Jump to content
mfmpp

Arranging for more funding?

Recommended Posts

Is it advisable to approach my admits about more funding?  I'm in at Wisconsin, Hopkins (through the Bloomberg School), Duke, Michigan, Berkeley and Georgetown.  I've been offered some funding at Duke and Hopkins, and have yet to hear back from Wisconsin and Georgetown.  (Offered nothing at Michigan and Berkeley.)  I'd love to see about more funding at both Duke and Hopkins and to see if I can leverage Berkeley a bit, which a friend and current MPP student suggested I do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A number of my colleagues have encouraged me to advocate for myself and to try to negotiate funding offers between programs. However, I don't know if there's some cure-all template in doing so.

I personally wouldn't try to leverage funding offers between every program I was accepted into; only try to ask the programs you really, really would like to go to if you could afford to. Then you can reiterate that to them however you wish: "This program is my top choice for this, that, and the other thing, and I would absolutely attend within a reasonable cost." You could mention that you have received comparable funding offers from other programs, but I'd be wary about sharing too much of this information (they might follow up to ask which school in particular, and/or exactly how much). Even if you formulate the perfect ask, you could very well receive a "No" for one reason or another.

It would be great if more folks who have been successful at this inquiry could share their experiences; I'm pretty sure there have been other topics related to this, if you haven't searched already.

Edited by RCtheSS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Silly logistical question: is this the sort of conversation that's better had by phone or over e-mail?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, RCtheSS said:

I personally wouldn't try to leverage funding offers between every program I was accepted into; only try to ask the programs you really, really would like to go to if you could afford to. Then you can reiterate that to them however you wish: "This program is my top choice for this, that, and the other thing, and I would absolutely attend within a reasonable cost."

1

I think this is probably the best strategy - I don't know how effective it would be to go to Berkeley and say, "Hey- Duke offered me $X.XX, can you match that." Programs have different funding capabilities (private vs. public university/big vs. small/etc.), but if you make it clear that its where you really want to be and that you need the assistance to help make that possible, I think that can work well for you. 

1 minute ago, mfmpp said:

Silly logistical question: is this the sort of conversation that's better had by phone or over e-mail?

I'd recommend emailing your question and, in the same email, asking if you could discuss the issue further by phone (if you feel like you need to).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely do try to get more funding. If you do it in a non-insulting manner, the absolute worst thing they will do is say, "Sorry, we think you're an excellent candidate for our program but unfortunately we do not have extra funding available at this time." I'd recommend through email because the decision isn't going to be made in the moment and will need to be discussed, and an email can be more easily sent to a group of people than a hastily-scribbled note. I haven't asked around for success stories for MPP/MPA/MA IR programs, but requesting more funding is a time-honored tradition for law school that includes many success stories.

There are plenty of templates out there, so choose whichever one feels best to you (or you can make your own). One example from "The Art of Applying":

Send the letter via email to whomever you received the financial aid package from.

Subject: Funding decision appeal letter from recently admitted candidate

Dear _______________,

Thank you for the generous offer of admission and the fellowship aid in amount of $x.

[Insert school name you are writing to here] is my top choice for graduate school, and I would love to join the incoming class. However, before I am able to commit to joining the class, I wanted to let you know about the other offers I received and request that you consider increasing my fellowship aid.

My current financial aid package includes grant aid of $x and a stipend of $x.

I also received the following offers for fall entry:

Johns Hopkins SAIS: $x per semester + $x stipend
Columbia SIPA: $x per semester + $x stipend
[List the rest of the schools in descending order of generosity of award or in descending order of prestige. You may just want to focus on the most prestigious schools or the ones that gave you the most money]

I request that [insert school name] match the offer made by [insert name of most generous school that is in the same general league of prestige] to grant aid of $x and a stipend of $x.

Once again, I would like to emphasize how grateful I am to be offered a place in the incoming class. As I am committed to a career in public service after graduation, my financial aid package is a crucial factor in my decision making process.

I have attached scanned PDF copies of my award letters from the aforementioned schools. [Make sure you actually attach the award letters.]

Please let me know if I can provide any additional information to aid you in making your decision.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Olive H. Kayess

Edited by Ben414

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, RCtheSS said:

You could mention that you have received comparable funding offers from other programs, but I'd be wary about sharing too much of this information (they might follow up to ask which school in particular, and/or exactly how much)

Do you have any particular reason for being wary of opening saying how much you've been offered by another program? I'd like to be able to bargain from a credible position. 

