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Financial Aid and Parents Income.

dadfor2014dadfor2014 Posts: 526Registered User Member
I am a Dad whose Son will be going to College in 2014. My first time applying for any type of AID in my whole life. I paid mine College expenses 28 years ago by Working and Studying at same time, I guess those good Days are gone since the Tuition fees has increased at least 100 times what I paid then. So Son going to College in 2014 and Daughter will follow him in 2018..

I want to see how my income and assets play into the Financial Aid pkg.

1) I have a single family home with 2 mortgages and can safely say its under water or barely above water in today's housing mkt.
2) I am the only bread earner and my income is $105k per year before any Taxes.
3) Wife is a homemaker and has no income.
4) lot of debt from CC and 2 Car payments which will go for next 3 years.
5) No saving and and living paycheck to paycheck after paying the mortgages, CC bills and Property Taxes...
6) Son not working either but very good in Studies and expecting to score very high in ACT and 12 APs. GPA 4.0/5.89UW and 1/698 in current standing at HS..So definitely can pull some good Grants and Scholarship Money. Like to join OS schools if In state colleges dont offer him good $$$.. So basically will go whoever pay him the most $$ towards the Full ride. He is going for pre-med so after 4 yr of pre-med he be planning to join Med School. Thats the Plan..hope it works..

I try my EFC with Tier 1 Universities and they were coming around 15K to 20K.
So my question is how I can lower the EFC amount, and does the Debt and House being under water counts or Not. How I can convince the FAFSA and College that Parent cant pay for at least 3 years. I have a good income but my Bills will be killing me for at least 3-4 years. I wont be able to pay anything for first 3 years at least towards my Son education and expecting him to paid by College Aids, Grants and if possible Loans and Work Study programs.

Just looking for some help how to manage the Financial issues when talking to the Financial advisors and the FAFSA folks.

Thanks.
Post edited by dadfor2014 on
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Replies to: Financial Aid and Parents Income.

  • 2collegewego2collegewego Posts: 2,583Registered User Senior Member
    Many of the tippy top colleges do not give merit and, instead, use their money for financial aid. They usually use the FAFSA form (which doesn't count home equity) and the College Profile form (which is more extensive and looks at everything). Either way, neither your debt nor your expenses count. The mortgages don't matter for FAFSA but home equity won't hurt you on the Profile. I suspect that the $15K-$20K is what you are going to find if you look at schools that meet full need. If you look at public colleges, you are likely to find that out-of-state colleges do not meet need with only 1-2 exceptions-- but, again, that will still leave you responsible for too much.

    On the other hand, your son looks like he is in a good position to target merit scholarships. Has he taken the PSAT or any ACTs yet? If so, what were the scores?
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 19,231Registered User Senior Member
    The formulas are what they are, and it isn't likely at all that you will get a break on this. Accept that you can't afford the Tier 1s, and move on.

    Sit down and figure out what (if anything) you can pay for college. Think about how much you expect your child to contribute from his own summer and school year earnings, and how much debt you think is OK for him to take on. That will be your Actual Family Contribution (AFC).

    With that figure as a base, help your son work through the various threads here on guaranteed merit aid and competitive merit aid and the like. Help him come up with a solid list of places that will serve his educational needs, and that are either dead-on affordable because of guaranteed merit, or likely to be affordable because of competitive merit.

    If this kid is serious about med school, he needs to get through his undergrad years for as little as possible. If while he's doing that, you can also manage to claw your way out of your own debt and set something aside for emergencies, even better. With luck, by the time he hits med school, you may be able to chip in a bit for that.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,563Registered User Senior Member
    The way financial aid calculators work are that they are heavily income driven. They don't care about your debt. That's your problem. For FAFSA, the government EFC calculator, primary home values do not enter the picture at all. The schools that tend to me more generous overall with aid are those that use PROFILE, a private calculator, often called "instituional" and they do include primary home equity value as an asset but it appears as though that is a moot point since your home is liened up.

    Parental assets are assessed at 5.6% over an asset protection allowance that is determined by the number of dependents and the age of the oldest parent.

    So, it really comes down to your income. Any contributions you make to a 401K, HSA, IRA for the year under the glass, that can be deducted for tax purposes gets added back.

    Your EFC is an official figure calculated by FAFSA. There are some EFC estimators on the boards. That represents the least amount you pay before losing eligibility for federal aid. With what you have reported, you make too much for your kids to qualify for the PELL grant. Though most all schools will require you to fill out a FAFSA, those schools that use just that, do not tend to meet 100% or even close to it of need for most of their students. However, the more desirable you student is to a school, the better the chances that full need will be met. Those schools that tend to guarantee to meet need will generally require a PROFILE to also be filed, and that goes into more detail about your finances. The PROFILE schools generally are the more selective ones, also.

    So, it's the income that's targeted. By filling out some NPCs at some schools, you can get a good idea what various ones will expect you to pay.

    Since you have a good student with a shot at higher than average test scores, the best thing to do is to target those schools where his test scores will put him WAY up there and than have good merit awards. Those are your best bets to "beating" your EFC.
  • dadfor2014dadfor2014 Posts: 526Registered User Member
    He just took ACT 4/13 and scores are not out yet, but he thinks he can Pull ACT of 35-36 in 2 tries. He just took ACT again 4/23 and feels very good that he might get that score of 35-36. Will know soon. PSAT I forget what was his score (200+) but he told me he think he got the highest in his HS. We never realized when he took the Test that a good score can translates to good NMS $$. He took the Test very easily..

