“Show me the money”

What’s been popular in conversations these days has been “I want to go to X school but I have to come up with (insert thousands of dollars here).” What?!?!

Several things come to mind:

GPA: If a student’s GPA is below a 3.0, the chances of “merit” aid being awarded is very slim, unless the student has extraordinary talents (like national athletic rankings).
Suggestion? Attend community college (for a fraction of the cost) for general education and permitter requirements and enroll in the school of choice’s guaranteed transfer program (if they have one).

  • Call the financial aid office and ask them for either more money or more resources.
  • Or, if you don’t want to attend the community college, suck it up and take out loans to cover the unmet need, hustle for scholarships and get that college GPA up for merit aid consideration for the following year.

    If a student’s GPA is much higher, then those students may have more leverage to negotiate with the college/university, AND.YOU.SHOULD.NEGOTIATE.

What other schools accepted you? 

  • Compare and contrast financial aid award letters. Do they all look the same? Is one school offering more/less than the desired school?
  • If another school accepted you and offered much more money, maybe that can be a leverage tool to the desired campus. Sometimes that works, other times it doesn’t.
  • The one school that wants you to attend their campus will show you not only in the way they try to recruit you into their summer programs, but also by their financial aid package.

There is always graduate school….and that is much more expensive. If you have your heart set on a school and it’s not offering you the money you need to afford the campus, save the school to attend for graduate school (if they offer your program).

Bottom line? A college education is an investment in your future, but being financially savvy is critical. $25,000 may seem like a lot of money (and it is) for a year of a college education, but in the grand scheme of a person’s lifetime, a college graduate will make that many times over in their lifetime, if the student is smart about their spending habits, their financial choices, and their hustle.  Don’t believe me, check out the research. 

The goal is to keep that college debt as low as possible. If another school is willing to help keep that debt low, then by all means, take that opportunity to keep the debt low!

If you are one of the few that will have to make out in the first year with a plate of loans, be smart about your future years in college, start making that scholarship list now (for next year), and hustle to improve those grades in your freshman year so that you open up more financial opportunities for yourself in the summer and for the following school years.

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