My top choice school still hasn't released my financial aid package

It’s only 1 week away from May 1. I’ve called the school 3 times within the last 2 weeks. Well, today they called me, but I wasn’t near my phone and called back. They told me several other students have called about the same thing (I feel for those kids as well). I asked if it will be in there by May 1 like I asked before and they said the same thing - “we don’t have an official date but they’re trying to.”

I applied for several scholarships there, so I’m hoping it’s the best-case scenario (I get all of them + need-based money and get to go). Worst case scenario I get nothing, but I can go to my 2nd choice school which I love almost as much. I just want to at least KNOW though, and say “I didn’t get enough money” not “They never even told me”. I applied to over a dozen outside of the school as well.

Is there anything else I can do? I think I should just commit to my second choice school and if they tell me after May 1 and it’s enough, I’ll just switch. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Note that a mix of need-based grants and merit scholarships may not be fully stacked by the college. Each college may have its own policy on how much stacking of merit scholarships on need-based grants is done.

Many (but not all) colleges apply outside scholarships first to replace student loans, student work, and unmet need, but then replace need-based grants from the school before reducing the parent contribution.

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I don’t have any suggestions but can empathize as my son is in the same position. Hopefully these schools will put a strong push on this weekend so that kids get their decisions soon.

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Well they just gave you some leverage in the negotiation game. Get ahold of the head of financial aid or the head of the school Monday. Don’t take no for an answer. Let the administration help you. Then let them help you get more of needed. For small Lacs this can be effective

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How do you do this? Call them and ask them what my award is? If it’s not in the portal how can they see it? They told me it’s still processing.

And what do you mean by “small Lacs”?

I really hope so too. I just started the commitment process at my 2nd choice school but hopefully my top choice gets their stuff in soon and it’s good enough for me to go there.

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Lac =Liberal Arts College.

Call and ask for the supervisor of Financial aid. Be stern but nice. This is when it’s typically better to have a parent do this. They should be able to review your financial aid to give you a clue over the phone /via email. They will need your student ID or account number. Monday is the 26th. That is very unfair. This would give me lots of pause about the school without knowing which school but of course unless they give you a ton of money.

But… Many are known to negotiate for more financial aid this last week since the pressure is actually on them to close this transaction while keeping their yield high. If you don’t have an answer after you call then call and ask to talk with the President /Provost of the school. They should at least know what’s going on in their institution.

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It would give me pause. Something’s wrong here since we’re so close to the deadline.
Can you tell us what the schools are?
Are they for-profit*? On the verge of bankruptcy?

*as the name indicates, not in it for education.

I don’t know the OP’s school but there are accepted freshman for Cornell U. that haven’t received their packages. Cornell has suggested to some that they ask other schools to extend their commitment dates. Very frustrating for those students, particularly if Cornell is their top choice.


Ridiculous. I worked at a huge public university that was short staffed, and we busted our rears to get packages out to first year students on time. And Covid is simply not an excuse after a year.


@MYOS1634, I think OP is waiting for Hampton University.

OP, did you verify that all your paperwork has been received?

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Yes, it is Hampton and yes all my paperwork has been received. I don’t know what’s taking them so long.


Their administration can be wack at times. One of my friends who is there now said they told him they lost his fin aid. Lost as in misplaced. One of my other friends never received their acceptance letter. They got accepted around the time I did, but were never sent the physical letter. They found out from alumni in our area. There are several stories like this from admissions and students who are there. My mom said they had admin issues when she was there 30 years ago. SMH. The school is a top notch HBCU academically, but administration wise, they need to get it together. I love the school, but from what everyone says administration is their main issue. (But man their branding and PR is near perfect lmao)

FYI the link to my fin aid package just appeared. Before there was nothing, but now the links with “Award”, “Fin Aid Status”, “Eligibility”, etc are there. But when i press “aid year, 2021-22” it says no information is available.

At least I’m one step closer. Maybe I should email or call them today and ask when it should be in?

I would call them. My experience with emails to other school’s FA depts is they seem to just go into a void and aren’t answered for days (if at all.)


I agree. Call the financial aid office or main admissions line. If you have to leave a voice mail, do that. Then try the second line and leave another.

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Any news?
At this point, my advice would be to deposit at your #2 school as long as it’s affordable. If Hampton figures things out and provides you with a decent package that makes the school affordable , you can still change your mind later and switch.

I texted them this morning, the response from Cornell admissions: “We hope to have more financial aid awards and appeal responses available the last week of April…In the event your aid award is not available this week, we hope to have it available the week of May 3.”

Their use of the word “hope” rather than “plan” or something more definite is particularly frustrating. I’ve called the Financial Aid office multiple times. Last Thursday I was told that my son’s file was in the hands of a FA evaluator so we should hear soon. Still nothing. I’m not sure what to do next, clearly we are not the only ones in this situation.

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I called them today and left a voicemail.

Hopefully it’s all in the portal in a matter of hours. It’s so discouraging going into the portal day after day just to see “No information is available at this time”. I’m fine if it’s not enough money - okay, obviously I’ll be slightly disappointed but I’m very excited about my second choice - I just want to KNOW!

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EXACTLY! They keep saying things like “we hope this…”, “we think that…”, “a few days…”, “it’s supposed to be…”, etc. After a certain point it just gets frustrating and stresses you out! It has helped that my mom had me commit to my 2nd choice in case HU doesn’t get their stuff in by the deadline.

I hope you and your son are doing well in such a hard time. I also hope y’all get your package very soon and it’s enough for him to attend Cornell.

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If they don’t get back to you tomorrow before 4pm, deposit somewhere affordable that you like. At worst, they’ll come back with a decent package on Monday, you decide to take it, and you’ll have lost $500. :slight_smile: But if they don’t… then, you have a place to go come Fall.
They shouldn’t be playing games like this.