College Financial Prep: Negotiating Your Way To Your Best Offer

 Vicki Vollweiler
February 4, 2021

College Financial Prep:
Negotiating Your Way To Your Best Offer.

Vicki Vollweiler

I had an awful experience this past weekend.  I’m a divorced mom and I found a flood in my basement.  I was absolutely ready to panic!!!  After I had some help by phone locating my water main to turn off the water in the house, so that the oil burner would stop pouring water out all over the floor, I needed to try and find a repair guy.  The emergency technician comes and says the heating system is very old, cracked and I need a new one.  So now I’m now left in my house with no heat and no hot water.

I did manage to get a couple of estimates the next day and decided to move forward with the company that provided the second estimate.  They were able to come on Monday, thank goodness!

So by now, you’re wondering why I am even writing this…and how does it all relate to college and paying for college…

I had decided to be courteous and reached out to the gentleman who provided me with the initial replacement estimate to let him know that I decided to go with a different company.  Immediately, he asked if he could give me a lower price.  I said no for a couple of different reasons that extended beyond just cost.  

This whole exchange with him, though, got me very annoyed!  “Why can’t everyone, for all products and services, automatically provide you with the best price?  Why does everything need to be a game (and a hassle?)  And why does it seem like every price needs to be negotiated?”  And this is where college and paying for college comes in.

As many of us who are Gen X’ers have likely seen, every other news article talks about our collective excessive debt as well as our lack of retirement savings.  We all need to be so careful when it comes to paying for college, especially when we’re separated or divorced and finances are usually that much tighter!!

So, now why am I writing all of this?  Because, like the cost of replacing a heating system, college is an expensive endeavor.  It needs to be thoroughly researched and negotiated.  It is important to not only research the school’s programs and reputation, but also what your forecasted cost will be (which is likely different from the family who lives next door to you!)  It’s especially important to forecast these costs before even submitting college applications to know whether or not you can afford to consider certain schools.  And then, even when you do receive your financial aid offer after your college acceptance, guess what?  It is possible to further negotiate!  There are many different reasons to negotiate.  Some require more time and details than others.  And every school’s response may be different from one another.  But the fact remains, it is possible for the school to not provide you with its best offer.  Just like the first heating company did to me…  

If you have any questions concerning the college financial aid, scholarship and student loan process, feel free to reach out.  College Financial Prep is here to help.  We believe that when it comes to college, you should be well informed and confident that all was done to maximize your savings, minimize your costs and reduce your need for student loan debt. 

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