Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.
Financial Aid Letter
January 31, 2016
How To Decipher a Financial Aid Letter
Financial aid awards are often confusing. I believe many colleges and universities intentionally make financial aid awards hard to decipher to trick families into thinking that their institutions are being generous even when they aren’t. Obfuscation is an effective way to keep parents off balance. Since we are heading into the season when students will be receiving their financial aid...
March 24, 2014
Don’t Be Tricked By Misleading Financial Aid Letters
FInancial aid letters are often confusing. I believe many colleges and universities intentionally make financial aid awards hard to decipher to trick families into thinking that their institutions are being generous even when they aren’t. Obfuscation is an effective way to keep parents off balance. Since this is the time of year when students are receiving their financial aid letters,...
March 27, 2013
A Financial Aid Letter That Gets It Right
Many colleges do a horrible job of presenting their financial aid awards in an easy-to-understand way. As I’ve been explaining in my last two posts, I believe this is largely intentional: What’s Wrong With This Financial Aid Letter Evaluating a Financial Aid Award Recognizing this shameful behavior, the federal government has created a financial aid template called the Shopping Sheet....
March 25, 2013
Evaluating a Financial Aid Award
This is the second day that I’m devoting to evaluating financial aid letters. If you missed it, here is the first post that I wrote on this important subject: What’s Wrong with This Financial Aid Letter? Today I’m sharing another financial aid award that I obtained from Paula Bishop, a CPA from Bellevue, WA, who received this letter from a...
March 15, 2012
Financial Aid Letters from Alabama, Ohio and Colorado
State universities are often the cheapest places to obtain a bachelor’s degree, but not always. In fact, for a smart student who needs financial aid, expensive private schools will sometimes be more affordable. Out here in California, a story that generated a lot of attention recently carried a variation of this headline: Believe It: Harvard Cheaper Than Cal State. Of...
March 9, 2012
Are These Financial Aid Letters Misleading?
If you didn’t see my college blog post from yesterday, I’d urge you to take a peek. I wrote about misleading financial aid awards, which can cause parents to think that a school is going to be more affordable than it really is. Here is the post: What’s Missing From This Financial Aid Letter? Today I want to offer three...
March 8, 2012
What’s Missing From This Financial Aid Letter?
Many financial aid letters — heck almost all of them — are confusing. I’ve always wondered why award letters are so difficult to understand. Perhaps the staffers generating these letters in the bowels of universities have been conversing in financial-aid speak for so long that they have lost their ability to communicate in standard English. Of course, the cynical explanation...
March 31, 2011
5 Ways to Increase Your Financial Aid Award
Note: Yesterday I promised that I’d share this post that I wrote last year when my son, who is currently finishing up his freshman year in college, was awaiting his financial aid awards. It’s a timely subject since so many families are routinely disappointed at the financial aid awards they are receiving. Student aid letters are hitting mailboxes across the...
March 25, 2010
College Scholarships: Can I Ask for More?
I heard this week from the mother of a college freshman at a private college in Texas, who posed this question: Is there any possibility of the school renegotiating my son’s scholarship if we made less money in 2009? Do most schools give money on a year-to-year basis? Let me explain why the answer to both questions is yes. First...
March 21, 2010
Student Aid: 5 Ways to Negotiate for More Financial Aid
Student aid letters are hitting mailboxes across the country this month. My son has been getting these financial aid letters and so have millions of other families. All this mail inevitably leads to a question that’s on many parents’ minds: If you are distressed with the dollar amount in a student aid letter, is it possible to negotiate for more...