@Ben414, thanks for posting that template!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, mapiau said:

Do you have any particular reason for being wary of opening saying how much you've been offered by another program? I'd like to be able to bargain from a credible position. 

@Ben414, thanks for posting that template!

That's just a personal preference of mine. I'm not sure how a program office would read into a bulleted list of each offer as described in the above template. I would not list the other offers in detail that I had received unless they pushed me on it. I'm not laying all my cards out on the table, so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, RCtheSS said:

That's just a personal preference of mine. I'm not sure how a program office would read into a bulleted list of each offer as described in the above template. I would not list the other offers in detail that I had received unless they pushed me on it. I'm not laying all my cards out on the table, so to speak.

Right, and many templates don't explicitly mention the other offers they've received. I can see the pros and cons of different approaches, and my decision would probably be based on several factors. Some schools don't offer stipends to anyone, so if I received a full ride and stipend to WWS, it's going to be hard to convince Indiana that I would seriously consider them if they offered me a full ride. If I received a full ride to Duke and Michigan offered me nothing, saying I received a full ride at a peer school and that I really think Michigan is a good fit but I can't justify the $80,000 difference--I think that would be very effective. If I didn't have any offers that I thought the school would find convincing, I would not state my other offers.

The same thing goes for mentioning a specific amount you would want. If I was 100% not willing to attend a school unless I received a specific level of funding--and I didn't think I would get more than that amount--I would state that in the letter. If I was just trying to get more funding from my choices in a general sense, I would not mention a specific amount.

OP, I think there's a number of questions you would need to ask yourself before writing the email.  Think about the different approaches and which works best for your situation. You may even decide you need different templates for different schools.

Good luck!

Edited by Ben414

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, irapplicant1776 said:

Is it even worth asking a top 3 program to match an excellent but less prestigious program?

IMO it depends which schools you're specifically talking about. Regardless, you can always pen a request for more funding without having to explicitly mention you want them to match the offer of another school. You can merely mention you appreciate the offer, you think you're a good fit for them because of so and so, and you'd love to go there, but unfortunately money is an issue that has to be considered, and more funding will make it more likely that you can afford to choose them. There are plenty of templates if you google for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please do negotiate your offer via email, and be sure that you really do want to attend the school if they give you more money. So I would probably only ask one school to negotiate. You can ask them to try to match the highest offer you got if you really want to attend this one instead. Be prepared to email them solid proof of how much you were offered - I had to forward to Duke my letter from USC when I was negotiating. Don't think of this as a way to get as much money as possible - if you and this school both want you to enroll at this school, then put your cards on the table, and ask them to help you find a way to do so. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to try this Monday! I might phrase it like "I know graduate school is an investment but at this point in my life, I do not feel comfortable taking about xxx in loans. Are there any opportunities for additional funding in the future? If not, I am going to work for a few more years and reapply. Thank you." 

Or some version of this after I think about it for more than 1 minute. I can't really ask anyone to match funding bc I didn't get much from anywhere :P Sad life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was able to get two of my schools to increase their funding: one from 75% to 100% and the other from 50% to 100% + RA-ship. I have to get back to a third school because they asked me to send them my other offers so they can reconsider my 50% fellowship. I was wondering if anyone had any insight on whether I should send ALL other offers or just the ones that are above what the third school is offering. For example, I got 50% each year from SIPA. There is only a slight difference between what SIPA and what the third school is offering so is it even worth sending? 

 

Thanks ! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone ever asked for more money from the school that offered you the most funding of all? I'd like to ask about additional funding from one school but I don't have any offers that top it in terms of actual dollar amount. I also don't want to come off as ungrateful or disingenuous. On the reverse side of that, what about leveraging an offer from a lower ranked school to land more money at a higher ranked school? I would be happy attending any of the schools I applied to but for me money is one of the major deciding factors. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, isabellewright said:

I was able to get two of my schools to increase their funding: one from 75% to 100% and the other from 50% to 100% + RA-ship. I have to get back to a third school because they asked me to send them my other offers so they can reconsider my 50% fellowship. I was wondering if anyone had any insight on whether I should send ALL other offers or just the ones that are above what the third school is offering. For example, I got 50% each year from SIPA. There is only a slight difference between what SIPA and what the third school is offering so is it even worth sending? 

 

Thanks ! 

Only somewhat related, but I send you a PM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.