In this interview tih Kal Chany, the founder of Campus Consultants we lern how we can appeal a current finacial aid package and get a much better deal.
How to negotiate with your college for more financial aid
Here’s what financial aid officers do not want you to know. You can negotiate your financial aid package and get a better rate. In 50% or more cases you’ll succeed in winning a better financial aid package so let’s take a deeper look into how you can pay less for college.
Kal Chany, the president of Campus Consultants and author of “Going to college without going broke” gives us a few tips on financial aid.
What many people do not know is that you can appeal the financial aid offer from a school. You’ll want to be prepared to provide additional documentation to prove your case. Most schools will allow you to appeal the aid offer and many of the appeals improve but the colleges will not want you to know this because most schools participate in financial aid leveraging.
Financial aid leveraging is when a school knows how much you’re willing to pay before you decide to give up and say that you won’t go. So the school is trying to get you to pay as much as possible and you’re trying to pay as little as possible so you need to have a poker face and do your research to beat the system.
Wait for all offers
After you get your admission offers soon after you’ll get the financial packages and you’ll learn more about your financial aid options. Kal suggests that you don’t do anything until you get all of the offers in hand because you want to compare them and see how the offers are. Look at the cost of attendance to the school, tuition fees, room and board, books, transportation, and subtract out the free gift aid to compare all of your offers.
Call the aid office
If you are on the phone with the financial aid officer immediately after you get your letter, then they know you are anxious to attend their school. This is going to give you less negotiation power so you’ll want to give it a little time and then call them after you’ve compared your other offers. You’ll want to leverage what is known to be an advantage in your situation. The fact is that less kids are attending college because of the outrageous costs and these schools want to fill those seats.
How to appeal
The first thing you’ll want to do when you call the financial aid office to appeal to the aid ask them what the procedure is. Some schools will require that you write a formal letter and others will have you fill out a formal application, so just find out what the procedure is.
Call and say, we got the letter and were grateful I don’t think we’re going to be able to attend but what is the procedure to file an appeal? Don’t say negotiate, don’t say bargain – say appeal or request reconsideration.
Understand how colleges think
You need to understand how they take in your information that you put on the aid form and how they determine your eligibility for assistance. You’ll want to know how they are making decisions, what factors they took into consideration and more importantly what extra information you can give them now that will help them reconsider your offer.
One major factor that will lead to financial aid package reconsideration is change in circumstances. Maybe you live in an expensive city with a high cost of living, you may be supporting an older relative, you may have medical expenses etc. These are all new things that the financial aid office can consider in your appeal.
If you had a really great offer from another school you can certainly use this as leverage but you’ll need to be very tactful in your approach. Most schools won’t admit that they will meet another school’s offer – but they will if they consider the other school a competitor.
They won’t really consider merit based aid to need based money when comparing schools but, this is why you want to do your homework. You’ll want to provide some additional information besides just competition to help give the school another reason to award more financial aid. This way the school doesn’t have to justify their additional support by simply being competitive with another school.