You've Heard From The Schools, Now The Real Game(Financial Aid) Began

As the thick envelopes roll in this time of year, many families find themselves declining acceptance offers to their preferred (and often more expensive) schools in favor of the option that makes the most financial sense. Enter the financial aid award and the beginning of an elaborate dance. Parents facing layoff notices and losses in personal income and equity are naturally preparing to go to bat with the admissions office to negotiate the more competitive aid packages. What they're often finding is not much wiggle room. In the case of Boston University, profiled in a great Times article from this past weekend, haggling for more dollars may result in an additional $500 to $2,000. While BU is offering the same level of financial aid this year as last, there's perhaps a great emphasis on being strategic with how those dollars are allocated. In other words, the select tier of high-achieving students targeted by BU is more likely to have their family need met or exceeded through need-based and merit-based aid. Other admits will receive need-based aid packages that fall short of expectations, and BU readily admits the student will probably never enroll.

Santa Clara University which runs $46,000 annually for tuition, room, and board is having alumni phone every admitted student in an effort to stem the attrition of admits heading to other schools.

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