Negotiate for better scholarships

<p>I keep hearing people talk about getting a better "deal" from a school after they give you the initial offer for scholarship. How do you go about such negotiations? If you are accepted at more than one good school, will that help you get more money from another school? Does anyone know anything about this?</p>

<p>Sometimes if you get better scholarship from an equal school, you can get it matched or improved upon, depending on how much the school/teacher wants you there. Usually you will have to send in the competing offer. Also, if you get into a more selective school, you could use that as a bargaining tool. I would start by calling the financal aid ofice there, or making contact with the potential teacher.</p>

<p>Starting with the assumption that everything in life is negotiable, this one should only be done when the number 1 choice is less favorable financially then the next choice. It should not be undertaken to try to get colleges in a bidding war. I do not believe that will happen. However, as euphgal indicated, if your first choice wants you as a first choice, too, they can improve the offer with some indication that if they do you will attend. I would undertake those discussions with the department responsible for the scholarship. Since this is a music forum, that would probably be the music admissions dean.</p>

<p>Two different anecdotes:</p>

<p>CCM was willing to try to get more money for my S - they offered, we didn't ask. (They were actively recruiting S, and calling often.) But S had already chosen to go elsewhere. Apparently at CCM, money comes from a couple different sources. My take on it, reading between the lines, was that the department had x number of dollars, but the music program had some other unspecified dollars as well. Or perhaps the teacher was going to angle for some money that had been turned down from someone else. </p>

<p>We tried to appeal Furman's aid last year, since my D was really interested in attending there. We didn't ask for more music money, since she already had been awarded a tidy sum. The financial aid dept came back with a much better offer, but it was need-based, and was only for one year. We told them we were looking for 4-year merit (D wasn't given any there - only school that didn't give her merit), and they said merit wasn't negotiable. </p>

<p>It all worked out, and she is blossoming where she has been planted.</p>

<p>Yes, it is possible at many schools, but they don't want to admit it publicly. In our case, we first called the financial aid office and asked about merit money. They then talked to the teacher, who was very interested in D. I don't think this strategy will work unless your S or D is among the top applicants that year. I also agree with Singersmom07 that you should only do this with your S or D's number one choice school.</p>

<p>In my family's experience, negotiating a better merit scholarship is all about leverage---and whether or not you'e got any.</p>

<p>DD audition at 5 university-related music schools, and received merit scholarships from all except Northwestern. After receiving her acceptances, DD put together an Excel spreadsheet with 4 columns showing the name of the school, the total cost to attend each school, the merit scholarship amount awarded, and the resulting cost to her to attend each school. </p>

<p>She then called her potential teacher at School X and said that she would like to consider School X in the mix (a truthful statement, of course) but that she needed a larger merit scholarship to compete with schools A, B, and C. We knew that School X considered Schools A and B (but not C) as keen competition. </p>

<p>DD then emailed the spreadsheet to her potential teacher who said she would take it up with the Dean. DD was fully prepared to go to School A or B if School X didn't increase their offer, but she kept this information to herself. She never promised to attend school X if they increased their merit amount.</p>

<p>The happy ending was that the potential teacher took the spreadsheet to the Dean, and they agreed to triple DDs merit award. DD is now a student at school X.</p>

<p>My son was accepted at a few decent music schools. The one he considered the best, however, offered him no grant money at all, only huge loans. He called up the person who would be his primary teacher (and who had been the one instrumental in admitting himto the music school) and simply explained that he could not afford to attend without some grant money. I don't know exactly how he did it, but within 24 hours, that teacher had arranged $4000 a year in grants for my son. It wasn't much, but it was enough that we felt we could swing it and still keep the loans to a reasonable amount. And my son was NOT a player highly in demand, but actually the worst freshman on his instrument, as he later discovered. So, even without leverage, it may sometimes be possible to get some help.</p>

