When it comes to going to college, there is only one notification more significant than being admitted: the financial aid package. But unlike getting in, it's rarely black and white.
"The reality is that a lot of colleges will negotiate, they just don't advertise this," said Eric Greenberg, president of Greenberg Educational Group, a New York-based consulting firm.
Financially, there is a lot at stake. With college costs steadily increasing, tuition is a major concern when selecting a school for this year's high school seniors.
At public four-year institutions, costs for the 2015–16 school year rose to $19,548 from $16,178 five years ago, according to the College Board. Tuition plus room and board at four-year private universities was much higher: $43,921 on average.
To ease the pain of that hefty tab, appealing for more aid "could add up to tens of thousands of dollars over four years," said Kalman Chany, a financial aid consultant and author of the Princeton Review's "Paying for College Without Going Broke." Here's how to increase that initial offer.