Monday, April 20, 2009

College Counselor or Sports Agent?

Seen Jerry Maguire? Remember that famous scene and phrase? Click below if you need a refresher. Funny scene. Seen it many times. Still funny.

Okay. Senior parents. Our kids are Rod Tidwell's, aren't they? Talented. Gifted. Full of passion. Brimming with potential. Stars on the rise. If only they could get more $$$$...

What you want is a sports agent. A Jerry. Someone to get the FA folk to show your kids the money.

I hear you.

But I'm not Jerry. I'm not a sports agent. I don't do financial aid. Those are a different set of people. And from what I've learned: admission people. Love. Financial aid people. No love. Especially now.

You need more money. What can you do.

First. You can ask for an appeal on your student's financial aid packet. Are there any "extraneous expenses" that you couldn't report on the FAFSA that you did on the Profile? If so, see if you can submit the Profile. If not, then at least make a list of those expenses to submit for review by FA folk. And follow up with a phone call. Phones are slammed these days. And some FA folk may be on lock down. Stay persistent. If you are in driving range, you may want to schedule a face-to-face. The overaching goal here: tell the whole story. Some things just can't be conveyed on financial forms or even in a letter.

Second. If you have multiple offers, then use that as negotiating leverage. Be polite, of course. But let colleges know what you have received from school A and ask that they please try to match it.

Third. Consider the "L" word. Or in this case, the "PLUS" acronym. That stands for the "Parents Loans for Undergraduate Study." These variable rate loans are available, regardless of need, in amounts equal to the cost of their student's annual education. PLUS can become a parent's best friend in meeting the EFC [Expected Family Contribution. Or as I like to put it: the part of the bucket you are asked to fill] and working through the cash flow crunch of the college years - and particularly, within this economy.

And finally. Multiple 1st choice schools. This is why we preach 6 first choice schools. So that if you have to go to School 2 or School 3 on the list because of fiances, you know your student will fit and thrive at that school!