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Financial Aid with Multiple Children

aspire123aspire123 Posts: 10Registered User New Member
How does financial aid work when multiple children go to colleges at the same time? Say, when the first child goes to college, total expenses are $40,000 and the family EFC is $50,000. So, no aid is given. Now, the second child goes to college and let's assume his expenses are also $40,000. Total expenses come out to $80,000 while the EFC stays at $50,000. Does it mean an aid of $30,000 will be given and shared by the two schools? Thanks.
Post edited by aspire123 on
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Replies to: Financial Aid with Multiple Children

  • BedouinBedouin Posts: 423- Member
    Why would your EFC stay at $50,000? It's conventional wisdom that the EFC will be divided in half. If your EFC was $50,000 with one child, it would become $25,000 for two children, and $12.,500 for tree children, and that's it.

    Aid is based upon on this EFC for federal grants only. School's take this info to make their decisions about which aid to give, so even if your EFC falls down they might give you the same amount of money or they might give you more money depending on how they interpret your need to be or even if you give away money to people.

    The only way the EFC can really GUARANTEE you money is federal aid / loans, which if your EFC is below a certain number then by law you get the Pell Grant and are eligible for Perkins and other lowineterest loans.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 61,236Registered User Senior Member
    How does financial aid work when multiple children go to colleges at the same time? Say, when the first child goes to college, total expenses are $40,000 and the family EFC is $50,000. So, no aid is given. Now, the second child goes to college and let's assume his expenses are also $40,000. Total expenses come out to $80,000 while the EFC stays at $50,000. Does it mean an aid of $30,000 will be given and shared by the two schools? Thanks.


    HI....

    First of all...EFC means NOTHING to schools except to determine whether you qualify for any federal aid. Free money from the feds is small and for low income only. Other fed aid is loans.

    Yes, your EFC will likely split with each child (assuming the children have little income/assets of their own) but will total to $50k

    However, most schools don't meet need, so the EFC is meaningless (except to figure any federal aid).


    And, the kinds of schools that do meet need, usually ask you to fill out CSS Profile and THEY determine what your family contribution should be. CSS Profile considers more things then FAFSA does and usually expects parents to pay out more (in total) as each child goes to school.

    The words Financial Aid are misleading...it's not often free money/grants. It's often loans and work-study.

    The words Expected Family Contribution are also misleading. It does NOT mean that is all colleges can expect you to pay. The federal gov't has no power or authority in this matter.

    Remember that most schools cannot meet need, they do NOT charge a sliding scale, they don't care what some federal number says, they expect parents to pay for their children's education, and will often put in big loans or gaps in FA packages. And, OOS publics can be the worst.
  • BedouinBedouin Posts: 423- Member
    However, most schools don't meet need, so the EFC is meaningless (except to figure any federal aid).

    How many children do you forsee will be in college at once? This is VERY unlikely, but if you have a lot, there might be a year or two where you will qualify for at least Stafford subsidized or even Pell grants. Your EFC is fairly high, but if you have 5, 6, 7 or more children in college at once (and I know this probably isn't so) the individual EFC for each child will be low enough to get some of the better federal aid -- although of course as mom2 said their own assets will be assessed too as part of the aid).
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 61,236Registered User Senior Member
    Forgot to add....

    Beware of schools that say that they "meet need." Find out if they "meet need" by putting big loans in packages.


    And, if you have a high EFC and you're concerned about how you'll pay for your kids' college educations, then consider schools that will give big merit scholarships if they have strong stats.
  • BedouinBedouin Posts: 423- Member
    ^ University of Alabama is a good one for that. They've are trying to get a lot of highly talented students so they give good merit aid even to some out of state student. It's not highly ranked as of yet but it's getting up there and recently jumped a full 12 points in the latest US News and World Report for 2011.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 61,236Registered User Senior Member
    How many children do you forsee will be in college at once? This is VERY unlikely, but if you have a lot, there might be a year or two where you will qualify for at least Stafford subsidized or even Pell grants. Your EFC is fairly high, but if you have 5, 6, 7 or more children in college at once


    I think someone has been in the Magic Mushroom patch again...

    Bedouin, why put forth a ridiculous scenario of possibly having 5-7 children in college at the same time....the OP is not Kate Gosselin.

    There's no way a person with a $50k EFC is going to qualify for Pell with the reasonable number of 2-3 kids in school at the same time.


    It's not highly ranked as of yet but it's getting up there and recently jumped a full 12 points in the latest US News and World Report for 2011.

    Is the 2011 report for colleges even out yet? I thought it comes out later?
  • aspire123aspire123 Posts: 10Registered User New Member
    Thanks for the quick reply. I was just testing my understanding of how financial aid works, and the fact that the EFC goes down makes sense. However, I still don't see the calculation that leads to a reduction of the EFC by 50%. When there is only one child going to college, EFC calculation is based on income, assets, and other things. The $40,000 college expenses are not taken into account for EFC calculation. It's only used for aid award. Now when the second child goes to college, his $40,000 expenses will be taken into account in the EFC calculation by the first school (but not the first child's expenses). With an additional expense of $40,000, EFC will go down some but I am not sure by how much. My assumption is that the first school will use a multiplier for the $40,000 to reduce the EFC. For example, if the multiplier is 0.6, the the EFC will be reduced by $24,000 and now down to $26,000. It is this kind of calculation I like to understand more. I also like to know the multiplier values used by most schools if available.

