Wait-Listed? Use It To Increase Your Financial Aid

If your student has been wait-listed at a private college, don’t treat it as a pre-existing condition. Use this financial aid strategy in the following steps:

 (1) Your student should email the wait-list school and express how much s/he still wants to attend that college, and ask this question – with no regard for the answer – “What’s it going to take to get off the list?” You’ll receive some canned answer such as, “You’ll have to wait  and see.” But colleges like to see the “love” in an email to help them decide who’s first to get off their wait-list. For the student to inquire is a big plus (okay…if you don’t like the wait-listed school, you’re engaged in a deception; if you do like it, you’re engaged in a strategy).

(2) If the college notifies your student that he or she is off the wait-list, email your request for their financial aid package. If it doesn’t exceed the amount of your # 1 college, notify them in writing that “another college” offered a larger package, as if to suggest that your student would still like to attend, but reality’s face looks like 20 miles of bad road. If they ask for a copy of the other school’s offer, send it by Return Receipt Request. If they come back with an offer that now exceeds the # 1 college’s offer, do this:

(3) Use the wait-listed college’s new offer to ask for more money from your # 1 choice. Tell # 1 that you may have to break your own heart because you received a larger offer elsewhere and that, after all, a larger debt is not something you regard as part of your “award” for working hard, being committed, and achieving all through high school.

(4) You can keep this ping-pong game going until September. It’s your money that’s at stake, and the colleges will take every dime if you let them. Don’t give in, and don’t give up until your gut tells you that you’ve gone as far as you’re going to go.

Huge Tip: No college will ever rescind an offer due to a student’s persistent requests for more money. It would be a catastrophic public relations nightmare for the college to do so. The absolute worst they can do is just say, “No.”

Go ahead…have your student email the college that wait-listed. There could be a pile of money waiting for you from two schools.

Caution: The above scenario is more likely to work with private colleges than with state schools whose budgets are shrinking.
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My next blog post will show you how to get off a wait-list. Go ahead and be a fan.

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