Make us your home page
Instagram

Appeals of college financial aid grants on the rise

The era of the financial aid appeal has arrived in full, and April is the month when much of the action happens.

For decades, in-the-know families have gone back to college financial aid officers to ask for more grant money after the first offer arrived. At many private colleges and universities, half or more of families who appeal get more money.

Your best shot with an appeal will come from a change in your family's financial circumstances. Possibilities include job loss or other reduction in income, new health expenses, death of a parent, disability of a family member, nursing home costs, natural disasters or parental credit woes that make borrowing impossible.

When you make the appeal, Kelly O'Brien, the director of financial aid at Trinity College, suggests that it be written, quantified and documented.

Aside from "need-based" aid, many institutions also give away "merit" scholarships to students they want to attract, regardless of their ability to pay.

This is where things get tricky. Enrollment specialists have figured out that people who appeal are more likely to attend than people with aid offers who do not appeal, regardless of whether the appeal is successful.

In fact, according to Jim Scannell, the co-founder of consulting firm Scannell & Kurz, sometimes the people with rejected appeals enroll at a higher rate than those with winning appeals. "You're not going to appeal to a place that you're not serious about," he said.

Families need to be honest with themselves about the quality of their student applicants. "Be realistic about how they will stack up," against other applicants, said Kalman Chany, an aid consultant to families.

"If you're barely sneaking in, they don't care if you come so much. But if they're buying your SAT scores or grades to improve their rankings and convince other people to spend the money to go there, then they really have to have you."

Appeals of college financial aid grants on the rise 04/19/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2014 7:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  2. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  4. Engage Behavioral Health expands into Wesley Chapel

    Business

    On Aug. 5, Engage Behavioral Health celebrated the grand opening of a new clinic in Wesley Chapel.

    hillsevbiz081117: Jennifer Phelps is the CEO & Founder of Engage Behavioral Health. Photo courtesy of Engage Behavioral Health.
  5. Former owner of Sirata Beach Resort purchases two Tampa Bay shopping centers

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — After selling the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference in February, Nicklaus of Florida, Inc., has purchased two Tampa Bay shopping centers to diversify the firm's portfolio in the area. Colliers International, representing the sellers, announced the transaction this week.

    Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, one of Tampa Bay's last family-owned beach hotels, was sold to a Texas-based company, Crescent Real Estate LLC for $108.19 million. [LARA CERRI | Times]