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Non-custodial / Non-contributing parent (schools are including as "contributing")

MomFromMichMomFromMich Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
I have a question about my ex- who is not contributing to current expenses for our son, a HS senior. As the college admissions are rolling in, the amount of aid is varying. As a single mom, who has supported my son throughout high school with minimal assistance from his dad, I am concerned that some of the private schools that required the non-custodial CSS Profile and to whom we submitted Non-custodial Waiver Requests are not, in fact, considering the request. They seem to believe that I can somehow get my ex- to contribute. If that were the case, I would not be involved in legal action to get him to reimburse me for the past 4 years of curricular and extracurricular expenses. I don't understand how I am supposed to pay the amounts they are estimating, and am surprised that the financial aid office at one college in particular told me on the phone that if my ex- wouldn't contribute, then it would simply be on me and my son to pay. They were not interested in discussing the situation further--that was before he was even admitted! He was admitted today, and the EFC was $43K. I'm sure that's a lot for most people, but for me alone, that would involve me liquidating every bit of equity in my home, or taking on an extraordinary amount of debt. There are other colleges in the mix, and there are 4 that have yet to reply.
Any suggestions on how to revisit financial aid offers? I've also checked out that forum, and I thank you in advance for any suggestions.

Replies to: Non-custodial / Non-contributing parent (schools are including as "contributing")

  • a20171a20171 Registered User Posts: 962 Member
    This happened to a family friend of mine. They had 0 contact with the father and he didn't contribute a penny to ANYTHING prior to or during college. Schools did not accept the waiver request. It's extremely difficult to get.
  • goingnutsmomgoingnutsmom Registered User Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    I'm so sorry about this. This is unfortunately the way that most private colleges do their financial aid. It's like they consider that your problem not their problem- they still expect the other parent to contribute. I think partly because if they didn't then lots of divorced or separated parents might be able to take advantage of the system. Unless the school has mega coffer then this will be the case of them expecting both parents to contribute.

    There are schools that do not consider the non custodial parent in their financial aid- I think UChicago and Vanderbilt are two.

    Were the waivers not accepted? At this point I'm not sure what could convince them to believe that you are telling the truth. I have heard of other parents having a priest or pastor or coach write a letter supporting that they know the family since the student was a child and can attest to the parents absence from their life.

    Are their any public schools to which he has applied that only take FAFSA?

    Good luck. Let us know what happens.
  • Emsmom1Emsmom1 Registered User Posts: 775 Member
    In helping my nephew (he has a noncustodial parent-his father- who has contributed NOTHING to the family since he left), I've found each school is different. Some were very understanding and said don't worry about submitting the non-custodial parent forms and some insisted they could not consider him for financial aid without the non-custodial parent forms. Public schools, at least the ones my nephew applied to, only considered the FAFSA which did not include the non-custodial parent information. Some of the private schools wanted third party letters (e.g., from teachers or clergy) that said his father had not supported him and had no real involvement in his life. It really just depended on the school.
    Good luck! It's really so difficult for kids with divorced parents when the noncustodial parent won't pay their fair share.

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,985 Senior Member
    If you know how to contact the other parent, you probably won't get the waivers. The schools don't care if he won't pay. Parents are first in line to pay for their kid's educations. If they won't provide financial info or pay the EFC when they have, the schools feel no obligation to pick up the slack.

    Your son may have to take a gap year and apply to more affordable options if no school grants the waiver. Do not use up your home equity or take on extensive debt.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,466 Senior Member
    I am concerned that some of the private schools that required the non-custodial CSS Profile and to whom we submitted Non-custodial Waiver Requests are not, in fact, considering the request.

    You are requesting an exception, and the school is under no obligation to grant your request to not consider the NCP's income. The courts considered your ex as able to pay, so why shouldn't the schools? I think in your case most schools will NOT grant the waiver as you have the information on where to contact your ex, and you must have had some idea of his income since the school was able to calculate an EFC (from the CSS?). How is your case different than any other divorce where the ex doesn't want to pay? Does anyone really want to pay?

