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Dont Be Afraid to Negotiate
This is the time of year when hundreds of thousands of high-school students tear open their college acceptance letters to find out if theyve been accepted by the schools of their choice. Once the initial excitement wears off comes the hard partsitting down with their parents to figure out if they can afford to attend those prestigious schools. The alternative is to stay at home and attend the local community college or work a year, hoping to save enough money to attend a four-year school at a later time. But no parent wants his/her child sitting on the sidelines, missing out on the wonderful life experiences that college provides.
Is a college education becoming the domain of the rich?
College debt has become one of the biggest financial threats to American families. College students are now graduating with an estimated $33,000 in debt. If they enter the job market in a bad economy, have trouble finding employment or are somehow marginalized, that debt soon looms out of proportion. Those who go on to graduate school are further mortgaging their futures.
Its not unusual for those who are graduating from law and medical schools to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in college loans that dont get paid off until middle age. It took the Obamas 25 years to pay off the accumulated debt of their combined Ivy League educations–despite good jobs. Not until President Obama signed his book deal in 2004 was he finally able to pay off these loans.
Get aggressive: dont be intimidated by the student aid officer
College doesnt have to be a privilege reserved for the 1%. Heres the good news. Enrollments are significantly downan estimated 500,000 fewer entrantswonderful news for your son or daughter, so leverage this deficit.
- You may have your heart set on one school, but its best to keep a few options on the tableplay these against each other.
- Be a shrewd negotiator. You got a great price on your new car or new home, right? You can do the same thing on educationand this time, theres a lot more at stake.
- Dont be afraid to ask for more aid. According to the Princeton Review, 30-50% of the families who ask for more aid get it.
- If youre dissatisfied with your aid package, ask to see their guidelines. Carefully review these for your appeal. Build a careful business case that justifies why you deserve a larger aid package.
Finally, remember that the college aid officers are not on your sidedespite what they tell you. Theyre going to offer the smallest financial aid package possible. Its up to you to roll up your sleeves and go back to the bargaining tableyour childs education is an investment worth fighting for.
Time to start saving for your childs college education?
Talk to us at Palma Financial Services. We prepare and package students to get them into the best private schools and maximize the awards. We have a proven track record of successfully appealing awards and securing additional funds from colleges and universities.
Call today for a complimentary consultation: 925.307.5454, or sign up for our next college-planning seminar.