Negotiating with Oberlin, with full ride from Bard?

<p>My top two college choices now are Oberlin and Bard (in that order). I'll be doing a double degree in music (piano performance) and liberal arts (math/computer science) at both.</p>

<p>My EFC for Oberlin is $10k, which is just about as much as my family can afford. My finaid package includes $2k in campus employment and a $3.5k loan.</p>

<p>Bard, on the other hand, has offered me a combined science and music scholarship of $42+k, which is nearly a "full ride".</p>

<p>(My EFC for Lawrence, which I don't plan to attend, is $7k. Finaid includes $5k in campus employment and no loans.)</p>

<p>(1) Do you think I can negotiate the finaid with Oberlin? If so, how should I go about doing it? Given that a piano teacher there who expressed interest in teaching me said that she may be able to "push for more" finaid if I can't afford to go, should I go through her or directly to the finaid office or both? The thing is -- my family CAN afford to spend $10k on my education, but it WILL be tight on my family, and I don't want to burden them on my account. In addition, I'd prefer to graduate without debt to my alma mater.</p>

<p>(2) Is there a possibility that Oberlin may change my finaid for the worse if I try to negotiate it? In such a case, would that be irreversible? (I guess the latter is a "duh" question.)</p>

<p>(3) As it stands (and if Oberlin refuses to improve my finaid), do you think it's wiser for me to pick Oberlin (and having to bear $10k in addition to campus employment and loans) or Bard (with a practically free ride)? As far as I know, Oberlin has a better reputation both in the sciences and in music. In addition, it has about twice the student body of Bard, which I take to be a plus point. Otherwise, I'm of the impression that the student body and campus life at Oberlin and Bard is similar (correct me if I'm wrong). On the other hand, Bard has a superior location.</p>

<p>I should probably also mention that I'm an international student.</p>

<p>I will appreciate your advice!</p>

<p>Somewhere on this site I have read that Bard has elevated itself by very high selectivity acceptance of music students. You might look on the Bard site. If this is so, and with such a wonderful scholarship opportunity, and with such great proximity (compared to rural Ohio) to wonderful performances, Bard sounds like a great idea. Good luck.</p>

<p>"negotiating" with the financial aid office is rather common...However, a few key things to remember while doing this:</p>

<p>1) Have parents call, don't do it yourself (they will likely be paying the bill and usually have more leverage when dealing with fin-aid)</p>

<p>2) Tell your parents never to use the terms "negotiate" or terms like it ("negotiating" is more or less just asking politely for more money in light of extenuating circumstances or, perhaps, a better offer...but when calling make sure nothing is said like "We have a better offer from X school, so match it or we will not attend..."...Dealing with the office in a polite way is the best way</p>

<p>3) Consult a financial aid book or site for more info. on "negotiating for a better deal"</p>

<p>...if things are handled in a polite and courteous way, the school will not rescind any part of your package, trust me...they get calls like this all the time...and go ahead and take advantage of that music teacher you mentioned...explain the situation to her and see what she can do for you...good luck</p>

<p>I would send a very nice letter to Oberlin saying that it is your first choice school and you really want to go there but the finances are the issue. Tell them about the Bard offer and send the copy of what Bard sent you, and ask them if there is any possible way they could do something for you. By opinion is that they will not be able to match Bard's offer, but maybe they can can come up with a little more. Since you are international, it is likely they are maxed out on the money allocated for those purposes. I have never heard of money being rescinded so I doubt that will be a problem. Given your information, I would go to Bard. They are similar enough schools that the discrepancy is not worth it.</p>

<p>Thanks for all your advice!</p>

<p>I've already sent a letter to Oberlin requesting more aid (sorry, whitwilson, I did that before reading what you said about having my parents call them).</p>

<p>The thing is, after discussing with a few people, I may actually favour Bard now, and I feel bad for having so hastily written to Oberlin because it would obviously be terrible if Oberlin gives me a better offer after all and I still turn it down in favour of Bard.</p>

<p>Oh well... I guess I just have to wait for their reply and decide again...</p>

<p>Hi guys,</p>

<p>Thanks once again for your advice.</p>

<p>Oberlin did indeed respond positively to my appeal for more financial aid -- they increased my scholarship component by $5k, which reduced my EFC to $5k (but the loan and campus employment were unchanged). I think the recommendation from a piano teacher there who had expressed interest in teaching me clinched it.</p>

<p>However, after discussing it with my parents and piano teacher, I came to the conclusion that Bard may be a better choice for me after all, even disregarding finances. (And of course financially Bard's was still the superior offer.)</p>

<p>I've already written to Oberlin telling them that I have decided not to accept their offer of admission, and sent my deposit to Bard. But I feel really bad about rejecting Oberlin after they took the trouble to increase my financial aid. Oh well...</p>

<p>Do not worry about it, wmgan, you asked about the money when you were still gathering information. They gamble on how much they can offer, but not too much, and still get the students they want. If they had given you their best offer earlier, you might not have considered Bard and made the decision you did. You have a wonderful opportunity at Bard. We all look forward to your very illustrious future (and buying your CD's)! Good luck. Lorelei</p>

<p>Haha, thanks. I will invite you to my Carnegie Hall debut recital. =)</p>

<p>I will be there! And I mean it.</p>