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Financial aid with a sibling in private school?

wettypupwettypup Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
Hey guys! I'm a junior in high school from a middle class family. I have been in public school for my whole life, but my brother transferred to a private school starting in 7th grade (he's in 8th grade now). The school gave him a scholarship that covers 1/3 of the tuition, but our family still ends up paying ~$20,000 a year.

I heard that FAFSA doesn't take a sibling's private k-12 tuition into account. Is this true? My family can barely afford to pay my brother's tuition right now, so if I don't get substantial aid for college I will basically be on my own and probably taking out a bunch of loans (and I may not have time for a part time job b/c I'm going into nursing). Also, I did an EFC calculator and got a really high number that is even higher than what my family is paying for my brother's tuition right now.

Have any of you been in this situation or know someone who has? What did they do? Any insight on this subject would be appreciated!!

Replies to: Financial aid with a sibling in private school?

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    FAFSA does not take into consideration any sibling's private tuition. FAFSA is the Federal calculator that comes up with the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that tells a family what has to be contributed from the family before any federal aid including subsidized loans and work study can be given out. Many schools also use the FAFSA EFC as the bottom line dollar amount that a family has to pay before getting any financial aid from the school.

    Some schools also have their own calculators in addition to FAFSA that also has to be completed in order to get school money. The most commonly used one is PROFILE. Some PROFILE schools, some, not all, in fact just a few, do take into account tuition paid for private school. Also, one can try to make a case for the payment of extra expenses for another family member if it is special needs driven.

    Bear in mind that few schools even meet full need, and none guarantee to do so as defined by the FAFSA EFC. You probably should count on having to pay that EFC before getting any financial aid. If that is unaffordable, you should get an idea of what is the most that is affordable and look for school that have low sticker prices below that threshhold or have merit awards that you have a shot in getting, to bring the cost down to that price that is affordable to you.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,924 Senior Member
    FAFSA doesn't care if your brother is in private school. If he is there for some medical reason, then an individual school might consider it. $35k is an awful lot to pay for 8th grade, even if some is a scholarship.

    If your EFC is above $20k, you aren't going to get need based aid from a public school. Private schools can make their own decisions.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,449 Forum Champion
    edited December 2014
    Sending a child to a private K-12 is usually viewed as a luxury choice (unless there is some serious medical reason). So, it's not factored into FAFSA.

    Most schools aren't going to give your family more money to pay for your college, which would essentially be helping your family pay for your sibling's private K-12. Does that make sense.

    Your family may be looking at this backwards. Instead of them thinking, "we can't afford to pay for our first child's college costs because we have to pay for other child's private school," ....they may need to look at it this way: "we can't afford to send younger child to private K-12 because older child's college costs need to get paid for."

    And, as kind of mentioned above....if your EFC is above about $10k, you likely wouldn't have gotten need based aid (free money) anyway. And if your family can afford to pay $20k per year for private education, then likely their EFC is well above that....which the calculator already indicated.

    What are your parents saying? Are they saying that they're still going to send younger brother to private K-12 and not have any money for your college? And then what happens when younger brother graduates from the pricey private? Are they then going to continue paying $20k per year for him to go to college....all while paying nothing for your education at all? If I were you, I'd talk to them about this.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,449 Forum Champion
    Wow @stars987‌ congrats! UPenn's nursing program seems awesome, I think I'm going to apply ED too (I'm a junior).
    Would you mind posting your stats?

    Well, it's a good thing you're a junior. And if you've found that UPenn won't be affordable then you need to find schools that will give you VERY LARGE merit for your stats.

    Frankly, it's silly to spend a lot on a nursing degree. No one is going to pay a UPenn BSN/RN more than a BSN/RN from somewhere else. Certainly not worth debt.

    AND.....YOU can't borrow much. YOU can only borrow $5,500 for frosh year.

    What are your stats?

    Ask your parents how much they CAN pay each year towards your college costs?
  • Madison85Madison85 Registered User Posts: 10,628 Senior Member
    Are you certain you filled out the EFC estimate calculator correctly? How much do your parents earn and have in non-retirement savings?
  • neatoburritoneatoburrito Registered User Posts: 3,449 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    The private school is more likely to adjust the sibling's FA once you start college than a college will be to consider the private school tuition expense. Have your parents speak to the private school for a forecast.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,131 Senior Member
    Neatoburrito....what makes you say the school will adjust aid once this kid has matriculated? I don't believe that is true...at all.

    If the sibling is at a private school due to some necessity...then this student would be asking for a special circumstances consideration for EACH college. The family would need to too ode documentation supporting the necessity for this private school tuition cost. If it is a choice the family has made, not based on any medical or educational necessity (like a disability the public schools cannot support), it is not likely that the colleges will consider this.

    Private elementary and high school costs are considered a choice by most colleges.

    To the OP...special circumstances considerations are considered on a case by case basis. Some colleges do not consider them at all...ever. Some do...but not for everyone who requests one.
  • wettypupwettypup Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    edited December 2014
    My brother does have a medical reason for being at the private school, so I guess I'll ask for a consideration from the colleges. I have decent stats and I'm going to apply to lots of safeties in hopes of some merit aid. Thanks for all the insight! It's much appreciated.
  • neatoburritoneatoburrito Registered User Posts: 3,449 Senior Member

    I say this because it has been my experience that independent private schools consider college tuition as a family expense while colleges consider independent school tuition a luxury item.

    My daughter's private school increased FA once we had a child in college but my son's college does not consider the tuition we pay for her school at all.


  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,131 Senior Member
    Oh...so you are saying the private HS might increase their aid to the younger brother?

    That is different...and possible. The family should inquire where the brother goes to school.
  • BobWallaceBobWallace Registered User Posts: 2,222 Senior Member
    FAFSA doesn't really matter - the type of school that gives large amounts of need-based aid will base it on CSS Profile or on their own forms.

    Some schools do take into account private secondary school tuition for a sibling - for example, Vanderbilt and Princeton. I would estimate that $20K towards a sibling's tuition might raise aid by $10K or so at these colleges. You can try their net price calculators and see for yourself.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,449 Forum Champion

    even if you found a school that will consider the cost of your brother's private school, it wouldn't be a dollar for dollar consideration.

    If your parents are saying that they can "barely pay" your brother's tuition, then that suggests that they won't be able to pay anything towards yours (or just a small token amount).

    Think about it.....you've run the NPCs and the results are showing a number that is HIGHER than what your parents are paying for your brother's tuition, then that does NOT bode well for you.

    You need a strategy, otherwise you're going to end up with unaffordable schools.
  • catonyccatonyc Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Hi, I hope you are still active here. This is my situation, I am hoping that when my college student is a sophomore and the younger sibling starts at private High School, that the private college tuition costs will increase the FA award from the private high school. Maybe not dollar for dollar, but even at $0.50 on the dollar it would be a huge factor in making private college more affordable. This is a big issue for us since we are deciding between a great private college and a pretty great state school where the tuition difference is $30k.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 37,116 Super Moderator
    MODERATOR'S NOTE: Please use old threads for information only. The original poster hasn't been on the website in months.
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