For each family, an adequate package will vary. For some, your package would be a reason for celebration. For others, covering the additional six or seven thousand dollars in expenses or travel to and from USC would be an impossibility.
Parents, please start talking with your 2012 applicants NOW about the realities of your college budget. Let them know how much you can afford, and that you will work with them to find ways to make it happen, but that financial realities are REALITIES. Be sure they have a list of schools they are WILLING to attend and that they know that money will be part of the decision.
First, clarify what the underlying goal is: It isn't to attend a particular :dream" school and have a stereotyped college "experience," it is to get a college education.
There are approximately 4,000 colleges and universities in the US, and you can get an excellent education at at least 3,000+ of them.
Strategies: go to a less expensive school, go to cc for the first two years, work while going to school, use AP units, become an RA, get great grades in HS and get scholarships, attend the schools that offer you money, get rid of your cell phones and cable TV and put that money toward college (hahahaha - I am trying to imagine any of you able to actually DO this, but I assure you that it CAN be done), parents - don't buy any new cars in the several years leading up to college so you have no car payments during the college years - that extra $300 - $1,000/month will come in VERY handy... lots more, just remember the underlying goal.
Trustee, Presidential (and probably Mork) scholarships. These are for 8 semesters ( or 10 for majors such as architecture that require 5 years). They do however include up to 8 units of Exceptional Funding which can be used to offset the costs of an additional semester.
Cal Grant. This is for 8 semesters only.
Notes on Stafford loans:
Subs Staffrord: You can take a maximum of $23,000 in subsidized Staffords, so there will be some eligibility($4,000) for a 5th year even if you took the maximum each year. The max for subs and unsubs is $31,000, so you will probably have loan eligibility for a full 5th year.
RE: Post #875 - I appealed. Will my aid stay the same next year?
USC figures your need each year, so your aid next year will depend on the information in your CSS/Profile and FAFSA for 2012-2013. If everything stays exactly the same, the package will look very much like your initial package (except for slightly larger Staffords for sophomores-seniors - see page one of this thread). If you still have the same special circumstances you will once again need to submit that information as an appeal and continue to do so each year that the special circumstances apply.
I am trying to figure out how to complete my fafsa right now, USC states that the fafsa is due by March 2nd unless there is some sort of special circumstance. I am getting married March 30th therefore I i wll be an independent. I would like to file as an independent so I can receive more financial aid. If anyone could help me out it would be greatly appreciated!
thanks in advance.
The ONE thing I try to get across every year is this:
DON'T MISS DEADLINES
I assume you are a continuing student, because you mention the March 2nd deadline. FEBRUARY 2nd is the deadline for new students. New students, don't miss the February 2nd deadline.
If you receive a Cal Grant and miss the March 2nd deadline, you will NOT get your Cal Grant. No exceptions.
My suggestion would be to file all of your financial aid documents ON TIME, and then, if you feel it will improve your aid, file a correction after the wedding. Please bear in mind that having independent status does NOT automatically mean that you will get more aid. The reasons are:
- A much higher percentage of your income and assets are considered available for your college education when you are independent. MUCH higher.
- Your new spouse's income and assets will have to be added to your FAFSA and CSS/Profile and will be included in the calculation. Their income will also be considered available for YOUR college education at the MUCH higher independent percentage.
- If it is clear that you and your spouse's incomes are not sufficient to support the two of you, USC will ask for a budget form where you spell out exactly how you meet expenses. If you list, for example, a combined income of $12,000, USC will want to know how you pay all of your rent, utilities, food, cars, etc. for two people on that amount. Your budget form will have to spell out exactly where the extra money comes from, and USC (or any college) will assume that whatever contributions you received will continue. So if your spouse's parents paid part of your rent, then that money is considered available to you for your education in the future.
