“I can’t believe this!” is the reaction of every parent who is lucky enough to receive a financial aid package. Unfortunately 80% of recipients don’t feel they are getting enough money from the colleges. Normally this causes a knee jerk reaction of “I’m going to call them and tell them I need more money” which is the simplest and easiest thing to do, but it won’t accomplish anything except create frustration and anger toward the financial aid counselor.
If you think about everyone doing the same thing – they are all arguing with a harried, overworked and underpaid financial aid counselor who has been instructed to give no one a break because “our college does not negotiate.” Many financial aid offices do not even have chairs for visitors because they are not encouraged to sit down and talk. Some phone calls are even blocked when their system has reached full capacity.
From my experience about 45% of financial appeals will be successful if the parent does 3 things:
1) Determine the cost of attendance
2) Subtract their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to determine their eligibility
3) Develop an approach based on what the colleges don’t know about them
There are many reasons why a college would consider revising a financial aid package. The complete list can be seen by clicking here.
There are many strategies someone can use to appeal an aid package. Since there are too many to list here, I’ll give a couple. All appeals should be in writing and addressed to the Director of Financial Aid. The appeals need to be in writing (snail mail or email) so there is a paper trail in the student’s file. Lastly, make a friend in the Aid Office. Even if you don’t have any success this person will be there in subsequent