In this Washington Post article, the author describes the frustration of getting into a dream school but not receiving (enough) Merit Aid to afford to go. Yeses become no's really quickly when you cannot afford the yes. I'm giving a scholarship seminar with Inspiring Test Prep on April 28 at 7:30 pm about finding, applying for, and winning non-university sponsored merit aid. This seminar will be too late for any current seniors, but can be very useful for parents of juniors and younger.
When my oldest applied to RISD, we told her that she could never, ever go without a substantial scholarship. She got in and quickly told them "thanks, but no thanks" after calculating her student loan debt and duration of payments. $70K for art school is just too much for this family to afford, and I do colleges for a living.
Most schools will not negotiate, although some, specifically Ohio schools, have been known to. (I'm hearing this is less and less the case now, though.) So, offsetting merit aid (which most in-state schools do not offer) is the only way to really go. Which is why when my oldest understood the need, she applied to so many scholarships--and has won well over $50K so far--enough to pay for two years at Virginia Tech. It's work, but then again, I have to work to make $50K too.
A College Counselor who asks and answers the tough questions.