Dear Financial Aid Office: Please Give Us More Money. Pretty Please.


To attend or not to attend: that is the question for high school seniors who have been fortunate enough to be accepted into their dream school. Yet, in actuality, there is no question of any kind when your finances are involved—just the harsh, in-your-face truth. You either can afford the jaw-dropping cost of tuition, or you can’t.

Consider this scenario. The overworked and exhausted seniors, after months of waiting, finally get the thick letters and electronic notifications of acceptance from colleges. All is well—great, even—until they see that dreaded price tag. In desperation, they check their own bank account, their parents’ bank account, then back to their financial aid award letter. This process is repeated a couple of more times, until the numbers jump up from the page, slaps you across the face, giving you a big reality check. Well, there goes that naiveté.

By now they’ve already gotten into their “safety” schools, and have received a great financial package. Problem solved, right? What’s with all the unnecessary trauma and stress? Just pick that “safety” school already, your fate is sealed. Let’s remember that this is free money we’re talking about here. And these schools are giving it away, just like that. And think of the glorious, carefree life ahead of you: no college loans, no pressure. And not getting into your dream school isn’t the end of the world, according to those college grads who’ve been there and done that.

And true, many people will choose this option. Then there are others who are all just that desperate. And I mean really desperate. There will most likely be calling of financial aid offices, the humble begging for more money, and for their mercy. There is no shame here, just anguish and desolation. These seniors are not letting their four years of hard work go down the drain just yet. Some people just can’t—or won’t—let go. Some call this determination. Others call this stupidity.

And so, the debate and distress continues. Well, not really. The deadline for enrolling is coming up right around the corner.


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