Penn says “No Aid For You” — 3 Times! — Then, This…

Hot off the presses…

One of my favorite clients this year, a super-high achiever who deserved to get in everywhere because she had:

  • A RIDICULOUS number of AP classes
  • A staggering GPA
  • Perfect and near-perfect test scores
  • Amazing extracurriculars that would make any admissions officer’s heart melt;  and
  • The nicest, least entitled personality you’ll find

Did NOT get in everywhere, as it turns out.

In fact, she was waitlisted at several elite schools.

Thankfully, she got into one of her top choices from the wait list, but this story isn’t about that.

It’s about financial aid. THAT was an epic journey.

See, she received two offers from an Ivy and near-Ivy school that were pretty comparable, and, actually, very fair.

But when she got off Penn’s wait list, the award read like a slap in the face:


Ol’ Murphy laying down his law, again.

I tried to reassure the whole family, “I’ve seen this before from many schools, especially Penn.  Let’s appeal.”

I drafted a letter, they edited it, and off it went.

Denied.  Ugh.

“Fine,” I said.  “They don’t get it.  You’re self-employed, even though they’re an Ivy, the folks in the financial aid office aren’t accountants or bankers, and sometimes they don’t have any common sense.”

I asked them to request an explanation, which they did.

Denied.  Again.

Without an explanation.

“This is complete bull-schnitt” I said (paraphrasing).

“The least they can do is to give you an explanation.  I bet I know what their problem is, but I want them to tell us so we can try another approach.”

I’ll spare the details, but this bright idea didn’t go that well, either.

Finally, the financial aid office agreed to “escalate” to a manager, who said he’d take a look and get back to them by 5:00, on the very night they had to commit.

Talk about pressure!

Guess what they heard?

Crickets. Nothing from the manager.

“What happens if we commit anyway?” the mom texted.

“It’s not ideal, but I’d say do it, we can appeal later,” I texted back.

At 8:53 this morning (told you this was hot off the presses)  I texted “Any updates?”

They told me they heard nothing, but they committed last night and were planning on calling later today.

I told them, hold off, let’s see what happens first.

THEN….minutes later…

“Finally, Awesome news!!!”

Penn came back with $35,760 in free money, plus work-study and other aid!

“They sure don’t make it easy,” I said when we spoke on the phone.

How do you go from zero to almost $40,000?

I’m explain tonight.  In detail.

I’m teaching my new class, “How to Get Financial Aid and Merit Aid in Today’s Turbulent Times” for the Sea Cliff Library, but in a socially distanced, online way.

That means I’m doing a webinar!

Awesome news for you:  you can hit the jackpot too if you attend.

We start at 7pm EST sharp (will be recorded). Here’s where to sign up:

It’s free, but definitely worth your while to attend, either live or Memorex.

(If you think $35,760 is worth an hour of your time. )

-Andy “Early to Bed, Kinda Early to Rise” Lockwood

P.S.  That was a Ben Franklin reference, the founder of U Penn.  I’m kidding around, but I’m deadly serious about the impact our advice can have on you or any family who takes it:  the unaffordable college, suddenly, affordable!

Maybe I’ll catch you later.

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