Tackling College Financing

Lisa has asked me over and over again to post. I have been hesitant to do so because I’m not an expert in this area. All I can do is let you know how our family got through paying for two college educations.

This all started when my oldest daughter decided to accept an offer from Stanford University to attend. You can imagine the costs involved to go there for four years. The numbers are staggering. During a parent’s weekend, we attended a financial aid meeting. At this meeting, the head of financial aid made a statement that I will never forget and made all the difference in our being able to pay for the next four years of college. He essentially said, “We want your child to attend our school, and we will help you in any way that we can to assist you in meeting the financial obligations.” I took him for his word. I had heard or read somewhere along the way that you can negotiate with financial aid to help bring down costs. In my mind, all they could say is no.

After filling out the student profile and Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA), we got the little printout that said we could afford to send our daughter to Stanford….NOT TRUE!. The application does not allow you to explain or give your total financial picture. The initial aid package offered by Stanford was tiny. So, what do we do now? I decided to contact the head of financial aid directly and explain our situation. He said to send him all the documentation that would give him a better picture of what we were dealing with financially. I did. I bombarded him with every piece of paper I could find. It took some work and going back and forth, but I was able to get a comfortable financial aid package for our daughter and family. I had to negotiate every year that she attended. It was definitely worth the time and effort to lessen the financial shock and the stress that comes with it.

Okay, it worked for Stanford but will I be able to do the same negotiating for my youngest.

USC didn’t know what hit them!