Los Angeles Times’ Ask ED Q&A

Dear Ed,

My son was accepted to only one of the 11 colleges he applied to.  Except for workstudy and some Stafford loans, the college didn’t offer us much.  Even though we weren’t sure how we could afford it, we sent in the requested deposit.  Is it too late to get more aid?

Hillary, parent, Arcadia, CA

It is never too late to try to “negotiate” with a school.  Though a number of colleges have no-negotiation policies and will not match other colleges’ aid offers, there are others that can be a little more approachable.  Depending on the amount a college has historically given in gift aid, where your child ranks among his or her freshman class and your expected family contribution, you may be able to get more aid.  Write a letter to the school’s admissions department. Be polite, thank them for their generosity and refrain from using words like “negotiate,” “deal,” “bargain,” etc.  Your best approach is to explain your special circumstances and point out your doubts about being able to meet your expected family contribution or obligations.

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