<p>Well said, Susantm.</p>

<p>Daughter (instrument,horn) was accepted last year to CCM, CIM, and Oberlin and offered $ at all three. CCM offered the least (a combo of academic and music,and may have offered more eventually, but when the teacher called, I think my D sounded disinterested). Oberlin offered the most (close to full ride), and CIM offered $15000 per yr..My D really wanted to attend CIM, so she emailed and told them that Oberlin gave her the most $, but she wanted to go to CIM. She appealed twice, and CIM increased her scholarship to $20000 per yr. So obviously there must be some room for negotiation. She has been happy with her choice to attend CIM.
Back in 2003, older daughter (instrument, oboe) was offered full scholarship after her audition at Florida State Univ. College of Music after she discussed where all she had auditioned/applied. It does seem that you can "play" one school off another and hope they will try to "buy" you.
In any case, it never hurts to ask! ;- )</p>

<p>bumping this thread for someone over in the MT area who was asking about this subject.</p>

<p>One other suggestion: if the scholarship offer is a full tuition merit award, ask that the offer letter be worded to guarantee the full tuition amount each year, not just what it is the entering year. If you can negotiate for fees, too, that will be very helpful. (State schools particularly charge more and more for fees because state legislatures and boards of governors limit the tuition raises, but not the fees.) Understand that there will be a caveat for maintaining grades and passing performance barrier exams, which should be no more than progress toward the completing the major.</p>

<p>At what point should one start the "bargaining" process? I only ask bc at this point D has been accepted to 3 of her 5 schools (still waiting on NYU and Eastman) and only one offered anything in the form of scholarship. The amount offered to my D was stated as a music/academic award and although we appreciate it was half as much as a friend of hers with far lesser academic stats was offered from the same school (different major). We have yet to receive the full package from any school yet so I am guessing we should wait until that comes?</p>

<p>I think it would be acceptable to at least inquire if this was "all" you could expect from this particular school, or if there were other potential sources still be decided. It would be a hint that it wasn't enough.</p>

<p>Money is not always equated with stats - sometimes it's equated with need of the student; sometimes with need of the school. If thsi particular school needs science majors more than horn players, then the science major will get a better offer. </p>

<p>But money comes from different sources. So you might want to contact both admissions and the music dept. If the music department only had x dollars available, sometimes a different dept. can jump in. Or vice versa.</p>

<p>As I've said before, we lobbied Furman for more money. Their music scholarship was very generous, but they gave my D no academic merit at all. We emailed both departments, and the music dept actually went to bat for D. Ultimately, though the school was unwilling to consider her for merit. We feel certain they just didn't understand her foreign transcript, as classmates who were lesser performers academically were given merit. Furman did come back and offer her substantial "need-based" - but we knew that would disappear after our other college kid graduated. So she had to turn them down. But we gave it our best shot, and hit both departments.</p>

<p>Momof3Stars...was your daughter's award a performance award based on her audition?? If so, this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with her academic standing. My son...not a tippy top student...received a performance award that far exceeded what many others with higher academic stats received at his college. It was based on his audition. Even if her award was only partially based on her audition, this might still hold true.</p>

<p>We found that with regard to "negotiating" performance awards...the negotiations came from the SCHOOL...not in response to anything we did. Two schools increased their initial performance awards between the initial award and May 1. One school where DS called would not even discuss his performance award. They were polite, but simply said...These awards are based on the audition.</p>

<p>The notification of talent, academic merit, and need based aid is often not known until the final acceptance package is recieved. S was informed of his talent awards with his initial acceptance letters, but did not know any need based aid until after April 1.</p>

<p>Combinations of both talent AND merit aid are often school specific. For example, Hartt did/would not offer any merit based academic scholarship to son although his stats were within the parameters. That policy was clearly stated in their admissions materials, and was non-negotiable, they would not combine both U/Hartford academic and Hartt talent awards.</p>

<p>D, non-music was notifed of her merit awards with the acceptance letter, but also had some additional scholarships/grants (institutional) on her financial awards letter at a later date.</p>