    I agree that a school may not provide full aid for the gap between EFC and school expenses. Some do and some don't. I have also gone through the CSS profile process. A small number of schools are very generous. In one particular case, the calculated EFC from that school is $42,000 less than what FAFSA calculated!!! They will also meet the full need. But I am more interested in the EFC calculation when the second child goes to college. Thanks.
  • MSmom&dadMSmom&dad Posts: 290Registered User Junior Member
    The earlier posters were correct. The EFC for each child is based on your income/assets and the child's income/assets. Most students have very limited income and assets and so most people ignore this when thinking about EFCs. If each child has $0 income and assets then the EFC for your first child will be exactly divided in two when you have two in college; the amount that either child pays in tuition is irrelevant to the Feds.

    The other important point is that any extra aid this will generate is highly dependent on the college. Most publics will not offer significant need-based aid for families with high EFCs. Only a few well-heeled privates have the funds to meet need (other than issuing lots of loans). Those few who do meet 100% need with little or no loans (HYPMS; Rice, Vandy, Duke,...) would offer more money when a 2nd child is in school, but they are hard to get into.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,162Registered User Senior Member
    When you fill out the FAFSA you indicate ON IT how many kiddos will be in college. The EFC is computed using your income and assets (and your kid's income and assets) AND the number of children in college at the same time.

    Simply put...your income and assets are the same BUT the calculations split your EFC between the two kids in college at the same time. However, the amounts are not always exactly equal in half. This is largely due to the fact that the income and assets of the KIDS is not usually identical.

    If you don't believe us...use one of the online financial aid calculators. Enter your data for one child in college and get that estimated EFC....then enter it for TWO and get that calculated EFC...you will see that your OVERALL EFC won't change (the total for two kids added together), but that each KID will have a much reduced EFC.

    However, as pointed out above...this may or may not matter. At schools that don't meet full need, they might not meet your financial need anyway.

    AND EFC is only a calculation used to disperse federally funded need based aid. However some schools are FAFSA only and use that info to disperse their own institutional aid as well...this is not as generous as aid to those generous schools that also use the Profile (which also considers more than one kiddo in college).
  • BedouinBedouin Posts: 423- Member
    However, I still don't see the calculation that leads to a reduction of the EFC by 50%.

    Which EFC are you talking about? I think mom2collegekids and I were talking about the EFC for the FAFSA. For them, there is no real calculation based on the cost of attendance in determining EFC. The same number that they get when determining the EFC for one child is divided in half between the two children. If the FAFSA expects you to pay $50,000 to send one child to college, they divide it in half so that you are expected to pay $25,000 to send one child to college and $25,000 to send the other child to college. The actual cost of each college isn't taken into account, and each college can take that number and do with it what they will.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 61,236Registered User Senior Member
    However, I still don't see the calculation that leads to a reduction of the EFC by 50%. When there is only one child going to college, EFC calculation is based on income, assets, and other things. The $40,000 college expenses are not taken into account for EFC calculation. It's only used for aid award. Now when the second child goes to college, his $40,000 expenses will be taken into account in the EFC calculation by the first school (but not the first child's expenses). With an additional expense of $40,000, EFC will go down some but I am not sure by how much. My assumption is that the first school will use a multiplier for the $40,000 to reduce the EFC.


    We might be mixing apples with oranges...

    For FAFSA EFC

    One child in school:
    EFC = $50k

    Two children in school:
    child #1 EFC = $25k
    child #2 EFC = $25k (this assumes kids don't have much assets/income)

    FAFSA doesn't care if the school costs $50k or $40k for child #1 or child #2.


    Now...for a CSS Profile school it can be different.... Each CSS school uses its own formula to determine family contribution, and it doesn't always split evenly when the next child goes to school because there's an assumption that families should pay out more when there is more than one child going.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 61,236Registered User Senior Member
    Bedouin quote: University of Alabama is a good one for that. They've are trying to get a lot of highly talented students so they give good merit aid even to some out of state student. It's not highly ranked as of yet but it's getting up there and recently jumped a full 12 points in the latest US News and World Report for 2011.


    Where did you get that info? The 2011 ratings aren't out yet.
  • BedouinBedouin Posts: 423- Member
    2010, I should have said. Let me give the link to you; University of Alabama, rank 96, now a tier one school.
  • MSmom&dadMSmom&dad Posts: 290Registered User Junior Member
    ^Bedouin - you get people annoyed with you because you state "facts" when they are at best opinions. U Alabama has been a tier-one school for a long time. It was ranked 91 in 2008 and its ranking has moved little over the last few years. That's not knocking Alabama its just a fact. Alabama is a good school,
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 61,236Registered User Senior Member
    Bama has been a Tier 1 school for a few years. Actually, its ranking dropped a bit for 2010. It was #83 in 2009. The drop is mostly due to some ties above it. I also suspect that when the rankings come out in August, it will have made its way back to #83 - or close to it.
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