- Loan limits are much higher for independent students, so a greater percent of your package will be comprised of loans than if you were a dependent student. The relative amounts:
Student year 1 year 2 year 3 year 4 Total available (includes 5th year)
The theory is that independent students should invest more of their income in their income in their own education than parents who have retirement, mortgages, and other children to fund as well. Usually independent status is only beneficial for students who's families do not qualify for aid or will not contribute at all to the education. For low to middle-income families, dependent status may be better. Please research the issue carefully before proceeding.
RE: Cal Grant, posts #830, 861, 860, 866, 867, etc...
First, allow me (alamemom) a moment of frustration: Not to mention any names...
"Your" Cal Grant? You are "furious?" As a long-time California taxpayer, I think I can claim much more ownership in "your" Cal Grant than you. And you are "furious" that the FREE money you are getting from one source is being coordinated with the FREE money you are getting from another? Really?
Okay, I am ready to face the question(s) now!
USC calculates your need and awards you an aid package based on that need. USC meets 100% of the need they calculate. So when you have an additional resource of FREE money, that money meets part of your need. Your need is reduced, so your 100% need-based package is coordinated with that additional resource so that you still have 100% of your need met.
The follow-up question is always: So why should I even bother to apply for Cal Grant? The answer is: If you are eligible for Cal Grant and do not receive it because you chose not to apply, USC will not replace it in your package.
Another note: In 2009 when Cal Grant payments were suspended in January and students up and down the state were scrambling to figure out how they could stay in school without it (remember Cal Grant covers systemwide fees, the "tuition" at all UCs and CSUs), USC immediately sent out an email to all Cal Grant recipients that said (to sum up): "Don't worry, we have you covered if you do not receive your Cal Grant. Attend to your studies." At this moment, California has not met its projected revenue targets and mid-year cuts, especially to education, are a real possibility. Cal Grant students at USC should be very relieved they are at USC and that USC has them covered if payments are again suspended. But you are "furious..." Sheesh!
Additional info for jakehbradley - marrying for independent status
Here is some additional info from the USC Financial Aid website:
If you are a continuing student who entered the university as a dependent student, you will remain a dependent student throughout your undergraduate enrollment even if you get married:
If parental information is required when you are admitted to USC, you will be required to submit parental information throughout your enrollment at USC, regardless of your age, marital status, or other changes in circumstances (excluding the death of both parents).
If you are a Fall 2012 applicant, you must be married at the time you fill out the FAFSA and that you enter USC, so moving your wedding date to before February 2nd would be your best option (assuming you have considered all the reasons in my previous post that being independent may not result in more aid).
mcuevas, congratulations on your acceptance and THANK YOU for your service!
I am not at all familiar with GI benefits, but other veterans on this thread receiving them were awarded very generous packages. See posts #302, #451 and #454 for doandydo's experience last year, and #548, #549 and most importantly #558 for sirownzalot's experience and information from the financial aid office.
Whether they reduce your grant or not depends on whether they were aware of your GI benefits when they calculated your package. Your best course of action is to, as soon as possible, contact the financial aid office to ask how your GI benefits will be coordinated with your USC financial aid. Email is a good way to contact them (I use email@example.com , or I believe you can submit materials through your USConnect financial aid documents page) because it allows them time to gather the information they need to give you an accurate, complete answer. Scan in whatever official notification you have about your GI benefits and attach it to you email - don't try to explain them in the email. Include your USC ID #. Whatever their answer, it is best to know NOW so that you can plan accordingly for the Spring semester.
If it turns out that your grant remains at that same level and you feel you can manage without the loans, simply don't apply for them (don't fill out a Stafford loan request) and they will not be awarded. If later in the semester you find that you DO need additional funds, you can apply for them later in the semester (but not after the semester ends).
You might also want to send a PM to doandydo and/or sirownzalot to connect with someone who has been through the process. Let us know how it turns out.
Sorry if this has been answered before, but I haven't read though all of the threads. Wanting to know if a student qualifies for some need-based aid (~5-10 k/year) and also receives a merit scholarship, like NM, would the need-based aid be added to the merit aid or would it disappear?