Millions of Americans are struggling financially as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and that is making many people rethink plans for their college-bound family members. Many parents, and certainly the grandparents who may be helping with tuition are faced with a dilemma. Do we pay tuition for a year which may be abruptly cancelled, or at the least, halted for an indefinite time?
As retailers and restaurants begin opening, you may notice they’re offering steep discounts on their products. For months, these businesses have been closed, and they want to entice consumers back to their brands to prevent going out of business. In these unprecedented times, colleges and universities are no different. For years, they have been able to increase their tuition prices at an average of 3% every year. However, the Covid 19 outbreak has caused a lot of uncertainty, both for recent high school graduates and college students.
Many families have tried with moderate success to get back some of the tuition, from classes terminating last Spring and even some of the dorm and food fees. This maybe the opportune time to negotiate with the school to see what options are currently available. No business, and believe me “college is a business” wants to lose students. Additionally, the uncertainty they faced last spring, and even some litigation has forced many to change long standing policies.
Many students don’t realize the financial aid package they receive is negotiable. If you’re a high school senior or recent high school graduate, you can actually use financial aid packages you received from other schools to leverage a better deal at your ‘number one’ college choice. At the same time, your own family’s financial circumstances may have changed over the course of the last few months, weeks, or even days.
Thus, if circumstances have caused your family’s financial outlook to change, you need to notify your college immediately! Financial aid officers can make professional judgment calls on the ‘aid package’. Perhaps they’ll have discounts, tuition freezes, or offer more grants or financial need scholarships. If you as a parent or grandparent are on the fence about what to do next semester, you may want to wait and learn about what your college has to offer.
The important thing to do is to negotiate like you are negotiating for a car or any big-ticket item. For the first time in many years the leverage has now changed for the student, and their families. You now have the power to negotiate. Be Educated! Be Proactive!