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Financial Aid for Middle Class

Hope4futureHope4future Posts: 17Registered User New Member
edited April 2012 in Johns Hopkins University
I was really excited when I was accepted into Johns Hopkins and wanted to major in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at that school. I received the official letter and was very upset with the amount of financial aid I got. I received approx. $7,000 a year in which I don't have to pay back. The estimated cost for attending was is about 61,000/year and with that little help it will cost my family 54,000/year. That is about half of my family's yearly income. We are struggling financially and are barely a float with my older bro going to college (which costs about 23,000/year, he graduates this year). My dad is the soul provider for the family and my mom takes care of my little brother and I. The company in which my dad works for just went into bankruptcy so we are worried about what the future will hold. We don't live beyond our means at all, but (like I said before) still struggle. My family can pay about 15,000/year (in which I wouldn't have to get loans). I am not completely against loans but I am against coming out of school with almost $200,000 dollars in debt. I was wondering if anyone else is/was in the same circumstance and what I should do. For the people who were in the same circumstances, what did yall do.
Post edited by Hope4future on

Replies to: Financial Aid for Middle Class

  • closetobrokeclosetobroke Posts: 90Registered User Junior Member
    Yes, LOTS of other people are in the same boat as you. There is not enough financial aid for the middle class. I don't know how other people do it. If the student loan rates double or the college tax credits aren't renewed it will be even worse.
  • 4yorkshiremen4yorkshiremen Posts: 602Registered User Member
    Hope, do you have any other acceptances? Just because JHU isn't affordable doesn't mean college isn't affordable.
  • PLOLMOMPLOLMOM Posts: 8Registered User New Member
    Here is what we do: we know we won't get any need based aids prior to application however just could not afford the price tag for schools like JHU, although daughter is well qualified for these type of schools, she simply did not apply but applied to schools with lower rankings that gave merit awards. Sometimes I feel sorry for not being able to send her to a more prestigious school that she deserves, but at least she still has a lot of choices.
  • Hope4futureHope4future Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    The other schools that I have been admitted to is Georgia Tech, University of Texas, Colorado School of Mines, and University of Minnesota. I applied to Johns Hopkins as my reach school and was excited that I got in, but as it is looking right now I will probably end up going to Minnesota. I have gotten a lot of Merit based Scholarships to there in which the cost of me attending would be below 15,000/year. I am still waiting to see if I get anymore to there. I would be happy going there. ( I would be an OOS student) Georgia Tech was one of my top choices until my financial aid came back, stating that I didn't qualify for anything and I haven't heard about the scholarships I applied to. So my parents would have to 40,000/year. I got a $48,000 scholarship for Colorado School of Mines, $12,000/year so it will cost my family about $27,000/year for me to go, but that school is not the school I want to go to.
  • ameliab12ameliab12 Posts: 310Registered User Member
    I don't mean to sound too unsympathetic, but the college has no way of knowing anything about a student's financial situation beyond the numbers given to them. While I'm sure you aren't lying about your family struggling, all the college sees is a family making six figures that will only have one kid in college next year. I technically fall into the middle class, too, but my family has <$30,000 income and all three kids in college. While it really sucks to be in that area in between being able to easily afford college and getting lots of financial aid, you have to remember that many people are currently struggling financially and the ones who get more aid get it because they (at least on paper) have more need.
    That being said, it sounds like you'll really need to do some cost-benefit analysis and decide whether going to a top-tier school is worth the cost.
  • Lily8476Lily8476 Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    hmm i'm kind of confused over jhu's logic... i made a thread earlier explaining my FA and asking some questions if you want to go read it for detail, but basically i received ~45K in grant aid and 2500K in estimated work study, and they said in their letter that they would ensure i only had to take on 5K total of debt over the entire 4 years. i have a similar amount of AGI for last year, but i did add a note on my CSS (or maybe the FAFSA? can't remember) that my dad's current contract (he's an IT conctractor) would be ending in May and probably won't be renewed (we just found out this week that it for sure won't be renewed). the only reason i can think of for them giving me so much grant aid and trying to keep me from having to take on loans is because of the little note i added about that. i had assumed prior to receiving my FA package that it would look a lot like yours, tbh. since i'm technically middle class and everything (though without my dad's income our yearly income will only be about 15K at most).

