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*Cringe* So if both my parents are currently unemployed...

DodgesterDodgester Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
Should I put, for estimated family income, $0?

Also, how much will this hurt me in terms of schools I want to go to? I have great grades/SAT, competitive enough for any school, but right now I can offer hardly any money and am relying on huge amounts of financial aid. Also, I don't come from a poor area...in fact, I come from a very rich area, my family has just fallen on very hard times...
Post edited by Dodgester on

Replies to: *Cringe* So if both my parents are currently unemployed...

  • xrCalico23xrCalico23 Registered User Posts: 4,673 Senior Member
    Depends. If your grades are good enough, make sure to try a few schools that are need blind: Need-blind admission - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Also, take advantage of application fee waivers so that you can apply to a greater number of schools and hopefully receive multiple offers in April, so that you can compare the aid packages to find the most affordable option. Also, look into lower tier colleges that gives out full tuition scholarships.

    Are you a current junior? If so, look into Quesbridge: http://www.questbridge.org/students/program.html

    (Btw, my family is low income and I had no problem getting into college. In fact, I ended up attending college on full financial aid requiring $0 parental contribution a year. It's definitely possible.)
  • kreativekatkreativekat Registered User Posts: 429 Member
    I wouldn't worry too much. Just apply to the schools you are interested and fill out all the financial aid forms. I know a girl whose father was in business for himself and he bankrupted the business her senior year. She goes to a very good, very expensive school and pays virtually nothing. Up until her senior year, she lived a life of privilege. Your situation is exactly what financial aid is for and most schools claim to be need blind these days.
  • xrCalico23xrCalico23 Registered User Posts: 4,673 Senior Member
    But, at schools that are not need blind, needing a lot of financial aid may hurt your admission chances.
  • RedrosesRedroses - Posts: 3,293 Senior Member
    Sure. At non need blind schools it will definitely hurt. But the typical problem for most in affluent communities is assets. Even if parents are unemployed they can have assets that colleges will deem they are able to contribute. College costs are not supposed to just come from income, savings are expected too.

    So if you parents have home equity, stocks and other assets, there's a good chance they can't pay what colleges will expect them to. this will be the issue that will need to decide where you apply.
  • OlymomOlymom Registered User Posts: 1,689 Senior Member
    Believe it or not, this might work out. Go ahead and fill out the FAFSA. Be aware that FAFSA does not ask about credit card debt. So if a parent has $2000 in savings (which is asked about) and $2000 in credit card debt, it could be smart to pay off a big chunk of the credit card debt.

    You can work through the FAFSA now with estimates for what the numbers are and see what your EFC looks like -- the FAFSA that counts is the one you will submit in January (the sooner the better. You want an early January "place in line" number. Use best estimates and then amend the FAFSA as numbers solidify).

    IF you apply to a private college, the college may ask for the CSS Profile as well. This is a longer, tougher form. It definitely digs deeper into assets (like owning a house).

    HAve some sit down talks with your folks too. Get past the embarassment. They are good people and you love them. Let them know that. Find out their plans and thinking. This is a great time to move from kid/parent to person/person talking. Work to be respectful (cram a sock in to stop those sarcastic comments that flow so easily from an 18 year old) -- you are a family together and you've hit a rough spot. Work through it with dignity and love.

    Put all options on the table. You may be looking at a Tier 2/3/4 college that would covet you for your scores and grades and be willing to put out some real bucks to lure you in. Apply to a couple of those. Apply also to something lofty. Sometimes miracles happen. Check out community college, because sometimes that is where you need to be if you end up having to work a great deal. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

    We do have one friend who ended up in a bleak place. His mom has a second home -- a mountain cabin that has been in the family for years. She could not bring herself to part with it for his college. That was a challenge because the value of the cabin made her look wealthy in assets. Fortunately, the son understood and will be attending the local CC and working. It is not his dream path -- but it is a workable one and his decency and maturity will stand him in good stead all his life.
    Good luck.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    Your estimated income will include whatever income they had or will have for 2010. So, if either was employed at some point during this year, that income would count. And, if either parent was given any kind of severance check or vacation pay from their employer during 2010, those would also count.

    So, if your family has received any kind of income, withdrawals from retirement accounts, or any kind of payments during 2010, that gets included in estimated income.

    I don't know if unemployment checks get counted....I think they do as well.

    Also, if your parents' home is worth a lot or they have investments/savings, that could also affect your aid.

    What state are you in?

    What are your stats? And, where are you applying to?

    Since it sounds like you have high stats, you should also protect yourself by applying to a couple of schools that will give you big merit for your stats...those can be your financial safety schools.
  • DodgesterDodgester Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Just a couple updates...I'm a Senior right now. Top 1% class rank and 2340 SAT but not great EC's...I felt (barring fiscal difficulties) my stats made me competitive for Ivy's and I figured great recommendations plus essays (I'm a great writer) gave me an outside shot at HYPS.

