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Tuition Negotiation

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Has anyone successfully negotiated for a tuition reduction or additional merit money? Ds's second choice school is offering significantly more (as in double) the merit and talent money of his first choice school. We'd like to get more from his first choice school as that is the only way we can afford to send ds there. Any advice for us on negotiating with school #1? 

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We have not been successful. When we asked, we were told that the only way we could get more was if we had a significant change in our financial situation which we did not.

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You can always try. Sometimes you can get more (but maybe not what you want), but some places don't budge.

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We went to an admissions event at one LAC and the admission head talked about this and said "don't even try to play another school's offer against ours because we don't match the competition."  Though...they aren't going to rescind admission if you try, I am sure.

 

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You can file a Financial Aid Appeal.  Possibly they will increase the aid. If you don't do that, then you have their Final offer.

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My daughter's brother in law had an exceptionally successful financial aid appeal at Yale, but it involved a complicated personal situation that wasn't readily clear in typical financial aid paperwork

One of my daughter's schools matched the offer from another similar school on appeal.

Edited by GoodGrief1
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My oldest DD was third in her class of over 700 and was about a hundredth of a point behind number 2. We asked dd's school of choice if they would give her the additional aid they offer the salutatorian and they did. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't very much. But it solidified her desire to attend that school. Her school was a private school 

We tried unsuccessfully at younger dd's public school of choice. 

I would think you would have better luck at a private school as they seem to have more flexibility in how they award their money than the public schools do.

 

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Are they peer institutions? And what “level”/“type” of institution are we talking about? 

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If you look at College Navigator under Net Price for the schools you can see how much is normally paid by families in different income bands.  I would start there. It could be that one school just doesn't give as much aid.

If your financial situation changed from the tax year used for financial aid, you can file an appeal. You will need to submit specific info to support an appeal like receipts for medical expenses or evidence of change in income.

You can try to negotiate bases on another offer, but these happen less often. A negotiation should be done by the student not the parent.  Parents can and should be involved in an appeal based on the assessment of family need.

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Thanks so much for all the good advice. DS did make an appeal by phone this morning, and was turned down. But he is glad he tried, and they gave him props for calling himself, versus having his parents call. This particular school is notorious for giving very little aid, and we knew that going in, so we weren't surprised by the outcome. It was important to ds to know that he had tried everything possible to attend this school, and now he has the peace of knowing he did everything he possibly could. So, onward and upward.

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Very good for him calling!  Dd tried with her school and they said the same thing.  "Kudos to you for doing this yourself.  But no."  But, when she was undecided where to go a week before the commitment deadline, they ponied up a few thousand more per year.  

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This morning, I read 2 articles on my phone from ShumskyCenter.com   They were in my Google Feed.  I think I'd read one of them several months ago.  They were written in 2016 and 2017.  One of them said the average tuition discount in private universities was  48.3%     That may or may not be true, and I assume it varies with the school and with the student involved, but it is IMO worth asking for a discount.   This is one of the URLs I sent to my DD:  http://shumskycenter.com/top-10-college-admissions-mistakes/

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