26 Jan

How to Get a Tuition Discount

In today’s economy, more and more families are searching for discounts, coupons, and any way possible to lower the sticker price of their day-to-day purchasing–but what if you could actually lower the sticker price of a private college?

Understanding the “Sticker Price”

If you’ve ever shopped for a bargain, you’ve probably noticed the words “Suggested Retail Price” above the original price on a price tag. The price you see listed on a college’s website is like that suggested price–it is the starting point, but NOT necessarily the final word on the cost of college.

Industry experts refer to this as the “college sticker price,” and we focus on helping families find ways to reduce this cost!

Why Would Colleges Offer Tuition Discounts?

Like any large business (yes, colleges are “big business!”) colleges and universities want to get the most out of their investments. They want students who will perform well, graduate on time, get good jobs, and later contribute back to their alma mater with both prestige and alumni donations!

Of course, lots of colleges will want students like this, and their best chance to them is to offer competitive pricing by doling out scholarships, grants, and tuition discounts.

Start With the FAFSA

Did you know that filing the FAFSA is actually a way to create competition between colleges? The key is to send the FAFSA to 6 to 8 schools who are all looking for students with your child’s attributes (GPA, major, community involvement, athletic or other talent, etc.). These discounts aren’t limited to students with a 4.0, but you will need to do some research to find out which schools are looking for students with your child’s profile.

The schools that receive your student’s FAFSA will see all the other schools to which the FAFSA was sent. If they see competing schools listed (omitted example) they may be more likely to offer additional aid.

Evaluate and Appeal

Once each school has sent your student an Award Letter, you can sit down and evaluate their offers. If your student’s first choice school has not offered as much as a second or third choice, your family can appeal for additional funds by leveraging the best award offers against the offer from that first choice school.

Some schools will bite, others will not.  If a school truly wants your student, this strategy may result in a significantly improved financial aid package which translates into a much lower cost of college for your family!

Note: Only appeal an award from a school your student is still interested in attending.  It is not ethical to ask for more money from a school in which your student is not still interested and wouldn’t accept an offer.

All the best,
Deborah Fox

photo: tizwas01‘s spare change

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9 Responses to “How to Get a Tuition Discount”

  1. 1
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Concern About Tuition Hikes Rapidly Escalates Says:

    […] Sadly, this appears to be true. It does not, however, mean you can’t get a reasonable price on a college education by planning ahead. (For example, colleges’ “big business” approach is what allows some students to get offered a tuition discount!) […]

  2. 2
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] Sadly, this appears to be true. It does not, however, mean you can’t get a reasonable price on a college education by planning ahead. (For example, colleges’ “big business” approach is what allows some students to get offered a tuition discount!) […]

  3. 3
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Colleges’ Turn to Fear Rejection Says:

    […] to work out kinks in your student’s financial aid award. I’ve recently written about how to get a tuition discount, and as you know by now, the higher your student ranks in the applicant pool, the more likely you […]

  4. 4
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] to work out kinks in your student’s financial aid award. I’ve recently written about how to get a tuition discount, and as you know by now, the higher your student ranks in the applicant pool, the more likely you […]

  5. 5
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » What You Can Do With College Costs Up, Financial Aid Down Says:

    […] how to get a tuition discount, and do everything you can to make that […]

  6. 6
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] how to get a tuition discount, and do everything you can to make that […]

  7. 7
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Don’t Count on Athletic Scholarships: NU Cuts Its Football Team Says:

    […] As your child strives for an athletic scholarship, however, I would encourage you not to put all your eggs in one basket. Now is the time to focus on alternate ways to cover college costs. This may be as simple as working on finding private scholarships your child is more likely to win, or learning how to get a tuition discount. […]

  8. 8
    Pay for College Blog - Tips on reducing the cost of college Says:

    […] As your child strives for an athletic scholarship, however, I would encourage you not to put all your eggs in one basket. Now is the time to focus on alternate ways to cover college costs. This may be as simple as working on finding private scholarships your child is more likely to win, or learning how to get a tuition discount. […]

  9. 9
    Pay for College Blog » Blog Archive » Grade Inflation (and Other Perks) Sweep Law Schools Says:

    […] So, does the above attitude matter to your family? Absolutely! The grading policy is an inside look and example of what makes colleges tick, and that can be a great boon for families in the process of paying for college. After all, a school’s “big business” attitude is part of the reason many families that have educated themselves on how the system works are able to get awarded a tuition discount! […]

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