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Asking for more financial assistance?


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Hi! This is my first time posting so please forgive any message board mess-ups. Here's the deal. I've gotten in to my top choice graduate program for my Masters in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute at Chicago. This is fantastic! I have received some grant money and some loan money. I have been working a fun although poor-paying job since the completion of my undergraduate degree in 2008 so have little money to contribute. This would be fine as I have saved some money - but of course, I fracture my right hand and have some weird pinched nerve in my elbow. At this point, I am unable to work and am still awaiting disability/potential surgery so not only am I not saving, I am spending what I have saved to pay rent/eat.

In this turn of events, I have heard back from my prospective graduate schools. SAIC is just as expensive as the other schools I've applied to (CCA, NYU, etc..) and has offered me the best package. Is it totally unheard of to speak with your future advisor/financial aid to lay out a changing financial need situation? Do schools try to help out Masters students if they ask?

I had fantastic luck with my undergraduate institution with this, as they had the money and would give it to you if you asked, basically. I have almost no undergraduate loans because of it. I'm just wondering how this game is played and I certainly don't want to step on any toes, especially of those that may help me out later on! Thanks!

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I have just negociated a bit my package for a PhD at another school (in the UC system, despite the so called crisis!) From what I know, it is totally acceptable to negociate with the place where you really want to go, in order to make it possible to attend. Considering your medical situation and the fact that you got a better offer elsewhere, they should a) understand why you ask, B) be sympathetic and c) be slightly afraid to lose you...

Just explain the situation and say that you are hesitant to make the leap because of financial concerns... If you are considerate in your demand, there is no reason why they should be offended!

Good luck both with school and with you arm!

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