    I told him that what important is to finish 4 yr of college with as less debt and better GPA and MCAT, thats will be his ticket to Med school. We dont mind getting loans in Med School to make the difference since it will all payoff in later years.

    If he going to do a 4 yr degree in Finance,Engineering or other Liberal Art Program then I wont mind getting loans and get over with it but Med School is a different game..

    I really hoping that some good Tier 1 School gave him good Aid if his scores, letters and EC looks good to them and they really want him to represent them. we also looking at 6-7 yr Med school program at NWU and WUS and UM Florida. Those programs are hardest to get into even with good Merit..
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,563Registered User Senior Member
    The more name recognition a school has, is the general rule, the harder it is to get a lot of merit aid. It's going to be a tough go as "tier 1" privates are running in the $60K+ range. Even a $40K merit award, which is very difficult to get, leaves more than $20K to pay, which is right about where your EFC is anyways. THe way it usually works is that merit will reduce your need so will reduce you aid. Makes it tough to get that price down. Look at the schools with guaranteed merit awards and with generous awards. We have some lists up. Does he have a shot at National Merit? Did he make the state cut off for last year?
  • dadfor2014dadfor2014 Posts: 526Registered User Member
    @cptofthehouse
    No he has No shot at the NM because he got like 203 and I believe the cut off is around 216 for IL, definitely a low number..

    He looking at High reach schools like, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Duke, Harvard, Washington University St Louis, NorteDame, Stanford, Knox college IL.
    Easy Reach Schools, like University of Miami, FL. Miami University in Ohio, Ohia state university, University Of Alabama, NIU, and few others.
  • njmissy13njmissy13 Posts: 166Registered User Junior Member
    If you need aid - and merit - you need to not be looking at high reach schools. You will not get enough aid there because of your income, and you will get little or no merit if they are reach schools. He needs to focus on schools where he will be one of the top - so he can get high merit dollars.
  • dadfor2014dadfor2014 Posts: 526Registered User Member
    @njmissy13

    I strongly agree with you on this one, its just a long shot he want to try since he think he can get in and maybe a slight chance of getting the most Aid and few loans like 5-7k per yr.

    I dont mind if he get some loans and stay ~20K for 4 yr if the school is high reach like UC or Stanford or Harvard, but anything north of 25K for 4 year is not a wise decision as far as Finance goes especially he planning to go to Grad School for Med.
  • MD MomMD Mom Posts: 6,728Registered User Senior Member
    Pitt has merit money and a competitive guaranteed med school program.
  • dadfor2014dadfor2014 Posts: 526Registered User Member
    MD Mom
    We will add them to the list also. Actually we be seeing 5 schools next month they all coming to Chicago. I think Pitt is one of them. others are Duke,Stanford,Harvard and Georgetown.

    What people think about University of Miami and Miami University Ohio, Ohio State University and UMichigan Ann Arbor.
    I look at their Scholarships and they have very Generous $$$ offerings for students who can Qualify with good grades and high ACT Scores..

    My semester Tution fees was $700 in 1984. $90 per month Boarding and I thought that was high at that time. UAB,Tuscaloosa.. My kids dont believe me when I told them..
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,563Registered User Senior Member
    Your alma mater has some mighty fine awards too, like some of the best iin the countyr. Take a look at 'Bama as well.
  • MD MomMD Mom Posts: 6,728Registered User Senior Member
    You might also look at a book by Loren Pope named "Colleges that Change Lives." It focuses on some small colleges that have great acceptance rates to graduate and professional schools. It also presents information that makes you a more informed consumer.

    Ohio University also has some merit money and there is a merit money thread on the financial aid forum page.
  • dadfor2014dadfor2014 Posts: 526Registered User Member
    Yes UAB is one of our choice too and i did saw their awards, they have a good Med School also plus Crimson Tide :)
    Yes Ohio I am looking at 2 schools and both have affiliation with Med Schools and good merit money.
    also looking at Knox college in IL they have merit $$ also and very good acceptance rate to Med Schools.
    Their are many good schools to apply but then you have to pay application fees too which can Add up if you apply like 15 Schools.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 24,563Registered User Senior Member
    My college son applied to about 15 school but we only paid about half dozen or 5 app fees. As if there is a way they can be waived. Sometimes there is. Some schools will waive a fee if you apply on the spot at a visit which is even more expensive than the app fee.

    Make sure you check your list for scholarships that require paper work, sometimes separate apps to be sent in early. BC, Emory, Truman State, , BU, Villanova are some examples.

    Some top schools that give out big awards (very difficult to get them, harder than getting into HPY) are UC, Davidson, Duke, JHU, RIce, Emory, UNC Vanderbilt, Wake, Wash U, UVA, USC.
  • dadfor2014dadfor2014 Posts: 526Registered User Member
    Yes I did saw on some school applications they mention the Fees can be waived for needy applicants, I will try that too if possible.
    I did get few AP exam fees waived this year by talking to the School myself.
    I told them My son took 4 APs in sophomore and I paid for all 4, this year 4 more APs and Senior yr 4 more APs. School told me just pay whatever you can afford so I paid half of the fees. They were very cooperative.
    We be traveling to few schools in early summer and by august will start applying for Early Acceptance. I think by end of June my son will get his Final ACT Superscore. He not taking any SAT though just the ACT
    I guess I have to do my FAFSA this year with 2012 Tax Return and maybe update in Feb 2013.

    On West Coast we only interested in Stanford and on East Coast Harvard and Pitt.
    Then lots of Midwest schools and few schools in deep south.
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