    so perhaps if you try contacting them and letting them know that your dad's employer went bankrupt, you could get them to reconsider. also, if you're visiting for SOHOP, bring a copy of your financial aid offers from other schools and try talking to them, i heard that the financial aid office will be open during SOHOP for people to walk in and talk to them. if you aren't going to SOHOP then fax/email them copies of the competing offers and tell them that you really want to go to JHU but you can't afford it and you'd have to take offers from these other schools instead.
  • YjadenWYjadenW Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
    I would do what Lily said. As was said before unless you explain your situation in depth they only know what you make on paper.
  • lavenderjade2lavenderjade2 Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    This is surprising to me in that most net price calculators I've used indicate most top tier schools would automatically lop off about $25,000 for some one in a similar family income range. We are about a perfect match to your place in the middle class. The only school that didn't give a nod was NYU that drops you off if you are a dime over $99,000. Am I deluded in our expectations?
  • Hope4futureHope4future Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    My dad talked to the financial aid office and explained our situation. We found out that they took into account all of our assets, like my dad's retirement, value of out home, ect. So with those numbers, it looks like we are extremely well off, especially with my dad's retirement. The only problem is that since my dad's company is in bankruptcy, he doesn't have access to the retirement money. We are thinking that my dad will loose his retirement later down the line. The other problem is that the money they took into account, is money we don't have access too. I did leave a note at the end of my CSS profile stating the worry of my dad's job and the bankruptcy. I was expecting to get it down to around 30,000/year (I was little too hopeful). Anyways, my dad talked to the financial office and they said they couldn't change the numbers unless something drastic changes, then they will reconsider. (They have a formula they go by.) So I am stuck with 54,000/year. Unless something amazing comes through, it looks like I am not going.
  • Deenie2612Deenie2612 Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Hope4future,
    As the mom of a newly admitted student, I absolutely sympathize. The school takes into account all money. We didn't consider retirement account funds anything that should be on the table, but the school (and it seems all schools) does. I've worked PT for years and will be increasing my hours starting in the fall. You mentioned your mom is home with you and your brother. Is your brother school age? Obviously we don't know your family situation, but is it possible for your mom to go back to work? Is that something that your parents would consider?
  • Hope4futureHope4future Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    Yes my little brother is of school age, he is currently 13 years old. My parents have discussed about my mom getting a job, but they have decided it is best for my mom to stay home to support my little brother. When he was young, he had some behavioral problems and along with some other issues. My mom had to work with him day in and day out, and he is doing a lot better but still has to rely on my mom for help. My little brother needs that support. My dad is a pilot, so he is gone for days at a time. My mom is the one that takes care of business at home.
  • Lily8476Lily8476 Posts: 56Registered User Junior Member
    Ah, okay the retirement fund thing might explain it. My father had previously had a fair amount saved but between most of it being cut off by his former employer's merger/his being let go, and my parents having to spend most of it on my sister's education, by the time we got around to me going to college there wasn't that much. i'm so sorry, Hope4future :\ perhaps you could take one of your cheaper options this year and apply for transfer to JHU? or look into some outside scholarships? D: i know this must be really hard for you :[
  • notjoenotjoe Posts: 398Registered User Member
    Deenie2612,

    "We didn't consider retirement account funds anything that should be on the table, but the school (and it seems all schools) does."

    I could be wrong, but I believe that's incorrect. Which is probably why the other awards of financial aid that my son received were much better than Hopkins. I went and visited Hopkins this week, and was basically told politely to drop dead.

    Hopkins had been my son's first choice, but the way that they have treated us has pretty much dropped them out of consideration.

    He'll just have to settle either for a full scholarship, including tuition, room, board, books and a small stipend for extra educational expenses, at Maryland, or Harvard, with a financial package that I can actually afford.
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