"Houston, we've had [another] problem..."
The College May Look at Money BEFORE It Awards Merit.
Good Rule of Thumb: NEVER "Show Them The Money."

Please see the quotes below from some colleges and college enrollment managers.  Then click on the article at left. 

“in leveraging, colleges try to figure out how likely applicants are to actually enroll in their institutions and make admissions decisions and financial aid offers accordingly. [sic] likewise colleges use leveraging to negotiate-deciding when to make counter-offers.”
~ President, Earlham College
“I think some have gone too far down the merit aid road and without even intending it have destabilized the admission process and turned it into a bidding war.” 
~ President, Grinnell College
“The current guiding principle in marketing colleges is attracting as many students as possible.  We sell the sizzle but not the steak, and we market ourselves against our competitors instead of making students aware of the essential elements that distinguish our own college from other institutions.”
~ Enrollment Manager, Pace University, NY.
“We talk to students about our new dorms and our new gym.  Sometimes I feel like I’m doing a time-share sales pitch and all I need are balloons to complete the effect.” 
~ Dean of Admissions, Pomona College
“A student’s willingness to pay is the most important factor in determining the size of an aid package” 
~ Enrollment Manager white-paper, “Connecting Enrollment and Fiscal Management”
"It's a zero-sum game.  There is a finite number of prospective students out there.  Are [we] going to get them or is [our] competitor?  ...I'm going to go out there and try to eat their [competitor colleges] lunch."  ~ Enrollment Manager, College in OR
"They have changed financial aid - from a tool to help low-income students to a strategic weapon to entice wealthy and high-scoring students..."  ~ The Atlantic, May 2005
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