In this enlightening conversation, Matt Blocki and John Izzo unveil the art of optimizing college financial aid appeals. He reveals how comparing offers from similar institutions can be leveraged to secure better scholarships, owing to the business aspect of education.
John distinguishes between scholarship and financial aid appeals, emphasizing the potential impact of life changes on aid packages. He highlights negotiation possibilities at private schools, while also stressing the cumulative value of seemingly minor scholarship adjustments.
Ultimately, the conversation urges proactive conversations with college-bound students, imparting vital negotiation skills and a pragmatic college selection approach. The overarching advice is to infuse the college search with excitement and positivity, transforming it into a valuable learning experience.
So, John, you and I had the opportunity to talk a little bit before the video started recording, but this one completely blew my mind. So tell us about tip number five, which is financial aid appeals, and why weren’t you here when I needed you?
You know, twelve I don’t know. How old? 15. We’re old, 15 years ago, whatever it was. Financial aid appeals are a real thing. Scholars appeals are also a real thing. So I will say this with an asterisk.
Not every school is going to be willing to budge their financial aid or their scholarship offers. But what I have found is that when you are able to compare two schools that are very similar private schools, enrollment sizes, price points if one school offers your student a certain amount of money, another school offers your student a different amount of money, you are able to actually leverage one over the other to potentially get the other school to increase their scholarship.
Because at the end of the day, these schools, yes, they want to educate your children, and it’s a higher level of education, but it’s also a business. So they run their schools in times where a student is a customer, so they want that business to come through, so they’re oftentimes more likely to adjust when needed.
Now, I will say, from a financial aid standpoint, so there is a difference between a scholarship appeal and a financial aid appeal. When families are submitting their financial aid applications, it’s usually from the year prior.
So students that are finishing their senior year right now, going into college in the fall, they submitted their financial aid application based on income from 2020. Now, as we know, a lot of things can change between 2020 and right now.
So if there is a significant life change, so if a parent lost a job, if there was a death in the family, something that was significant, what you can do is go to each one of your universities, submit an appeal to explain to them.
That was my income, and those are my assets in 2020, but it may look vastly different in 2022. So it’s always worth a shot to submit what the most current accurate information is and see if that will impact any financial aid or scholarships or grants that you will receive.
That’s incredible. So I’ve always heard everything in life is negotiable, but a lot of things you just kind of assume you can’t push back on. And when I bought my first house, we negotiated for a long, long time, and we got the price way down.
Okay, this is crazy. So you can literally negotiate with schools and put them up against each other, because, like you said, a school is a business, and it makes sense with. How expensive it is at times.
Yeah, I mean, oftentimes. Yes. I’ve seen that the public schools that have larger enrollments where a lot of students are seeking that university, they’re less likely to budge. Because if a student wants to go to Penn State and they are not okay with paying $31,000 a year, there are tens of thousands of students that will gladly take their place and pay full price.
So a school like Pitt or Penn State, they won’t budge because they don’t have to. But if we look at maybe the smaller private schools where they are all about the enrollment, they want to bring in these new students, are they going to lose a student over a 2000 $3,000 difference?
Probably not. And then what a lot of these families don’t understand is if you are able to negotiate and get a school to give you an additional $3,000 a year, ends up being $12,000 over four years. So one $3,000 scholarship makes a huge difference.
If you’re financing a $12,000 loan, what are you paying back in interest? A lot. John, thank you so much for walking through those. I would say almost a pre MBA that you can take your college here by helping them hustle, applying for more scholarships, making sure you have tough conversations with them 80% of your time with your child, statistically for an American household is gone by the time your kid goes to college.
That means even though you have maybe another 50 years with your child by the time they make it to college, that 50 years after will only represent 20% of the time. So having the difficult conversations right before they end up with college may be one of the best legacy factors or value factors you can pass on to your child.
And just teaching them negotiation skills and street smarts when applying for school and picking majors, et cetera, can make a huge difference as John has seen one on one with all the students that he’s mentored over the years.
One final piece of advice this college exploration, it can be stressful and it can be scary at times, but what I would really recommend is try to make it fun, try to make it exciting. A lot of people see going and touring a school as this is a hassle, this is a burden when you can can really turn into let’s have fun and let’s be excited about finding the best fit for your kid.