    My dad was very recently employed but he was also working on a part-time salary since he'd been unemployed a while before that as well...most of the private schools I'm applying to claim they're need-blind, but this still seems too "ideal." Esp. for someone like me who would be clamoring for anything short of a full ride. Should I also include various things like the fact that my parents are originally immigrants who came here with no financial backing, my dad lost lots of $ on stocks, and similar excuses?

    Oh and I live in California. East Bay Area.
  • takeitallintakeitallin Registered User Posts: 3,303 Senior Member
    Financial need will not hurt your chances for admission anywhere as that is not considered for admission purposes. Once you are admitted, you will have to figure out what financial aid is available at each institution, to see if you can swing it.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    most of the private schools I'm applying to claim they're need-blind, but this still seems too "ideal." Esp. for someone like me who would be clamoring for anything short of a full ride.

    Most schools are "need blind."

    However, only a limited number "meet 100% of need" with small or no loans.

    Having high stats alone, may not be enough to get you accepted to elites because you'll be competing against other kids with high stats who also have excelled outside the classroom as well.

    My dad was very recently employed but he was also working on a part-time salary since he'd been unemployed a while before that as well...

    my dad lost lots of $ on stocks, and similar excuses?

    Well, then it sounds like your estimated family income will be lowish for 2010, but will not be zero (and 2010's income is the what you'll put on FA forms.)

    Also, if your parents still have significant assets leftover, those will count as well.

    Are you a NMSF?

    Be sure to apply to some schools that will give you big merit for stats.

    Since you're a Calif resident, be sure to apply to some UCs. The UCs are good with aid for those whose family incomes are low because of the Blue and Gold plan. And, if you also qualify for Cal Grants and Pell, you'll have a near full ride there.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,575 Senior Member
    First step is to get info- see college websites for their finaid info, how they meet needs and whether they offer merit scholarships. Go to finaid.org for background info and a QuickEFC calculator (expected family contribution.) Then use the FAFSA Forecaster- that's how you get a idea of where you stand with them. After, you call a college or two, to better understand how they will view the 2010 income, the uncertainty of getting back to prior income levels, etc. Sorry about your situation. With your stats, I don't think it will limit you as much as you fear.
  • drdomdrdom Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    fill out the FAFSA and you'll see what the EFC is. be aware however, that your financial aid is really based on your parents tax return for the previous year, not the current year. It may all work out okay. Some schools are now admitting that the financial crisis has forced them to no longer be need blind. Most probably are still need blind but some schools expect students to borrow money and their finaid is based on that assumption. Personally, I never really drank the KoolAde. I do not believe that any school is completely need blind all the time.
  • BusyMeiBusyMei Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    If you are a California resident with high test score (> 2300) and high UC GPA (> 4.4) then be sure to apply to some UCs. With such high stats, you have a good chance of being selected as a regents scholar. I know UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego will meet full need without loans for their regents scholars. I assume the other UCs probably do the same also.

    USC is generous with merit aids. Each year, USC gives out > 100 Trustee Scholarships which covers full tuition and possibly more if you have need.

    No matter what college you go to, for need based aid, you are always expected to pay your EFC (Expected Family Contribution?) which is based on FAFSA and maybe CSS Profile. 2011 FAFSA is mainly based on 2010 income and current asset. It matters less if your parents are part time employed, unemployed, FAFSA wants the AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) on the 2010 tax form which includes unemployment benefits, interest, dividands which people with assets tend to have.

    As others suggested, talk to your parents to get estimates of the 2010 income and current asset and you can get a good idea of what your EFC will be. With high stats, you can apply to colleges that are generous with merit aid which is not based on need. Althoug HYPS are generous with need based aid, I haven't heard of them giving merit aid. Those colleges are a long shot for anyone.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,575 Senior Member
    Don't do the FAFSA until you have done the FAFSA Forecaster. It's a detailed prediction tool, nothing goes anywhere. You can play with it now.

    AND, January 1 is the first date that you are eligible to file the FAFSA- I think you'd prefer to get some picture now, even if it's an estimate.

    For the Forecaster, you can enter, say, what Dad thinks he will earn for 2010. Then try it with what he might earn if he picks up more work, etc. It's a good way to orient yourself.

    ps. ^ "I do not believe that any school is completely need blind all the time." It's not that they bend the rules or misrepresent. No, it's that different schools calculate need differently:

    Roughly: COA - [EFC + outside awards] = Total Need. Each school takes tuition and room/board, then adds certain extras to determine total COA/cost of attendance. Eg, some schools add $1500 for books. Our adds $900. These are reflected in your particular net need amount.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,348 Super Moderator
    Any chance you made NMSF? There are some excellent scholarships out there for NMFs.
  • biglawhopesbiglawhopes Registered User Posts: 61 Junior Member
    Look at schools like Vanderbilt that offer to meet full financial aid need but aren't as super-extra-cut-throat as HYP.
This discussion has been closed.