Comment: Families should plan to negotiate with colleges for more financial aid due to a pandemic
Recep-BG | E + | Getty Images
Spring is usually a fresh start, a fresh start and a good outlook for the future. It also shows that the time is approaching for hundreds of thousands of high school graduates to decide which college to attend.
As an asset advisor and parent to one of those aspiring high school graduates, this is personally on my list and is something we’ve been planning for a long time. These plans have been made difficult by the pandemic and its impact. At the same time, however, they can represent a unique opportunity for the 2021 class.
Currently, colleges are financially affected due to the pandemic and are focused on keeping their enrollments for the upcoming class.
Many people don’t even realize that negotiation is an option. As a parent, you don’t want to miss this opportunity.
As you work with your child to decide which school is best for you, the colleges try to make their options as attractive as possible in order to gain your dedication and hard-earned dollars. This dynamic after a year of postponing many students or simply taking a year off gives parents the opportunity to negotiate better education at a more reasonable price and potentially secure their child.
More from the FA Playbook:
‘Investor Alpha’ is the main financial strategy for 2021
How to create a charitable trust as part of an estate plan
Here are 5 lessons the pandemic taught this financial advisor
We as a family are going through this process now. So, I’d like to share some steps that you and your family can take to get your child the best college fit at the best price.
A big part of the college planning process is setting a budget. Hopefully you have already figured this out for your family, as we did for us. Our prospective graduate knows that there is not unlimited money to go to college. We don’t want our son to have a lot of student loans for his education, nor do we plan to do this as a family.
This means that you know exactly where to apply and why. Visiting a large school in a warm environment so that he can go to football matches on Saturday shouldn’t be part of the decision-making process. The most important factors should be which school offers my son the best education at the cheapest price and the best opportunity to find a well-paying job after graduation.
Families should advertise their children to schools that are designated as “stretch”, “match” and “safe” schools for acceptance. You won’t want to start the negotiation process until you’ve received decisions from all of your schools, especially those that are high on your list and in most cases will be the stretch-and-match schools. Once you have the decisions, you want to make sure that you have received your financial award letters from each school.
It is important to have all the information you need before contacting the schools if you are ready to negotiate.
The financial award letters will be vital in this process. To keep things simple and fit on one page, I would suggest that you create a table that includes all of the schools and a breakdown of the financial rewards from each school, in addition to your total out-of-pocket expenses.
Now is the time to get in touch with your child’s three or four best options and speak to the grant and admissions offices. You want to let them know that they’re your first choice (even if it’s two or three), but you’ve gotten more attractive packages from your other choices.
Be ready to share the reward letters from the other options when prompted. So make sure you tell them something that you can back up. Encourage them to see if they can make their offer more attractive to secure your deposit for the coming semester.
In most cases, it will take them some time to review your student’s file, competing school award letter, free State Grant Information Application, and college scholarship service profile if necessary, and then contact you Report.
This process, assuming that the school wants your child and is a good fit for the school, may result in additional money being made available to your child.
I’m not talking about financial aid, which in most cases would have to be paid back, but money that a college uses to get your child to attend. Merit assistance is basically a form of financial support for universities that does not take into account the financial needs of a student, but is given on the basis of academic, athletic, artistic or special merit.
This additional money that is made available does not have to be repaid and will remain as long as your child fulfills their obligation to keep the grades necessary to continue support.
Yes there will be some conditions, as there are with most merit funds, but they are certainly more than achievable and something that you should share with your child so they know what is expected of them.
The students in the 2021 class are in a unique position and have a lot of power. Many colleges had a huge hit in 2020 and need to make sure that their enrollment is preserved and that students pay for meal plans and accommodation on campus.
My son has received letters of admission from two of his top schools and is waiting for the third. Both schools gave him a generous financial package, but we believe that with the steps I mentioned, we can make it even better. As soon as my son receives another letter of admission, we will start work to increase the packages already presented.
It is important to understand that parents and their children are currently able to get the best education possible at a cheaper price. A college is a company that tries to keep its sources of income from getting a hit. Again, you don’t want to miss this opportunity.
– By Lawrence D. Sprung, Founder / Investment Advisor at Mitlin Financial, Inc.