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Old 07-10-09, 11:16 AM   #1
phantomcow2
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Pressing financial aid

I now realize that financial aid is a malleable system. My parents both got raises last year, but this raise was due to the fact that both of their jobs were transferred to MA from NH; the additional income, as clearly stated on each pay stub, is meant to be compensation for the state income tax MA charges (NH doesn't have income tax) and commute costs; we don't actually have additional disposable income.

When I got my aid package notice 3 weeks ago I didn't like what I saw and asked for more. I provided no documentation -- nothing, just sent an email to financial aid saying that I disagree with their decision. Five days later I get a new aid notice in the mail. By asking nicely they gave me an extra $1500 for the year. I was pleased, but I'm a good student and feel like I deserve a scholarship; my GPA was 3.8 when I transferred in, I had all the letters of recommendations and don't understand why I didn't get one. I called them to ask why I wasn't awarded a merit scholarship, they said they had no idea and would look into it.

I also got my mom to call and give them the "I graduated in 1980 from the college and have been donating since" message. They asked for documentation proving our financial circumstances and we provided. Today I got a new aid package. They gave me a $3000 dollar scholarship but removed my grant by the same amount . Is this a game? I called, they said it's a correction to my last notice which was a response to my first inquiry for more money. Financial aid also told me that my appeal is pending and I can expect a new notice within a week.

So how hard can I push here? Is it common practice to give scholarships and reduce grants equivalently? I don't understand this .
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Old 07-10-09, 11:32 AM   #2
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No it isnt. It sounds like someone is trying to find a way for the university to only be on the hook for X dollars, while you still have the major portion of it to repay. If they feel you deserve a scholarship, you should still get any need based grants, and the difference should be removed from your student loans, if any.
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Old 07-10-09, 11:36 AM   #3
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I also got my mom to call and give them the "I graduated in 1980 from the college and have been donating since" message.
Let me know if that works, we've been wondering if there's a price tag that would help our kids down the road if they wind up going to school where we did. We were kinda thinking buying a bench in the garden wouldn't cut it, and naming a building would be overkill (not that we can do that anyway). Even the bench is probably more than our donations will total...

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So how hard can I push here? Is it common practice to give scholarships and reduce grants equivalently?
That sounds like they haven't adjusted their view of what you should pay. From their standpoint, however, I believe a scholarship represents actual money they're giving you from some pot they have, whereas a grant is just dropping the price they're asking you to pay (and they compensate for that by getting some other person to pay the full sticker price).
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Old 07-10-09, 11:44 AM   #4
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Seems odd. This semester my school gave me both a scholarship (which was supposed to expire last year haha) and a hefty need-based grant. I wonder why they would take away your grant. I would definitely look into it.
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Old 07-10-09, 12:32 PM   #5
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Phantomcow - there IS the matter of Cost of Attendance (COA) - sometimes, an increase in some types of gift aid necessitate a decrease in other types of aid, UNTIL the FA Office can process through adjustments to the actual need analysis - which tells the school how much the family should be able to contribute towards the cost.

The formula is: Cost of attendance minus Family contribution = NEED. The cost of attendance is actual and estimated costs - actual college tuition and fees, room & board, etc., plus estimated amounts for books, travel, entertainment, etc. A college can make adjustments to its COA whenever they WANT TO (non-federal aid is limited and therefore rationed! When they give it out, it's gone!) The Family Contribution calculation is set by Congress - all a school can do is tinker with the formula components. For instance, a school can chose to update a particular student's family income from the base year (2008) to current year (2009) if, say, a parent has lost their job. They can choose to offset income for natural disasters or major medical expenses. Any tinkering like that can only be done on a case by case basis, and requires that the school re-process the student's aid application through the Federal Govt. - Changes made this way apply ONLY to the school that made them, and a school is NOT required to make any changes. Aside from that, some scholarships are considered not to be interchangeable - sometimes a student's qualification for one scholarship negates his or her eligibility to receive a different scholarship. Sometimes, academic tuition waivers or scholarships cannot replicate state grants for aid - it's a complex mix, and I would suggest that you wait for your final award before you request an appointment to figure out what the story is.....
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Old 07-10-09, 01:20 PM   #6
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Old 07-10-09, 02:12 PM   #7
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Are you bored? If you want to give crap then GTFO.
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