Appealing Fin Aid Package.. any luck?

<p>Has anyone out there figured out how to glean more $$$ from a college after S or D has the acceptance letter and the financial package already in hand. Can you leverage other merit/fin aid/need?</p>

<p>I have heard of parents arranging a conversation/meeting with FAid, presenting them with the offers from other Us. Some schools are influenced by it and MAY make adjustments (IF they REALLY want the student) while other Us will disregard other offers. Part of it depends on whether they see the other schools are "comparable" or "competing" with them for the same students.</p>

<p>If the difference in amounts is huge & the schools are not considered as the same degree of selectivity or not seen as "competing" for same pool of students, you're much less likely to have the Us consider the other offers.</p>

<p>In any case, what do you have to lose if student is seriously interested in attending school X but money IS a consideration & the family wants to know whether U can come nearer to matching an attractive offer from another school student is also seriously considering attending?</p>

<p>Our S got merit aid from 3 schools & we did mention it to the school he most wanted to attend (tho did not make any demands, just told them what he had been offered). Tho they said they don't match merit aid, they did increase the merit aid they offered him to exceed the merit offers of the other two schools -- unfortunately out-of-pocket is still a lot of $$$ (but well worth it).</p>

<p>I guess by competing you mean a same tier institution within roughly the same geographical area. I know it happened to a friend's daughter (athlete) because the less generous school, at least initially, did not want to lose her to an institution within the same athletic conference. Her #1 choice matched the offer, as she had hoped, but that's athletics.
I'm curious as to how an applicant might raise the point that other colleges have made better offers without inferring he/she is attempting to start a bidding war. Has anyone met with a degree of resentment on the part of the less generous school when competing offers are mentioned?</p>

<p>I think you can think too hard about this. When s. had financial aid offers in hand, and had finished visits and had a first choice, I called the first choice financial aid office and simply told them he wanted to attend their school but had a slightly better package from his second and third choices. Would they reconsider? A school might say they wouldn't reconsider unless there was a change in a family's financial picture and if you can add something, I think that helps (say you've just learned younger s. needs braces, dad has added a costly commute, roof leaks, etc.). I was told to fax the competing offers and they would take it up in their weekly review meeting. I gathered from this that the financial aid committee met weekly the month of April to answer questions like mine. They did increase their offer and that's where he went.</p>

<p>You can make it sound like you're playing one off against another, or you can present it the way I really did see it - this is where he wants to go, it's hard for us as parents to steer him away from a school that is more affordable. They could always have said "no" and we still could have chosen to send him there. There was nothing to lose by asking. The people in financial aid are professionals and I imagine they could tell a few entertaining stories about families that are demanding or obnoxious. Remember, too, that they work with students all four years and are well aware that if a family is stretched too far, that student may not return. I honestly believe (at least where our s. is) they are trying to make it work for the student.</p>

<p>If you don't have more affordable options, you can still ask for a reconsideration. By that point the student is no longer an applicant but an accepted student and they do want to fill the class.</p>

<p>Always ask for reconsideration. Mention any previous and/or new issues that you feel are important. Some schools will negotiate. Others take the high road and do not want to negotiate but may reconsider especially if new information is available.</p>

<p>Don't worry about a bidding war or any resentment. You do not want to leave thousands of dollars on the table because you do not ask and do not try every possible approach. After not hearing back from admissions on a reconsideration request, my W called - - several times. She tried to track down specific admission and administrative officers. When that did not look like it was going to work, we made a request for help through the specific department in which my D would be doing her major. We went down to the last possible day to fax in an acceptance, but did manage to get several thousand dollars/year in merit money.</p>

<p>Schools do not like to feel that they are bidding or negotiating for students (I know that some families do go back and forth trying to get bids and top packages which could blow up in your face because there are schools that will basically say that you need to go where your money can take you). Edad is correct it stating that there is a way to ask about it, basically if they could reconsider or give you a financial review.</p>

<p>I think we were fortunate because D's school had in their financial aid award package that if you needed a financial review you could request one even if it meant sending in a package from another school . </p>

<p>While we did not submit the "best" package, we did submit the best package from one of their peers/ direct competitors which was her second choice (and was ready to walk if the money did not work out). Told them that school was D first choice but other school was the more financially feasible option for our family.</p>

<p>Even then it seems like there is some sort of heirarchy as all the previous post have mentioned; </p>

<p>schools that give only need based aid, will not "negotiate' with a merit aid package. </p>

<p>Schools may "negotiate" or consider FA packages from what they consider to be peer or direct competitor schools.</p>

<p>Even when negotiating merit vs. merit schools like to see comprable standards for awarding the merit (even then it is best to read the fine print to ensure that you are willing to live with the conditions for the money).</p>

<p>Even if you should successfully negotiate aid in the first year, before you hang up the phone, or commit to coming, you had better ask what will your aid look like in subsequet years because it takes nothing to throw a few $$ your way year one and get you in the door and have no "leverage" year 2 because your student is already in attendance.</p>

