The Power of Negotiating: College Tuition

parents negotiating college tuition with educational advising help

Many employers offer real estate assistance as part of a comprehensive benefits package. Hunting for the right home at the right price can really drain employees' productivity, and help with negotiating a fair price is always welcome. A house is the largest investment most employees make, so many employers see real estate assistance as a natural fit with their work/life, retirement, and financial wellness programs.

Fewer employers give the same thought to the second biggest investment employees will make: their children's college education. Finding the right college at the right price (and the right fit)  involves similar devotion of time, energy, and funding as a home purchase. But without professional assistance, most parents don't realize that the cost of college can be as negotiable as the price of a house.

Help with Negotiating College Tuition

Last spring, College Coach worked with a significant number of employees to request increased financial aid and scholarship offers. Over 10% of employees who used the Paying for College service focused their counseling sessions on appealing financial aid awards or negotiating scholarships. We followed up with 90 of these employees and found that over half did in fact receive increased offers $3,000 per school on average. That makes for approximately $250,000 saved for this group of employees!

And did this quarter-million dollars of savings require significant investment of time and energy by employees? No. All it took was a brief phone call with a College Coach finance expert, a strategy for the best approach, and a quick email to the college. In most cases, all the employee had to do was ask!

College Planning & Financial Wellness Benefits

Unfortunately, most employees have limited access to high school guidance counselors and don't realize it's even possible to negotiate scholarship and aid packages. They accept a school's first offer, and with it, the financial burden now on their family a scenario that's almost unthinkable in the real estate world.

That's why forward-thinking employers take a holistic approach to employee financial wellness, incorporating college planning assistance in with more standard 401k, insurance, and real estate assistance programs. These employers, with an eye toward talent management, understand that putting families and work life balance at the center of their corporate culture gets the attention and engenders the loyalty of, good employees, furthering employee recruitment and employee retention goals.

Written by: Shannon Vasconcelos

About the Author

Shannon works with Bright Horizons Education & College Advising corporate clients to deliver college financing workshops and provide personalized counseling to employees. She has over 10 years of experience in student financial assistance, at Boston University and Tufts University, and has also served as an active member of MASFAA’s Early Awareness and Outreach Committee, as a trainer for DOE’s National Training for Counselors and Mentors, and as a volunteer for FAFSA Day Massachusetts.