<p>If you think your d was near the top of her audition pool, it would not hurt to ask for a reconsideration, but you'll need all the others awards as a basis of comparison as well.</p>

<p>The worst they can say is no. And you have till May 1 to confirm any acceptance.</p>

<p>It's important to look at the level of the program as well, and try and guage your d's award on what you can surmise from the audition pool. This can be difficult. Remember that the audition pool is different than the pool at Podunk U, and it might be easier for Podunk U to increase the award over Eastman if they REALLY want your d. Also, some schools are historically stingy period.</p>

<p>Thumper, the scholarship my D received was an endowed Music Scholarship (according to the school website) but the letter she received stated it was a music and academic award. We were thrilled and flattered that she would even receive a music award as she does not exactly have an impressive resume and this particular school still has 3 more audition dates to go. So it is not that we are ungrateful just that we are wondering how much of the $38K plus bill we are going to have to cover. There are 2 other scholarships she is up for (leadership and talent). The talent I assume will not be selected until auditions are over for everyone. It is more substantial but I am sure is quite competitive to get. </p>

<p>My cousin did graduate from this same school about 7 years ago and my aunt advised me to negotiate as well. She said that every year her D was able to get more money and in her senior year they actually ended up paying very little out of pocket. I would say they are in the upper middle class income range. My aunt told me that one thing she has learned from putting 3 children through college is that everything is negotiable. I may have to have her call for me,IDK if I have the nerve!!</p>

<p>I thought the app process was nerve wracking but waiting for the Financials to come is driving ME insane!!!!</p>

<p>Just as an FYI D has also applied for a zillion other outside scholarships so we are not resting on our laurels at all.</p>

<p>Violadad, thanks for the advice. I could not even tell you if she was at the top of her admission pool at this school (I know for a reason I cannot shout out here that she was at another school though).
The letter we got about the music scholarship was confusing though, it stated the scholarship was an academic/music scholarship but later on stated that this could be combined with any merit aid received.</p>

<p>I know what you mean about Hartt though. Eastman will not accept my D's University of Rochester Susan B Anthony Humanities award nor would they accept the fee waiver U of R sent her for the application fee (due to her winning the SBA). It is very funny that they do it that way.</p>

<p>Mom of Three: I would wait until you get the aid package from Ithaca, they are known for offering a lot of grants. That school will also sometimes come back in mid-April with more money if they are really deperate for a student. There is also some sort of leadersip scholarship on their website that you can apply for, and that is the other merit aid they are referring to. I think last year it was for $7000.</p>

<p>I was accepted at Chapman which was my dream school. They offered nothing so I asked if they could reconsider as U. of Redlands (comparable) offered 8K/merit plus $1080/grant. I got no response at all from Chapman. My Mom did some research on this and found that if you are not in the top 10-20% of applicants you probably won't get any gift aid.</p>

<p>I really resent this process</p>

<p>I am getting nothing from the place I really want to go, and didn't even have a snowball's chance in the first place because my parents make too much money. I'm stuck between a rock and a hardplace, and apparently banks will only loan 50,000 for my major. According to the Northwestern estimate, it will cost about 59k for one year.</p>

<p>I think I might just have to give up on northwestern and go somewhere cheaper.</p>

<p>Gil, I mentioned in another post that grad funding is a different ball game than undergrad. Additionally, there are different rules for internationals. Institutions MAY have different parameters for Canadian citizens as opposed to US or other internationals.</p>

<p>Someone else might be more familiar.</p>

<p>For US citizens, most institutions (other than for med/law) do not consider parental income in determining aid. If you hold an undergrad degree, you are on your own. For a US grad student, the parental info is not required on the FAFSA.</p>

<p>The Northwestern grad financial link is here
Financial</a> Aid, Graduate, Admission, School of Music, Northwestern University</p>

<p>Perhaps there's something you missed, or a required submission missing?</p>

<p>Appeal info is there as well.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>