    It is really no different than a student from a family where the parents are not divorced who will not pay for the private school not getting enough FA to attend. The school looks at the whole financial picture, which parents are working, and makes the FA determination. Some schools like U Chicago and Vandy have decided not to look at the extended family income but just at the student's household (and I assume any child support would be reflected on the FA application), and there are a number of FAFSA only schools, a few seem to look to bio parents but not step-parents, but most schools do expect the student's family to pay.
  • MomFromMichMomFromMich Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thank you for all of the above replies. I appreciate it!
    To answer a few questions: @goingnutsmom -- it was not accepted at one school; we have not yet heard from the others. Also, there is, as mentioned, one local (private) school that did discuss the situation with us in person, twice, and were able to offer decent grant aid. This may be the best option.
    @twoinanddone: I do not personally have access to my ex's financial information. Only the schools that receive the CSS Profile have that, and they will not share it with me. This is another area in which my ex- is violating our divorce decree. He is "required" to submit W-2's, tax returns, etc, to me; he has never done this. I have retained an attorney, but that is expensive and time consuming. I can understand that there may be a perception that some would take advantage of this situation. However, I have an attorney on retainer; the schools will not accept documentation from an attorney.
    @intparent and @Emsmom1: we submitted a detailed letter from a high school counselor, who is familiar with the situation. I had to share rather personal financial information (and legal information) with him in order to help him write the best letter under the circumstances. We'll continue to investigate and see what we can come up with! I personally put myself through both undergraduate and graduate school, and do not want my son to be saddled with the same kind of debt that I was (my dad passed away my Freshman year in college).
    We'll figure it out! Thanks so much. I'll post again when we know more. Best to all of you and yours.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,985 Senior Member
    It sounds like your ex filled out the non-custodial parent paperwork. It doesn't matter what he will and won't pay to the CSS profile schools -- they expect him to pay, period. They don't care about your legal situation, bad financial behavior on the part of your ex, missed child support, whatever.

    My ex didn't pay a penny for D1, although he filled out the non-custodial paperwork. So I was stuck paying what the schools considered "his share" if my kid was going to attend a Profile school. D1 ended up at her safety with good merit aid, which I could afford. Fortunately it was a school she liked a lot anyway, and she had a very good experience. If the waivers don't come through, don't spend what you don't have.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,466 Senior Member
    @MomFromMich, it doesn't really matter if the schools got the CSS information from you or your ex. Most schools take the position that they don't care that the court has ordered him to pay (or not, many child support orders stop at 18/high school graduation) or that he won't pay. The schools feel it is his obligation to pay. I don't know what information your attorney could provide, other than that your ex hasn't paid child support. I don't think the schools care. If you didn't receive the child support, it wasn't included on your CSS, so the schools already know he didn't pay.

    There are a lot of us who just couldn't afford to pay the full price of private schools. I couldn't pay $30k or 50k per year, no matter how many calculators the schools used to grind and squish and stretch the numbers. My kids have no NCP, so it was just my income and I still couldn't pay what the calculators said I could. So my kids picked different schools, schools they could afford.

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,836 Senior Member
    edited March 13
    I'm sorry for your situation.

    1. Schools consider non-custodial parent waivers on a case by case basis,

    2. If your former husband completed the non-custodial parent form, you have NO basis for a waiver. A waiver is granted because you can't contact the other parent and that person can't complete the form. In your case...the form got done. No waiver.

    3. If a school asks for non-custodial parent information, they use it. Otherwise, they would not ask for it.

    4. You can ask for a special circumstances consideration, but I don't think you have good footing to do so, since the NCP completed the form. The schools are not in charge of collecting the money...they are in charge of figuring out how much you should be paying.

    5. In terms of any court orders for shared tax returns or anything else....the colleges will not get involved in that. And the colleges NEVER share Profile forms with divorced parents.

    BUT...glad to hear your kiddo has at least one affordable option. That is the bright spot in this!
  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl Registered User Posts: 2,213 Senior Member
    No different than a custodial parent refusing to dish out huge amounts of money for a private college. Parents are not obligated to pay for college, custodial or non-custodial.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 9,116 Senior Member
    Most instate public schools will ask for FAFSA with custodial parent info only, most OOS publics as well, and they might offer some merit. And private schools, like quite a few catholic colleges, often only ask for FAFSA.
  • ladygriffladygriff Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    Wish I'd known this before. Now my heart is set on a few private schools and one has already rejected the waiver even though I have never seen my father a moment of my life.

    If Id known before applying I'd have to track down a stranger so I could afford to go to private schools, would have saved me a lot of time. :(
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,836 Senior Member
    edited March 19

    The colleges that want non-custodial parent info have that ON their websites. If a school wants that info, they want it...and only in very extreme circumstances would a waiver be given.

    In addition, both the Profile has been available for filing since October 1,2016 for the 2017-2018 academic year. You could have requested that waiver in October...and gotten the results of that request LONG before now.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 9,116 Senior Member

    Here is a list of schools requiring CSS profile. It says if they require the NCP as well.

    Schools not on the list would then require only FAFSA or their own forms.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,836 Senior Member
    I would strongly suggest that any student check the COLLEGE website in terms of what is required...or not...for financial aid submissions. The College Board list is not always current.

This discussion has been closed.