The following post is written by Shannon Vasconcelos, Director of College Finance, College Coach.
The college admissions and financing processes can be overwhelming. The amount of paperwork is staggering, your fate lies in the hands of Admissions and Financial Aid Officers, and their decisions don’t always make sense to the outside observer. It’s easy for families to feel out of control.
My favorite part of my job as a College Finance Consultant for College Coach, however, is to educate families about the power they do hold in this college process—the power to decide what college to spend your money on and how much you’re willing to spend for that college. And there’s no better avenue for flexing your muscles as a consumer of the college product than the scholarship negotiation process.
Buying a college education is no different than buying a car or a house or any other big-ticket purchase that you would rarely consider paying sticker price for. There’s no reason to accept a college’s first offer, so utilize the below tips to negotiate with a college for an increase in your merit scholarship.
Regardless of your exact approach, there is absolutely no downside to attempting to negotiate your scholarship offer. A college will not rescind your acceptance or take away money they’ve already awarded you because you decided to ask for more. The worst a college will do is say “no,” in which case you’ll need to decide whether or not that particular school is worth the price of admission for you. You may be surprised, however, at how often colleges say “yes” and send more money your way in an effort to secure your enrollment. And, remember, you—students and parents—have the final decision-making power in this process. You can say “yes” or “no” to any college, and the colleges know that. Use this power to your advantage.
About the author:
Shannon Vasconcelos is Director of College Finance at College Coach, the nation’s leading provider of education advising, where she delivers workshops and provides individual counseling on the college finance process. Before joining College Coach, Ms. Vasconcelos worked in financial aid at Boston University and Tufts University. She has a BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.
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