I've posted a more detailed account of this at my blog, but I will summarize here because I have read a lot of posts by people who are concerned with the overwhelming costs vs. return of higher education in landscape architecture.
The costs of attending school are high, and if you are attending an out-of-state and/or private university the costs can be astronomical. If you don't get your tuition covered by scholarships or by some other means, you will probably be in debt for a very long time. You can use this student loan calculator to see what I mean. So how do you go about getting scholarships? One way is through leveraging admittance to one school over another. Here's what I mean:
You apply and are accepted to schools A, B, and C. School A is an expensive private school, School B is a respected in-state school, and School C is less expensive in-state school with a good program but not necessarily known to be the best in the state. You first contact the head financial aid officer at School B and let them know that you would like to attend, but money is an issue. You also attach the acceptance letter to School C to show that you have other options. School B gives you a scholarship to entice you to accept. Now it looks like a top in-state school really wants you because they are offering you a scholarship. You use this as leverage to do the same thing at School A.
Using this technique absolutely works, and I know from personal experience. A friend of mine from Virginia did this and got the UT School of Law to agree to give her in-state tuition, a huge cost difference. I also followed this technique and received an additional $15k in scholarship funds at the grad school I am attending, and it was way easier and quicker than trying to write some scholarship essay.
Great info Thomas. We need more 'hacking of academia' in this country.