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Financial Aid for Middle Class

RachelgreefRachelgreef Posts: 1Registered User New Member
Is it possible for a middle class family to receive some sort of financial aid in order to afford a private university? If so, what kind? Anything specific?
Post edited by Rachelgreef on

Replies to: Financial Aid for Middle Class

  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Posts: 5,629Registered User Senior Member
    There have been a number of threads that have discussed this issue at length . . . do a search of the financial aid forum for thread titles containing the word "middle."

    The short answer, though, is to focus on merit aid, either automatic or competitive. You can start here:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/1348012-automatic-full-tuition-full-ride-scholarships-7.html#post15895768
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/1461983-competitive-full-tuition-full-ride-scholarships.html#post15492681

    But that is, really, just the tip of the iceberg - there are hundreds of schools that offer varying amounts of merit aid to students whose stat's are above the norm for that school. Just start looking . . . focusing on schools where the student's stat's are at or above the top range for the school.

    And, yes, there are also schools with generous enough need-based aid policies that even a middle class family can qualify for assistance . . . but I'll let someone else answer that question.
  • BobWallaceBobWallace Posts: 1,498Registered User Senior Member
    I suggest reading the financial aid FAQ first - it's a sticky at the top of this forum.
  • MSNDISMSNDIS Posts: 216Registered User Junior Member
    I guess it depends on what you mean by middle class. I consider ourselves middle class and our older D is a junior at a state university and she has been full pay. The only FA she's ever been offered are Parent Plus loans. My husband's salary has paid for college the last three years and we live off my salary. My husband worked for Hostess which went out of business in November and he is currently re-training and should have a job in January (I hope).

    Our younger D will be a college freshman next year and she applied to two private colleges with the understanding that unless she received great financial aid, she wouldn't be able to attend. She is a good student but not a spectacular student (no 2400 SAT and 4.0 unweighted GPA). She does have a rigorous courseload though which has prepared her well for college. She also applied to three state colleges. Both private colleges had net prices below all of the state colleges (and that includes travel). Both of the private colleges are on the other side of the country and I assume they wanted someone from our state to attend for geographic diversity purposes. Our D is also not interested in their most popular majors and her desire to be in less popular majors could have also helped with her FA packages.

    Since my husband is currently unemployed our income has definitely decreased and using the CSS Profile probably helped us explain our financial situation better than the FAFSA since he received almost a full year of pay from Hostess. Both private colleges required the CSS Profile for financial aid and none of the state colleges required it. We know that as our income rises after my husband goes back to work we'll have to pay more for the private college than we probably would for a state college but we'll have the money since my husband will be employed again.

    So . . . my advice would be to apply, submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile as early as possible and keep your fingers crossed. Also, make sure your S/D knows that attending the private college will only be possible if the FA package makes it affordable.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 57,745Registered User Senior Member
    Is it possible for a middle class family to receive some sort of financial aid in order to afford a private university? If so, what kind? Anything specific?


    Anything specific? How can we give any specifics when the only detail provides is the very vague "middle class". We have no idea what that means to you. We have no idea what your parents have in assets/savings.

    We also don't know what kind of stats you have to determine whether you might get accepted to the schools that give the best aid. Many privates don't give much aid, even if you're poor.

    Please give us more info.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 22,557Registered User Senior Member
    Financial aid covers grants, loans and work study. I look at the grants, because as far as I am concerned, you are just putting off payment with loans, and one can always find a job. But most aid available has been in the form of loans, and getting a lot of grant money is very difficult.

    Most of the money comes from the schools, particularly grant money. The only thing that the federal government gives out is PELL, and the maximum amount is about $5600 a year, and it's for those with very low EFC. A student can take out $5500 in loans, under most circumstances, regardless of need,with some of it subsidized if there is need. That's all the feds guarantee. $11,100 max for the poorest familes, with the $5500 loan part pretty much guaranteed for all. Everything else is dependent upon your state (some have tuition plans like Georgia's HOPE, Florida's Bright Futures for good students' others have money for families under a certain level like the California plans and NY's TAP), your school. and your qualifications. Your parents have to qualify for loans to borrow anymore, and the terms can be onerous.

    Of all of the factors, the schools can come up with the biggest amounts of money. Schools have their own money and can distribute it pretty much as they please. You have high test scores or anything else they really want that year, and you can get merit money, scholarships. Some schools give out financial aid close to what they determine is need. The vast majority of schools do not meet need.
  • collegedadnhcollegedadnh Posts: 143Registered User Junior Member
    I sympathize with the middle class sentiment and it definitely feels like we're caught in the middle of college financing. Not poor enough to qualify for much aid and not rich enough to afford college. To the OP, I suggest googling best college values and you'll find valuable information. For top students, the middle class makes out ok since the high end universities and colleges have huge endowments and are very generous with need-based grants. Otherwise, the best bet will be your own state university or a school that you would rank at the high end of the applicant pool.
  • 4kidsdad4kidsdad Posts: 2,293Registered User Senior Member
    Is it possible for a middle class family to receive some sort of financial aid in order to afford a private university?
    Yes, middle class family getting aid all the time.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 32,388Registered User Senior Member
    Some private schools offer merit aid to high performing accepted students. This is not at all related to your family's income.
  • GTalumGTalum Posts: 2,005Registered User Senior Member
    And, yes, there are also schools with generous enough need-based aid policies that even a middle class family can qualify for assistance . . . but I'll let someone else answer that question.

    Yes, my D received generous financial aid at a elite LAC. Cast your net widely as, in her case, the financial aid packages varied by as much as 25K/year between different peer institutions. PM me if you want more information.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 22,557Registered User Senior Member
    There is a thread asking about "middle class" right above yours, http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/1508265-what-considered-middle-class-fa.html that basically explains that the term "middle class" can be defined in many ways, and that it comes down to how much the schools that accept a student are willing to give in aid and how much the student and family can pay, and the label of "middle class" means nothing in all of this. It's just the bottom line that counts, how much you have to PAY to go to a specific school.
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