28 Jun

Getting Tuition Discounts

Here’s a little tip about paying for college: the Total Cost of Attendance is not a hard, fixed number, it is negotiable. Isn’t that great news? For so many of you, that cost quote you find in the financial aid section of the school’s website seems sky high. Lucky for you, that unacceptably high, possibly insurmountable string of numbers may not be the final price you will see-it is only the “sticker price.”

Colleges are, in essence, big business. To them, each student is an investment. They assume that students with good grades in high school will continue that trend in college. This will lead to graduation and… alumni donations! Private schools especially want good students, because they depend heavily on alumni and other outside support. If they determine a need to offer competitive pricing-like a tuition discount-to entice your student, your price will come down.

Tuition discounts can significantly reduce the cost of college. The key to getting a tuition discount is to create competition between colleges. How can you do that? The best place to start is on the FAFSA form. Be sure to apply for aid at six to eight schools, preferably to schools who are attempting to attract students with your student’s profile. (For instance, schools in the same athletic conference may compete for the same students. That “on the field” rivalry can really bring out the competitive side of admissions officers.)

The schools will not know which school your child really wants to go to-all they will know is which other schools your student has applied to for aid. This may give you the upper hand: your child may really want to go to USC, but by adding UCLA onto the list, USC has no way of knowing just from the FAFSA which school is your child’s first choice.

Once you’ve received your Award Letters (letters detailing the proposed aid from each college) you can begin the appeal process. By effectively leveraging your best financial aid awards against competing colleges, colleges may very well bid for your student. If all goes well, at least one of the private colleges should offer your student a competitive financial aid package!

All the best,
Deborah Fox

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6 Responses to “Getting Tuition Discounts”

  1. 1
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Saving Money with (Student) Discount Cards Says:

    […] discounts. Well, everyone except their schools-unless you learn how to improve your chances of getting a tuition discount! It is amazing how many discounts students can get-you just have to know where to […]

  2. 2
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » 10 Smart Websites that Can Save You Money Says:

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    Surviving College Life » Should You Get a Job in College? - Survive College with tips about roommates, studying, and more! Says:

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  4. 4
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Wait for a Wait-List, Pay More for College Says:

    […] usually offer financial incentives (like grants or tuition discounts) to entice their top-choice students to enroll. If your student gets put on a wait list, he/she […]

  5. 5
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] And remember, applying to competing colleges can sometimes give you leverage to get a better financial aid award! […]

  6. 6
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Over-Applying to College Could Mean Lower Admission Odds Says:

    […] And remember, applying to competing colleges can sometimes give you leverage to get a better financial aid award! […]

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