qualify. My parents think I do. It's an annoying situation, we're going to try and work it out, though.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,304 Senior Member
    It's an annoying situation

    "Annoying"? Oh, goodness, swissbrit, that isn't the word I'd use!
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    I agree with looking at the SSS to see if there were any typos or mistakes. If they see late model cars, vacations, lots of home equity (although many schools ignore the latter) or even an extra zero in an income figure that shouldn't have been there it may have triggered a negative response.
  • crar24crar24 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    The system is far from perfect but usually being denied FA is a different story from being on a FA waitlist, or even being rejected or waitlisted BECAUSE you need FA. Parents fill out the elaborate forms and submit their tax returns and this is all analyzed. If two schools both denied you aid, chances are high you won't convince them otherwise unless there is a mistake in the original forms (which should have been foreseen with the SSS family report which shows expected contribution). Not being able to pay is different from not wanting to pay. Not to be too harsh, but the reality is that financial aid is not a right.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,304 Senior Member
    Not being able to pay is different from not wanting to pay.

    Appreciate your input, crar24, but there's nothing in the OP's post to suggest this is the case. And, as the parent of an applicant who was just denied FA, I can guarantee you it had nothing to do with whether or not he qualified for FA! (If you have doubts, I'd be happy to PM you the details.)
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    I'm hearing from a lot of parents in that position. It's stunning and heartbreaking. Remember - full pay means approx. $45K-50K per year after you pay airfare, books, technology fees, dorm activity fees, allowance, incidentals and parent travel to visit the school. There's the cost to purchase or rent an instrument, sports equipment, etc. Our D's school sent students to Europe and the unbudgeted expense was $2,400 plus the cost of a passport renewal (add $125).

    So I KNOW some of the CC parents getting acceptances but no FA can't pay or borrow that much money. In some cases it's 100% of their annual gross income.

    Which is why I don't know why some schools do that. How cruel to send a letter of acceptance to a kid who becomes elated, and a separate FA letter to the parents that pretty leaves it up to them to squash their kid's dream? One school website says that due to the economy, most banks have gotten out of the private loan business. So what are parents without funds supposed to do? Pole dance for tips?

    I wonder if Bravo TV wants to do real housewives (and husbands) of Boarding School. I hear the pay isn't great but it would certainly cover a year of tuition. :-0
  • PrephopefulPrephopeful Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    In response to crar24: my family contribution from SSS said I could contribute 13,000 to the school. Which would mean I'm still 35,000+ short.
  • polodollypolodolly Registered User Posts: 401 Member
    I unfortunately do not have any advice to offer but I can tell you that you're not alone. I definately share your sentiments!
  • crar24crar24 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    prephopeful -- to me that is strange and you should revert back to the AO then if you are 35k short. Lots of people are astounded when they don't get FA but they don't realize that they are not qualified. If the PFS said your family could contribute 13k only then there is a real shortfall and the first step is to ask the school what they recommend to bridge that gap. They may have more info on whether or not some of the FA that gets "returned" (kids who get and don't go) and whether you would be eligible for that. They also may have some loan programs which you may not know of or some other scholarship monies. It is definitely worth asking if you would go there but for the lack of funds.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,304 Senior Member
    crar24 - Once again, I appreciate your input, but it strikes me that you have limited familiarity with this situation. A family that can barely scrape together a small part of the tuition is not going to qualify for a $160,000 loan to cover the balance! (We are talking about four years of high school, after all.) And scholarships? Believe me, if they were readily available, people on this forum would have long since suggested them!

    What really happens when kids are denied (or waitlisted for) financial aid is that maybe 20 or 25 percent of the families find another way to pay for the tuition - often a rich relative who was lurking in the background the entire time. The rest are just out of luck! The schools may be able to accommodate a few after other FA candidates turn down their offers and decide to go elsewhere . . . but it's really only a few. At least one school has told FA applicants that they have perhaps a one percent chance of getting off the FA waitlist. Those are not promising odds.

    This happens to a lot of otherwise highly qualified candidates. Trust me, if the schools knew a way for students to "bridge the gap," they'd be the first to tell us. They don't want to turn students away . . . but the financial realities are what they are.
  • D'yer MakerD'yer Maker Registered User Posts: 3,421 Senior Member
    How cruel to send a letter of acceptance to a kid who becomes elated, and a separate FA letter to the parents that pretty leaves it up to them to squash their kid's dream?

    You hit the nail on the head. It's painful as a parent to see that your kid did what s/he had to do, is possessed of the gifts s/he needs to possess, and s/he's on the cusp of reaching something that s/he's been anticipating for months (perhaps longer) only to have an admission committee throw it back at YOU, the parent, and basically say that your income is what's holding your child back. And it's because you make too much...and, paradoxically, at the same time you earn too little to make it happen. I'm not saying that the schools are obligated to finance every kid's high school education...but it seems almost perverse for them to pin the blame for an abortive foray into boarding schools on the parents for being low-achievers (economically-speaking). Ow.
  • classicalmamaclassicalmama Registered User Posts: 2,261 Senior Member
    Good point D'yer. To be fair, both schools do state up front that that is a possible outcome; I'd prepare for my kid for it ("Look you have to get in AND qualify for aid--it's a long shot") or not apply at all.

    The main problem here, as I see it, is that OP has applied to two schools with limited FA potential. When we were looking at schools, we didn't limit ourselves only to schools with huge FA resources, but we didn't bother with schools like Lawrence and Pomfret; reading between the lines, their FA commitment is, well, not very promising. Unless the school was actively recuiting my kid, I wouldn't waste the application dollars.

    Compare the language on those pages to Holderness's FA page, and you'll see what I mean; similar financial aid resources there, but a clearer commitment to meeting the financial needs of students that will bring something extra to the school (beyond athletics). However, that's a key piece too; if you need a lot of FA, look for schools where you're not only a good fit, but also someone whom the school would see as above and beyond the typical candidate.

    It's tough--my sympathy goes out to kids and parents in this situation.
This discussion has been closed.