Monday, April 8, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Negotiating Down College Tuiton

I know these "how to pay for college" posts aren't technically homeschool issues.  Public and private school parents have to deal with college expenses too.  But, moving children from homeschooling on into college and careers can be one of the first big bumps back into mainstream society, and it can be intimidating.

It doesn't have to be though, if we help each other out by sharing lessons learned along the way.  To that end, I have another tidbit to pass along.

Paying for college is a lot more like buying a new car than you might expect. There is some wiggle room for negotiations on the final price.

I've already mentioned that the "sticker price" is not the actual price you're going to have to pay for the tuition at most private colleges and universities.  Many of them have entrance scholarships that will cut the tuition pretty much in half, sent out with their acceptance letters. Even then, the final bottom line, with tuition, room and board, books, and fees can be pretty steep.

I'd read that it was possible to negotiate with schools for further deductions, but we didn't try it ourselves. We took the award letters we received at face value, and made our decisions based on what we were offered verses what we felt like we could actually pay for as a family, and what the degrees would be worth to our students (in tangible and intangible ways).

So, when A (age 18) contacted the three private universities she had applied to, to ask them to withdraw her applications for admissions (she decided on a local state university instead, where she can take her time and roll her dual-enrollment credits into pursuing a double major for a total cost of about what it was going to take for a single year at any of her private university choices) we were surprised when two of them, instead of accepting her decision, emailed back to ask if more grant money might make a difference.

Both schools began by asking what A's deciding factors were.  She was honest, and told them that finances were the biggest issue (she had only applied to schools she actually wanted to attend, so had no real objection to the schools other than price).

One school came back immediately with an offer of an additional one to two thousand dollars in grant money.  The other asked how much it would take to a difference.  A was honest with both schools, and told them exactly what she would need, explaining to them that her ultimate goal was to avoid student loans.  The first school wished her well, and bowed out.  The admissions counselor from the second school however, told her that he was going to speak to his boss, and she should watch for a new award letter.

The award letter has yet to arrive (though we have received an email saying it's on its way), but barring an offer we just can't turn down, A is pretty happy with her current decision, and will most likely not change her mind.  Still, it's been an interesting process.

We didn't try to negotiate, or ask for additional grant money, but apparently if another thousand or two will make a real difference in your students ability to attend the college of their dreams, it might not hurt to ask.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

1 comment:

Ticia said...

I'd say it's not specific to homeschoolers, but this affects all parents with kids interested in college, and an extra thousand or two can make a huge difference.