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Does my Sibling Change My Financial Aid?

CollegeXC1993CollegeXC1993 Posts: 226Registered User Junior Member
Hi, I'm a junior with a pesky Financial Aid question.

IK the normal rule that if I have a sibling already in college my parent's EFC get's split in half. My Mom and step-dad make 140,000-180000 (they are real estate agents so their commission fluctuates) so our EFC is around 35000 (just me plugging in numbers, my mom hasn't officially filled out the form but I don't think It would make a huge difference.). But while I'm shooting for the top LACs and West Point, my sister has recently dropped out of the local CC. She is starting to get her act back together and will hopefully return to school when I start school as a freshman (or the semester before). So here is my question, even though a CC costs a fraction of a normal college, does it still halve our EFC? On the forms does one have to fill out that the sibling is at a community college rather than a 'regular' college? Also, since my sister will graduate from CC within 2 years (hopefully), what happens to me the next two years when I am in college? Does my EFC suddenly change and does my financial aid package diminish?
Post edited by CollegeXC1993 on

Replies to: Does my Sibling Change My Financial Aid?

  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,207Registered User Senior Member
    The question on the financial aid forms asks for the NUMBER of students attending college...the costs are not listed. The FAFSA doesn't ask for the college at all.

    When we did the Profile (back in the day...oh...last year) it didn't ask for the siblings school...but I seem to recall that someone said it does now. Perhaps someone doing a Profile this year can clarify. I'm FINALLY DONE WITH FINAID APPLICATIONS...woohoo (just giving "hope" to those of you at the start of this).
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Posts: 4,327Registered User Senior Member
    Yeah, I have a student in a Profile school and one in a FAFSA-only school. The FAFSA only asks how many in college, the Profile asks for the kind of college (2-yr, 4-yr) and the name of the college, as well as the sibling's class year (freshman, soph, etc.)

    The thing is, though, for your parents, that even though their EFC gets halved by FAFSA, it's still the same total amount. Let's Mom and Dad have an EFC of $20,000. With two in college each student (by FAFSA method) will get an EFC of $10,000. (I'm ignoring variable like student income, assets, etc.) But combined Mom and Dad will still have a total EFC of $20,000. If one student finishes or leaves college, then Mom and Dad will see their EFC for that student go back up to $20,000... but they were shelling out $20,000 before the one student left college anyway -- it's just that it was a combined $20,000.

    Now Profile is a whole different animal. Profiles chools can make determinations about how they view the split of Mom and Dad's expected contribution according to their own FA policies.
  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    No. Unless you both attend schools that meet full need--and it doesn't sound like your sister will--the formula doesn't work this way.
  • HSjuniorgirlHSjuniorgirl Posts: 107Registered User Junior Member
    Hey, so I'm in a similar situation...So next year my brother will go to MIT, and hypothetically let's say my family's EFC is $40,000. The next year I will also go to college, let's say to Northwestern...does that mean my parent's EFC at NU will be 20 grand and at MIT will be 20 grand also? The rest will be covered by the school?
  • standrewsstandrews Posts: 1,365Registered User Senior Member
    hsjuniorgirl,

    MIT & Northwestern both use CSS/Profile for FA determination. Don't expect them to simply divide EFC by 2 like FAFSA does. Typically a Profile school will expect 60% of EFC for each student, although as 'rentof2 said schools can and do make their own formulas and determinations. If the 60% number is used for both you and your brother, a $40K EFC would result in an expectation of $24K for each of you.

    As for your question "The rest will be covered by the school?", only if the schools meet 100% of need. I think both of these schools do. HOWEVER, not all 100%-of-need schools are equal. Need can be met by grant, work-study, and/or loan. Hypothetically the school could cover "the rest" with $20K grant, $2K work-study, and $4K loan.
  • CollegeXC1993CollegeXC1993 Posts: 226Registered User Junior Member
    So what happens when she graduates? Do i have to resubmit my financial aid forms? And how do I know if a school is CSS or FAFSA?
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,207Registered User Senior Member
    So what happens when she graduates? Do i have to resubmit my financial aid forms? And how do I know if a school is CSS or FAFSA?

    Need based aid is awarded annually. You will have to reapply every year for need based aid regardless of whether your sister graduates...or not. When she graduates, you will indicate that on the application.

    Re: the required forms...EVERY college has a section for financial aid on their website. Those sections will have YOUR schools' requirements and the DEADLINES for submission clearly stated on the websites. SO...go to EACH college website and check. Write down the info for each school as the forms, required supplemental information (e.g. tax forms) and deadlines vary from school to school.

    On each website, you will clearly see whether they require the FAFSA only. OR if they require the Profile in addition. OR if they have a school finaid form to complete. Check the websites.
  • calmomcalmom Posts: 16,594Registered User Senior Member
    Don't confuse FAFSA EFC with what you will be expected to pay.

    FAFSA EFC is calculated by a combination of consideration of parents' assets and income and students's assets and income. The figure that the parents are expected to contribute will be divided proportionately among the number of dependent offspring in college.

    So lets say the parent contribution part is $20K. With 2 in college, that is reduced to $10K each.

    But the FAFSA EFC also includes student assets and income. If the sister who dropped out of CC isn't a total flake, its likely that she got a job and income while out of school -- so her earnings and savings will tend to ratchet up her EFC. I think that the year my son and daughter were in college simultaneously, my daughter's EFC was about $5500 and my son's was more than $15K, because he had been working full time before returning to college.

    And yes, you do have to resubmit financial aid forms every year -- as the situation changes, your financial aid package will change as well.

    Now as to what the college will pay in financial aid:

    Colleges typically do not promise to meet FAFSA EFC, no questions asked. Rather, they have their own policies and typically will ask for enrollment verification and verification of costs of attendance for the sibling. At least that's what happened in my case. It happened that my daughter was attending an expensive private college and my son was in an in-state public. When my daughter's college got the verification from my son's college, they increased her grant by an amount that was roughly the same as my son's tuition (about $3,000). I didn't ask, but I figured they would have given more if his tuition had been more, up to the point where expenses were divided equally between the 2.

    (But if you get into West Point, you won't have to pay anything -- no matter what your sister does)
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