Thank you for the years of advice provided through your emails and in person and online seminars.
I wanted to point out that negotiations for a financial aid package do not need to be limited only to the time of admissions - you can "negotiate" each year.
My son attends a top university that does not offer merit scholarships, so I couldn’t really avail myself of your negotiating techniques during the admissions process. However when my second child started college, we were offered more in the way of financial aid. I didn’t think it was enough and so I called and politely spoke to my son’s financial aid officer. During our conversation, he tweaked the value of our home in the computer and miraculously we got an additional $2,300. The easiest money I’ve ever earned.
It happened again this year. The university arbitrarily increased the equity we have in our home by over $137,000, thereby lowering my son’s grant award. After a couple of polite emails, my child's financial aid officer again tweaked our home value in their computer to a more realistic level, increasing the grant by $4,400. Again, easy money that we never would have gotten had we not asked. It was all done with a few emails and in a few days time.
My point in writing is that negotiations do not need to be limited to the admissions process. Politely ask the financial aid officer - each year - for an explanation of the award, and discuss it with them. You never know what might happen, and all it takes is a quick call or email. The worst they can say is "no." Our story shows that they sometimes have flexibility and a few thousand bucks for a few minutes of work, two years in a row, ain't bad.
I wouldn’t have known to do this – or how – without your advice. Thanks for all of your help over the years.
-- Max S