What NOT to Say to Your Financial Aid Officer
If you’re planning to pay for your child’s college education, meeting with financial aid officers can be a stressful exercise, but a necessary one. But there are 3 things you should never tell them during the interview. Read on to find out what those 3 things are.
1. Never tell them that you don’t know how much money you need. Telling the officer this can reveal a lack of commitment on your part. A simple calculation of how much you can afford minus what college will cost will provide a ballpark of the amount of money needed. A lack of research can be misconstrued as a lack of concern.
2. Never claim that another school offered you more financial aid. Whether it’s true or not, playing this card rarely ends well. The financial aid officer on the other side of the table is there to help you. By appearing like you really don’t need their help, you probably won’t get it. They will probably – and rightfully – move on to a family who is more worthy of their time and effort.
3. Never compare the amount of money they’ve given to someone else to what they’re offering you. Your financial aid officer is not there to conduct and auction on your behalf. They’re there because they assume you really need the help. Every family’s circumstances and needs are different and should be handled as such. Trying to barter by comparing the amount of money granted to someone else indicates a lack of trust in the financial advisor you’ve asked to help you.
The bottom line is that your financial aid officer is there to help you, and that can only be accomplished if both parties are honest and respectful.
Weird thing to add on to this, but meet with a financial aid counselor. Even if you think you don't qualify. My parents thought I wouldn't, but I talked with financial aid anyway. I did end up qualifying for some government help.
Great article! A few other tips: 1. Never use the word "negotiate" with financial aid. They don't negotiate. 2. Document, document, document. If you're asking for more money, you'll have a better shot at getting it if you can provide documentation of your family's financial circumstances that you think need to be considered. Financial aid officers can only give you more if they can justify it to both their bosses and the Federal government. 3. Poor a huge salt shaker of salt on any stories the family down the street tells you about how they got a huge increase in financial aid just by asking. Most schools are willing to listen to your reasons for needing more money, but in most cases, any increase after appeal will be relatively small. Still, it never, ever hurts to ask (politely) for financial aid to take a second look at your information.