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Profile contribution less than FAFSA

BakerAveBakerAve Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
Our FAFSA efc (estimated obviously) comes out to be about 20K. The Profile says our contribution should be 15K. Either will be a stretch for us. Which number will the Profile schools actually look at to create aid package? The cynic in me says they'll use the FAFSA number but just wondering if we might get lucky and they'll use the lower one? 5K doesn't sound like much of a difference but I assure you it is for us. Has this discrepancy happened to anyone else?
Post edited by BakerAve on

Replies to: Profile contribution less than FAFSA

  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,649 Senior Member
    There is no standard profile contribution. Each schools uses the information provided on profile according to their own policies. For instance some may take into account home equity, others may not, others may take a portion of equity into account. You will probably see different contributions expected from every profile school you apply to.

    It is more unusual for the profile to show a lower contribution than FAFSA. Any federal aid will, of course, be based on the FAFSA EFC.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,460 Senior Member
    Profile says our contribution should be 15K.

    So far as I know...the profile does NOT generate a contribution dollar amount at all. It is a financial aid application that collects information regarding family finances. This information is sent to the colleges that use the Profile and the COLLEGES use the information to generate a family contribution which can very WILDLY from school to school because the formulas the schools use are not uniform.

    Where did the Profile tell you a contribution amount?
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    The OP may have been using an online estimator of institutional methodology, like the one on the CollegeBoard website. The actual CSS Profile does not generate a contribution dollar amount. As Thumper and Swimcatsmom say, the schools will use the Profile information to generate their own family contribution figure, and it's highly likely it will vary from school to school.
  • MomCat2MomCat2 Registered User Posts: 961 Member
    Most schools will use the higher FAFSA number. This happened to us (and it made a difference of $7 or 8K the first year - OUCH- based on the estimated IM EFC from College Board's calculator vs the FAFSA EFC). Apparently if the school is giving you any Federal aid (Stafford or Perkins loans, Work/Study), they are not permitted by Fed. law to use a lower EFC. A few schools, in particular some of those in the President's 568 Group, realize that this is unfair (since they feel strongly that the Consensus Methodology - a modification of the IM - that they use is the most accurate assessment of a family's financial strength) and they do a work-around by offering only institutional aid to such families caught in this situation (i.e, higher EFC from FM vs IM). They give institutional (not Federal) loans and campus jobs that are NOT Federal Work/Study to these students.
    The only school where I could find specific details about this situation (of institutional only aid) is Amherst - they call such aid "Amherst only" aid: https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/101652/original/Amherst%2BOnly%2BFinancial%2BAid%2B2009.pdf

    There may be a few other schools that do this (I'm not finding it now, but previously something on the 568 Group's website mentioned that some of their schools do this, without specifying which ones), but I couldn't find out which ones after spending a fair amount of time poking around the interwebs a few months back.

    I did find a few schools (Tufts and Brown come to mind, IIRC, possibly also Reed) that specifically mention on their websites that, unfortunately, if the FM EFC is higher than the IM EFC that they must go with the higher EFC as required by Federal law.

    Sure would be nice if more schools did as Amherst does... It's only fair that the same methodology should be used for all students.
  • MomCat2MomCat2 Registered User Posts: 961 Member
    I found some of the information that I referred to in my previous post. I posted it today in THIS thread: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/1065423-what-does-css-profile-do-does-lower-amount-aid-you-get.html

    Hope it helps.
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