<p>Excellent point as to longevity of the award. If a premed or engineering major MUST have a 3.5 GPA, or lose his award the following year, the award might not be worth taking. I wonder if they might back off linking an award to a high and fixed GPA.. some schools give awards that depend only upon the student being in "good academic standing", which probably means a 2.5 GPA.</p>

<p>"Schools may "negotiate" or consider FA packages from what they consider to be peer or direct competitor schools."</p>

<p>In a previous post of mine (10-13-2006) about flexibility where the FA package was concerned I was told by many CC Vets that short of a medical catastrophy, natural disaster, or some other acutely severe hardship of some kind, there would be little room for negotiation within the need portion of the FA package. Yet, lefthandofdog, in the above response is, like a coworker of mine, under the impression that routine incidental expenses (braces, leaky roof, lengthy commute) may mitigate in your favor and lead to a reduced EFC. At this point I don't know what to think.</p>

<p>It is important to look at the terms of any merit award to be sure they are reasonable.</p>

<p>One of the most generous terms of renewing merit award is the one offered by my son's U--GPA of 3.0 & 17 credits/term, plus you can have up to 1 year of academic probation if terms aren't met without forfeiting the scholarship. We've had several friends who kept their scholarships throughout their years at this U & none who forfeited due to not meeting the terms. </p>

<p>Several of the other merit awards my S was offered at other Us required higher minimum GPAs & did not offer any "probationary period" if the student had problems meeting requirements. One thread on CC mentioned that most kids at another of the Us had to appeal because their GPAs fell below the terms (3.5) & many ultimately lost their merit awards.</p>

<p>We did not do it or even contemplate doing it.</p>

<p>The school DD is attending added Work Study and a Perkins Loan (I'm still wondering how we qualified for that one...) when SHE (they would NOT talk to me) spoke to them about any additional aid. Another school would NOT even discuss their finaid package with her...not at all. They said they did not compare offers and what they offered would not change. Both schools are 3000 miles from home and have the same demographics (both medium sized Jesuit Schools). Oddly, the Catholic college near home gave her a HUGE scholarship. The others didn't care. I should add, DD was not near the top of their applicant pool, and was not being recruited for anything. I do believe firmly that if you are a top applicant or are being recruited by the school for some reason, you have a much better chance of discussing your finaid re: a change. The nice surprise was once she got to her college she was awarded a $250 per quarter music scholarship (non-major). Every penny counts.</p>

<p>thumper, My S also qualified for a Perkins Loan at one school, and only one school out of 10 schools that he was admitted to, and I have yet to figure out how we qualified. That school did not offer any grants, or scholarships. They met need through loans only! My son qualified for nearly 10,000 in need grant aid at another, which was the other extreme (and I was very grateful for that offer, as it was my son's second choice school), and at most schools we did not qualify for much in financial aid. Half of the schools offered my son a nice merit scholarship.</p>

<p>We appealed our aid package at 2 schools. One would not budge, so they were off the list of schools that my son could attend. The second did change their offer, but it was not favorable for our son, so my son is not attending there either. They increased their merit award by 2500, but they increased the minimum gpa to keep it from 2.8 to 3.0. They also took away work study and a subsidized stafford loan when they changed the package, so our family was not feeling great about that package. BTW, we asked to have our financial package reviewed, and not for a change in the merit award. They chose to do this on their own, so be careful.</p>

They increased their merit award by 2500, but they increased the minimum gpa to keep it from 2.8 to 3.0. They also took away work study and a subsidized stafford loan when they changed the package, so our family was not feeling great about that package. BTW, we asked to have our financial package reviewed, and not for a change in the merit award. They chose to do this on their own, so be careful.


<p>Northeastmom: Like many others, I'm struggling to understand this stuff. I get why raising the GPA requirement could be problematic, but why is it bad that the college substituted merit aid for the loan/work study amount? I thought that was the goal, to get money that doesn't need to be paid back. I must be missing something.</p>

<p>Friend was successful in dramatically improving need based grant award from an Ivy. Her D was a very strong candidate with acceptances at 5 or 6 top 20 schools. She met with the financial aid offices of several LACs offering generous need based aid to her D and asked for help understanding how the aid package had been determined. Then, she met with financial aid at the Ivy (child's top choice) and successfully used this information to negotiate a significant increase in grant award.</p>

<p>lurkenessmonster, The second offer was 2500 better, but with the gpa increase to 3.0 from 2.8, and then taking away the subsidized stafford entirely, as well as the work study option (son would not have a car and the school is rural, so off campus work would be nearly impossible since there is no public transportation), the increase was so minimal to me, and hardly mattered. BTW, my son is at a school that is quite a bit less expensive than this private (after accounting for the merit aid), and he did qualify for a partial "subsidized" student loan at that school. I really don't know how they arrive at who is eligible for a subsidized loan and who is not. In fact, there was another public oos that my son was admitted to, and they did not offer a subsidized stafford when their sticker price was several thousand more than the school my son attends. It just seems to be at the school's discretion, but I think that there should be an objective way to know if you are entitled to a subsidized stafford, or you are not entitled to it.</p>