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Old Net Price Calculator; Also, After Next Year?

MazeArtCrewMazeArtCrew Registered User Posts: 191 Junior Member
Hi All,

I had two questions, regarding Net Price Calculator calculations for my daughter;

A) What if the Net Price Calculators are not updated? How do I compare possible costs? One of the colleges is asking for a 2011 tax form, and gives me the cost of attending in 2012-2013. I plugged in this past year's numbers just to see, but I am sure that it is not accurate. The school uses its own calculator on its site. It is a state school. Should I just ignore this school's calculation?

Here is my more involved question:

B) Simple Version:

Do colleges who give grants/gifts REDUCE the grant for the kid who goes there after the older sibling graduates college, IF the initial grant/package did not fund the gap to the the EFC in the first year and STILL does not meet family EFC in subsequent years? This is not merit, but grant.

Detailed Version, using Net Price Calculator: (FAFSA estimates our EFC to be about $11,500 for each kid.)

1) my son, a Junior, will be in college for his last year - calculator included him;
Following numbers are for my daughter:
2) School "X" after grant/gift aid lists the Net Price as 31,362.
3) After Student Loan (5,500) and Student Work (2,600) School X lists Estimated Remaining Cost at about $23,500, which is about what our EFC is for BOTH kids combined (I am positive I entered both kids);
4) School X calculator does not mention EFC, nor does it ask for it;
5) Since I became full time a few years back, I've put aside a little each month for our kids' college. As my husband is self employed, and I'm a teacher, we knew it would never be enough, but we've tried. We did have to take a chunk out of the savings account last year when our transmission died, and we used it as a downpayment on a used car. (Transmission on 12 year old van was quoted at over $6,000, with bad reviews for the replacement. Our other car is a 21 year old Volvo.) Bye, bye van. Hello used car. Ugh. Daughter's account now has about $14,000 in it.
6) The Cost of Living where we live is very high. We need to stay here, because I teach nearby.

We have only been required to file the FAFSA since my son's senior year in high school (CSS only one year, yay!) - daughter's schools only wanted the FAFSA.
We've decided that we may need to get a loan to cover this year, with both in school, if my son's college does not reduce our contribution. The financial aid office at his college has been great, however, funding right up to our EFC every year. We are hopeful we will not need a loan for this year.

This next year is just about affordable. Maybe. I expect the following (2016-17) year's EFC (with just my daughter in college) to rise up to about $19,000 (up from $11,500, but reduced from $23,000 total between our two kids, as my husband is self employed - last year was a very good year - this year he hasn't worked at all in his "real" job, but does have a second job. This is the life of being self-employed. Scary at times. And of course his "best" year had to happen last year. He has asked to go "full time" in his second job. We'll see.)

While I realize that this is all in the calculator, and not a "real" offer of aid, it has me thinking about subsequent years. School X has a very helpful Grant in the Net Price Aid, of $18,000. The school did not meet, however, our EFC by about $11,000. Do schools typically REDUCE a Grant/Gift Aid if the EFC is not met but the other student (my son) is no longer in college? How do we determine if the subsequent years will be affordable? While my son will be out of college, I will have spent my daughter's savings in entirety for her first year of college. Since I've been currently saving about $5,000 a year for her (I took what I was saving for my son, and am now saving it for her as well as her own savings, so doubling it) I know that in her final three years, I can use that $5,000 cash in addition to about $19,000 in earnings to pay $24,000 a year, and a little more in each year, including transportation, etc. (she would also have a job/take out a subsidized loan.) However, if they reduce the grant by a chunk, or even eliminate it because my son is no longer in college, even though our EFC is not met, I can't imagine being able to afford to send her. On the other hand, if they do still offer the entire grant, the school will be more affordable than our state school, and it has a major which is much more in line with what she wants to study. It is a good fit if the grant stays as it is.

Anyone have experience with this? I hope that I have been clear. My only experience is with my son's college, which has been great with aid. I wish that I had a working crystal ball.

This may all be a moot point, as we haven't had any financial aid offers yet. I am just trying to anticipate next year. If I call financial aid, what should I ask? Thank you!

Replies to: Old Net Price Calculator; Also, After Next Year?

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,399 Senior Member
    You have a pretty long post...and really I'm. Not sure what your question is.

    But I'll try.

    Your daughter applied to schools that take the FAFSA only for a financial aid application. These do not meet full need. So...here EFC really doesn't matter at all. The colleges will compute an award based on their formula. You might or might not see institutional grant money...school policies vary.

    So yes...you just have to wait and see. Once you get the awards, you need to contact them and ask what happens when your older child is no longer in college. Each school will give you an answer.

    Re: the net price calculators...they really are for incoming freshmen only. So for your son who is a returning student, they would not really be accurate anyway.

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,233 Forum Champion
    NPCs aren't often accurate for returning students, but you could at least try to run it with 1 kid in college to see if grants change.

    As for old NPC's you'll have to "do the math" and compare the aid with the real COA ....if it's a state school or other that doesn't meet need, you can't count on them increasing aid just because annual costs have increased.
  • MazeArtCrewMazeArtCrew Registered User Posts: 191 Junior Member
    @thumper1 - Thank you for your reply. It helps to clarify EFC and the FAFSA. It also gives me a concrete course of action when the awards are received.

