If You Choose to Appeal, You Need to Make Your Case
If you consider appealing your financial aid offer, you need to be prepared to make your case and convince the school that you should receive a more generous financial aid package. Again, this is a negotiation – though we don’t call it that – and to be effective you must be able to persuade others to listen to your case, consider your position, and decide that they want to help you in some way achieve your goals. Here is how you get started.
Three Things You Need When Appealing Your Financial Aid Offer
- The Financial Track Records of the Colleges
- Your Numbers Associated with Attending Each School
- A Strong Negotiating Position
The Financial Track Records of the Colleges
In order to understand how generous a university’s financial aid offer is you need to know the school’s history related to financial aid. Knowing information like the historical percentage of need met and the composition of that financial aid (free money versus self-help) can give you insights into the offer you’ve received.
For example, if a particular school’s financial track record shows that financial aid has historically been split 65/35, with 65% of aid offered being free money and 35% being self-help, but you’ve been offered a package with a 75/25 split, you know the school is being more generous. Of course, the reverse is true as well. If the financial aid offer is weighted more toward self-help than has been reported historically, the college is being less generous.
You can find each school’s financial track record within the school’s listing on our website.
The Numbers Associated with Attending Each School
The second important piece you need before appealing your financial aid offer are your numbers. In order to compare which of the colleges are offering you the best financial package, you need to know the cost of attendance to each, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your Family Need (FN) for each school.
The table below shows how you use these numbers to understand which school is offering you the better financial aid package. In this example, Coe College is the more expensive institution but because of the financial aid package being offered, Coe is the more attractive option.
||Cost of Attendance
That’s great, unless you really want to go to Central College. However, knowing the difference in cost gives you leverage to negotiate with Central College for a greater award. Now you can approach Central with a real number and ask them to match or beat that number. See how this works?!
A Strong Negotiating Position
In order to successfully negotiate anything you need leverage. Your leverage in this case is the other colleges and universities to which you’ve applied and been accepted. Following our college search and selection strategy (see “search colleges” and “choose colleges”) will put you in a position where you have several higher education options to choose from and when you have options, you have leverage.