How Households Can Negotiate Extra Scholar Help: A Scholar’s Profitable Enchantment
With the end of high school graduation ceremonies, the families of freshman college students face a new milestone – the payment of their first tuition fees.
Bills for the fall semester are often sent out in early July and payments are usually due in the first week of August. However, some families may still fear that they may not have the money to cover this.
It can’t be too late to ask the school for more money, experts say, depending on your circumstances.
As colleges and universities seek to increase enrollments, there may be opportunities for incoming students to negotiate more financial aid.
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“We’re seeing colleges move the needle,” said Matt Carpenter, founder and CEO of College Funding Services in Salem, Massachusetts. “There is simply more leeway than ever before.”
Julia Hull, a 2021 Trumbull High School graduate in Connecticut, was ecstatic when she made her best college pick. And the most exciting part? The 18-year-old was accepted into Fairfield University’s nursing school – and received an merit scholarship.
“I was really excited because I felt like all of my hard work and all of my nightly study – it really paid off,” she said.
Trumbull, Connecticut graduate Julia Hull (left) discusses classroom materials with parents, Lauren and Tom.
Tuition, room, board, and fees at the Connecticut private university total approximately $ 70,000 for the 2021-22 school year. Julia’s father Tom, 49, said her scholarship covers about 30% of the total cost of attending.
Even so, Tom and his wife, Lauren, 47, worried about how they would pay the rest as they were not eligible for on-demand financial assistance.
“We were a little nervous about going back to ask for more money or not,” said Tom.
After meeting a college finance advisor, they decided to make the request.
“We knew there was a small window that we could use,” he said. “We wanted to maximize that and have the convenience of knowing that we weren’t leaving any money on the table.”
Be very specific, be very to the point.
Juan Hernandez Ariano
Director at WealthCreate
The Hull family followed their advisor’s advice on how to officially “appeal” for more money.
“We made sure we included some of the scholarship letters she had for acceptance to show that we had some influence,” said Tom. “We asked for what I believe to be a moderate roll call.
“We said, ‘Our level of excitement is very real … if you can help us in this area, we’d love to get involved.'”
And it worked.
Julia received an additional earnings allowance that covered about 3% of the cost of attending, Tom said.
A third of the appeals for aid were successful
High school graduate Julia Hull (center) from Trumbull, Connecticut, with her parents Tom and Lauren.
Before the pandemic, around a third of appeals were successful at most schools, said Robert Franek, editor of The Princeton Review. For the school year 2021/22, that number has likely increased.
“Schools got through some tough times in the fall of 2020,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean they can’t stay active and aggressive with financial aid and scholarships for the students coming into class this year.”
Financial aid decisions for this new class will be made based on 2019 federal income tax returns. Experts say you should be transparent about how your family’s income and expenses have changed since then.
Juan Hernandez Ariano
“Be very specific, be very straight to the point,” said the certified financial planner, a director at WealthCreate in Houston. Explain in detail why you cannot afford the college you want to attend, he said.
You can also find free templates on the Internet that can help you write your own notice of objection.
Check out sites like Edmit, Road2College, and SwiftStudent. Another website, TuitionFit, can help you compare your rewards letter to other offers received by families with similar financial backgrounds so you can use that information to ask for a better deal.
When a student is receiving additional financial aid or scholarship money, it is important to clarify whether or not the money is renewable, experts say. As a rule, a student applies for needs-based help every year. In the meantime, the scholarship is usually renewable as long as you maintain a specific GPA and credit load for courses.
And if you are unsuccessful at the first appeal, don’t be discouraged.
“There’s always a next year … always future cases when you need to negotiate financial aid,” said Hernandez Ariano. “There is still hope.”
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