    Sorry for the long post - it is very hard to get my mind around all of the "ifs" and I did re-edit a few times before posting. I keep seeing "give me more information" on follow-up posts, so I thought that I would provide what I have up front. Thank you again.
  • MazeArtCrewMazeArtCrew Registered User Posts: 191 Junior Member
    @mom2collegekids - Thanks! I will run the calculator with 1 kid in college. That is a great idea.
  • MazeArtCrewMazeArtCrew Registered User Posts: 191 Junior Member
    @mom2collegekids - Thanks again - I ran the calculator with only 1 kid in college, and the grant was reduced from $18,000 to $15,000, which brings the the Estimated Remaining Cost to the same cost as our state school. $3,000 is a chunk to come up with, but at least they are not cutting it in half. Thank you for suggesting that. It is hard to not worry while waiting for the aid packages. This has put my mind at ease a little.

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,399 Senior Member
    edited February 2015
    Maze...when that Grant is reduced...you also won't be paying for the older child's college costs at all. Can you divert those funds to child two when the time comes?

    Also, is this the student considering Ringling? While I have no personal experience with its financial aid options...these schools have very limited institutional funding. Your daughter got an award (congratulations). It sounds like a merit award which should not be affected by her sibling's attendance in college. However, it is very possible that this is the only aid she will receive except for the Direct Loan. Ringling does not guarantee to meet full need for all of its accepted students.

    The good news for you...merit aid is not affected by sibling enrollment in college in most cases. The terms of this award should be in the award package. Contact the school for more info if these terms are not clear to you.

    It is need based aid that is affected by siblings in college...and unless I'm reading your posts incorrectly, your daughter has a merit award.
  • rhandcorhandco Registered User Posts: 4,290 Senior Member
    Don't depend on the NPC. It can be off by quite a bit. Tuition costs rise and merit-based awards can be calculated and be meaningless when you get your FA package. And then the FA office explains it away.

    As for an older child graduating, well yes of course if you have two in college, the total EFC is less than 2x the EFC of one child in college. The number I saw is each EFC drops from 1x EFC for one child to 0.6xEFC for each of two children.

    It seems grossly unfair in a way; if I get my younger children to enter college early, the savings is TENS of thousands of dollars for each year both are in college. How many people pay for college from their salary? Very few who aren't full pay I would bet, they pay from college savings or home equity (I'd like to see stats on that - at what point are people not paying from their salary because the cost is way too high?).

    It would be fairer if they consider the oldest having gone to college too, but they don't. They only care about this year. So with an EFC of 20K with one child in college, the total EFC of two children in college should be 24K (!) not 40K. Drastic.

    My understanding is that some not all colleges will give more grants to make up this difference, but that both schools are expected to, so that each child has 0.6 EFC as their "full need met" cost. Whether a college meets full need is another story.
  • MazeArtCrewMazeArtCrew Registered User Posts: 191 Junior Member
    @thumper1 Thanks for responding. I have already taken into account what we pay for our son - it is all going towards our daughter in years 3-4.

    She does have a merit award to Ringling. We hope it will come up with more, but are not counting on it :( I know that they don't give a lot. We are grateful for the honor of the Merit. D is continuing to apply to outside scholarships. Who knows!

    D was recently accepted at RIT, which would be a good fit, and I ran their calculator. (I keep seeing the recommendation here on CC to run the NPC.) RIT's calculator asked for GPA, but not SAT. D's gpa is lower than they give significant merits for, but her SAT is high (over 2,000, which is high for her major.) Her portfolio was accepted (not just reviewed) at National Portfolio Day by the RIT representative. We are hopeful for a little merit. From the NPC, though, it appears to indicate that the "imaginary grant" that is listed on the NPC is need based. I realize that this is all imaginary - I was just trying to figure out what happens to a need based grant after an older sibling graduates, (if you still have a gap between what the government says you can afford (EFC) and the award by the school.)

    Based on @mom2collegekids recommendation, I ran the calculator again, listing only 1 kid, and the "award" was reduced a little, but not by half. That tells me a little about RIT's response, but I will call after receiving the packages. Thank you thumper1!

    @‌ rhandco Thank you for responding as well. It is so interesting, one person says to run the NPC, another says it is most likely off by a lot. I wish the awards would just come!

    We have been very fortunate with our experience with my son's college and their financial aid office. We have been treated fairly, and they were very generous to our son, meeting the EFC. In high school he had challenging classes and good grades and a high SAT, higher than their average stats, so they were generous with the aid. His other choice was our state flagship, which while decent, would not have offered him the smaller class sizes, as well as other opportunities which he has had. We have not had to take out loans, which we really felt uncomfortable doing, as my husband is self employed. We are actually paying less than we would be paying at the state school.

    We are fairly frugal, and we do pay for college from our salary. We know that we are very fortunate that our son received a package which meets our EFC. We hope that they do this coming year as well (fingers crossed.) It is unnerving to imagine what might happen in our D's 2nd-4th years of college. Our son's college met EFC. Our daughter's will not. I wish I knew how each of the schools calculates aid for subsequent years (after older sibling graduates - I saw your figures, but the RIT Net Price Calculator shows different numbers). I will just need to contact the schools which look like possibilities after we see the aid packages.

    Thank you all!

This discussion has been closed.