Does Waiting Until the Last Minute to Commit Help You Secure More Aid?

Clock with the hour hand on 12 and the minute hand on 54 minutes

Does Waiting Until the Last Minute to Commit Help You Secure More Aid?

Published April 28, 2024

Clock with the hour hand on 12 and the minute hand on 54 minutes

We are officially on our fifth of six kids applying to and going to college. The oldest three have already earned their bachelor’s degrees (two of them debt-free, the oldest with $10,000 in Stafford Loans. The fourth left college for the workforce and got his own apartment when his small liberal arts school closed. Now our fifth is deciding where to enroll. We have been paying for college since 2016 except this year, when we had no one enrolled. Right now, we barely have enough money saved to be able to pay for a semester or two at an affordable college. 

Even worse, we cannot afford to cash flow more than a thousand dollars a month toward college, plus we still have a ninth grader at home, not to mention my husband turns 60 this year. 

This is our reality. But it isn’t hopeless. Here’s where we are now.

Our Admission Stats

Our high school senior applied to three reach schools, three target, and ten safety schools. He was deferred, denied, and waitlisted at the reach schools respectively, but accepted at the three target schools, one with a gigantic gap between what we could afford and what it would cost, two within the realm of affordability, but not doable without a Stafford Loan and wiping out our savings. He got in at all the safety schools, one with a full ride, one with an almost full-ride scholarship, and the rest out of the realm of possibility without him and us going into crippling debt.

So what did we do? The one full ride has a 3.5 GPA requirement and only offers a minor in my child’s area of passion. The other full-ish ride is a commuter school, but we would have to pay for meals, books, fees, etc. 

How Playing the Waiting Game Can Pay Off

We decided to play the waiting game

We appealed for more aid at my senior’s top choice, the seemingly best-fit college. We’re still waiting for the final aid packages from most schools, but Net Price Calculators only look good at one of them. We wanted to see which colleges will offer a bigger discount if we commit.

Surprise! The top choice came back with a dollar amount we could easily afford, especially if they accept our health insurance and waive the requirement for school insurance.

3 Takeaway Points:

  1. Waiting to commit can add up to more aid at schools that want to ensure enrollment numbers are high.
  2. Appeals for more aid can work. An extra $5,000 matters to many of us.
  3. Appeals to waive the school health insurance and just use your own can be worth another $2.500.

_______

Use R2C Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

👉 Looking for expert help on the road to college? See our Preferred Partner List!

Other Articles You Might Like:

Mom of Four in College Shares Creative Ways to Pay for College

The Different Ways Families Pay for College

Financial Aid and More: How to Pay for College with No Money

JOIN ONE OF OUR FACEBOOK GROUPS & CONNECT WITH OTHER PARENTS: 

PAYING FOR COLLEGE 101

HOW TO FIND MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS

 

In this article:

Upcoming Events

Similar Articles for You

6 Types of Insurance for College Students and How to Save on Them

College Life

6 Types of Insurance for College Students and How to Save on Them

Navigating insurance options is essential for college students to protect their health, belongings, and finances. However, many people aren’t aware...

How to Write a College Essay That Works

Apply

How to Write a College Essay That Works

Millions of high school students apply for college each year, and many have to write at least one college application...

Dear Roadie, My College-Bound Daughter Is Upset About Leaving Our Senior Dog Behind. What Can I Do?

Advice

Dear Roadie, My College-Bound Daughter Is Upset About Leaving Our Senior Dog Behind. What Can I Do?

Dear Roadie, My daughter is getting ready to go away to college and she’s extremely upset about leaving our senior...

Become a Member

At Road2College you’ll find everything you need to make the admissions and paying for college process less stressful and more transparent.

TOOLS

Explore R2C Insights™ — your source for finding affordable colleges and merit scholarships.

Coaching

Get coaching on admissions and college financing.

Community

Join Road2College where parents and experts work together to inform and inspire college-bound families.