Getting together enough money to attend your school of choice can be a financial nightmare, especially in difficult financial times. However, in some cases, tough financial times can actually benefit students–if you’re willing to wait a few months to see if additional financial aid becomes available from a school of your choice.
There are no guarantees, of course. However, with fewer students accepting spots at pricey schools because of the poor economy, many schools find themselves with extra money in the summer–along with extra incentive to negotiate, as empty enrollment spots aren’t the least bit beneficial for a school, either financially or in terms of morale. This is a financial aid phenomenon that’s called “the summer melt.”
So how do you get access to this kind of last minute funding? For starters, talk to someone in the financial aid office to see if this funding is available. Try to find someone who’s both sympathetic and (perhaps most important) knowledgeable about what’s actually available. If possible, a visit to the school, as opposed to phone calls and emails, can help you get to the bottom of things–and demonstrate to the financial aid office that the student in question is highly enthusiastic about the school and is a good fit. It helps, of course, if the student in question is someone that the school would really like to admit.