saltydawg

Parents of college kids

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Earlier in the year at Senior weekend at my daughter’s high school, the faculty lead said that when you get offers from colleges for merit scholarships, use that as bargaining with other schools. At the time, I did not think to ask, “How do you do that?”

 

Fast forward and we are to that point and some good scholarships are being offered...but I don’t know how she should leverage them in discussions with other schools.

 

Anyone have experience in haggling for a college education?

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I have done it. I'm on my third kid now, going into number 4 next year. My wife and I have learned a lot after the first two :o .

 

Absolutely use offers from other schools against each others. I have a friend who made a great analogy;  college tuition is like new car dealerships, NOBODY pays full sticker price, and some pay a LOT less than you for various reasons. My third son is a freshman at a small school in PA. He got a modest cash scholarship offer from a small school in MD. He's a middle of the road student with a fair extracurricular resume; played some sports, was in a couple clubs, Eagle scout, church group leader, etc.  I called the financial office of the school he wanted to attend and spoke very frankly; "my son wants to go to your university, but another similar school is offering us 'x', so what can you do for us?"  I didn't get a huge reduction, but they found a merit scholarship that cut the cost, plus this particular university is charging us in state tuition if he maintains at 3.0. That second part is something I think they offer to most out of state students. 

 

It doesn't hurt to talk to the schools. What do you have to lose??

Good luck with this :th: .

Alan

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14 mins ago, Gilbey said:

I have done it. I'm on my third kid now, going into number 4 next year. My wife and I have learned a lot after the first two :o .

 

Absolutely use offers from other schools against each others. I have a friend who made a great analogy;  college tuition is like new car dealerships, NOBODY pays full sticker price, and some pay a LOT less than you for various reasons. My third son is a freshman at a small school in PA. He got a modest cash scholarship offer from a small school in MD. He's a middle of the road student with a fair extracurricular resume; played some sports, was in a couple clubs, Eagle scout, church group leader, etc.  I called the financial office of the school he wanted to attend and spoke very frankly; "my son wants to go to your university, but another similar school is offering us 'x', so what can you do for us?"  I didn't get a huge reduction, but they found a merit scholarship that cut the cost, plus this particular university is charging us in state tuition if he maintains at 3.0. That second part is something I think they offer to most out of state students. 

 

It doesn't hurt to talk to the schools. What do you have to lose??

Good luck with this :th: .

Alan

2X what he said!

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Depends on the school. Some have separate departments, most seem to be linked. I think you need to get a good contact in the financial aid office. Seriously, pretend you are buying a new car. 

 

Most get many more applications than they can every accept. Look up admission rates. Some of them blow my mind. Families are lining up to pay $50K+ a year, kids are lined up to go $200K in debt and are being turned away! What a business! But don't let this fool you. These schools NEED students to survive. It seems to me they all love diversity first followed by good, solid students. They all know their business. 


Alan 

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just starting the process now and its a completely different process than I went through (basically just had to figure out which athletic scholarship I wanted). She is NHS, played multiple sports in HS (not a great athlete and absolutely will not play at college level,  but it still counts for admissions purposes), has won all types of awards for academics and "citizenship" crap, did class government, held the same job for the last three years (retail, now manager) and completed on average well over 100 hours of community service a year with disabled young folks...has really good SAT scores....not the best at anything really, but at the very top of most measures and cumulatively is a really unique kid. 

 

She did early admissions to three schools and has been accepted to them all....phone started ringing immediately….she is in the process of applying to a couple others  In the process of trying to get them to fight over her. She seems to have a valuable and unique "resume" as they absolutely seem game and have already promised tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships per year. one more than halved their yearly tuition. we'll see how it goes.

 

interested in this thread though, for sure.   

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Just went through it with #1.  All "A" rated, small, liberal arts, D3 colleges in the northeast. 5 applications , 3 EA and 2 RD, all in  before 11/15.  By Thanksgiving he had 4 acceptance letters with guaranteed academic scholarship money from 80-130k.  He contacted the school that was #1 on his list which we had not yet heard from and informed them of his other offers.  They offered to match the highest offer if my son agreed to switch his app to ED.  A 5 1/2 hour ride to Canton, NY to be sure and it was decided.  1 down, 2 to go. :clap: 

 

Honestly, I don't understand how kids rack up crazy debt when there is SO much money out there for GREAT schools.  There are scholarships out there for the taking.  Not necessarily full rides, but plenty of free money.  You just have to do your research. :th: 

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Assumed you filled out FAFSA.  This tells the school how much you can “afford”. It’s a joke!  The schools will tailor their offers around your FAFSA report. My daughter had very similar credentials as yours. She applied to 3 private schools, 2 non-resident state schools and  3 in-state schools.  The advertised price tags ranged from 30k to almost 75k (Drexel) per year. She was accepted  to all schools, and all of the offers brought the prices to within 5k of each other and within a 2-3k of our FAFSA estimate. So she was offered anywhere from 5 - 45k per year depending on the school. 

Edited by SG1

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3 mins ago, SG1 said:

Assumed you filled out FAFSA.  This tells the school how much you can “afford”. It’s a joke!  The schools will tailor their offers around your FAFSA report. My daughter had very similar credentials as yours. She applied to 3 private schools, 2 non-resident state schools and  3 in-state schools.  The advertised price tags ranged from 30k to almost 75k (Drexel) per year. She was accepted  to all schools, and all of the offers brought the prices to within 5k of each other and within a 2-3k of our FAFSA estimate. So she was offered anywhere from 5 - 45k per year depending on the school. 

Yeah, did FAFSA...that’s why the merit scholarships are so important; they are not need based. I wish the colleges all used similar timelines for offering scholarship packages so you could know the drop-dead date for putting it all in the table and making decisions. 

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I need a t shirt that says "I wish I could afford what the FAFASA said"

 

its like what the town values my car tax at, id sell it to them for that amount. 

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No FAFSA. :th:  They didn't need to know what I could and could not afford.  For all they could have thought was that I could afford to pay full price.  But they didn't.  The ED/EA advantage is that these schools can lock in their budgets and begin receiving tuition payments that much sooner.  They can unlock GUARANTEED scholarship money sooner rather than waiting for some poor shlub to write a check from his 539.  They can start that process on January 1 instead of waiting till March 1 for RD acceptance letters to go out.  State schools don't give a **** either way because they get that money regardless.  

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following this thread as well, in the same boat... daughter applied to college in AZ,CT, CO and local, local had the least proposed $... had no idea we could reference other offers. all the 'information' from aid from HS and others never mentioned this!

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