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Impact of Dad's Recent Unemployment

lesjubilantslesjubilants Registered User Posts: 282 Junior Member
Hi all! Filed the FAFSA in early October, got a $50,000 EFC (which was, at the time, completely out-of the question as well). My dad lost his job at the end of October and has still not found a job. Prospects are dim. He's considering going back to school to get a teaching degree. His income was about 2/5 of the household income.

Obviously, the 2016 financial information on the FAFSA and CSS does not reflect this. I understand that we will probably have to contact colleges individually and explain the situation, but do you think this will make any difference? Even before my dad lost his job, we could only pay $30,000 a year--the cost of living is extremely high where I live (northern NJ). Now, my family won't even be able to do that. Any insights?

Replies to: Impact of Dad's Recent Unemployment

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 18,914 Senior Member
    Go to the school's FA page and there should be a form for change in circumstances. You fill that out and submit it to the school. The forms usually have a list of what they'd like to see (notice of loss of employment, final paycheck with any severance pay, information about unemployment insurance). And then you have to beg them to give professional judgment about your situation.

    If you haven't chosen your school yet, you may want to have a conversation with someone in the FA office at each school still in the running. One might be able to give you more than the others.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,095 Senior Member
    Exactly. You want to find the "Special Circumstances" paperwork. If it is not right in the Financial Aid pages of the website, comtact the financial aid ofice, and ask them for the correct link.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,054 Senior Member
    edited January 13
    Yes, do contact your college.

    You say that your dad’s income was 2/5...which implies that your mom’s is the other 3/5.

    With a $50,000 EFC, I’m guessing that your family income was about $180,000 a year or so. Your dad’s share of that would have been about $36,000? Is that correct? If so, your remaining family income would still be in the $150,000 range. Is that right?

    Some of your other colleges are very generous ones, but others are not.

    Absolutely contact financial aid at each school regarding this job loss situation. At some, maybe it will make a difference in the aid offered to you....maybe. At others it won’t. But you won’t know if you don’t ask.

    You have excellent stats...hoping you applied to some places where significant merit awards are a possibility as these do NOT hinge on family income.

  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,118 Super Moderator
    Because your father's job loss was recent (October), it may have no bearing on your financial aid package.
    Was your father laid off? Did your father receive a severance package? if yes, was it a lump sum or will it be paid out over time. There is already an assumption that he will find another job.

    If your father makes a conscious decision to not go to work and return to school, it may not necessarily net you more financial aid. Even if he is considering going back to school for a teaching degree, this can be done at night, while still working during the day.

    Make sure that you have some affordable options on your list
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 3,574 Senior Member
    Read the definition of displaced worker carefully -- if your dad qualifies, refile your FAFSA.

  • pkgny2022pkgny2022 Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    @thumper1 - 2/5 =40%, not 20%.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 18,914 Senior Member
    Being a displaced worker really only gets you something if the family AGI is under $50k (simplified assets). You don't refile FAFSA, you make corrections and the income (from 2016) is not wrong on the FAFSA so there is no correction to be made.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,054 Senior Member

    So with $180,000 income....40% of that would be $72,000 or so. Family income would still be in excess of $100,000.

    This might make a substantial difference IF th colleges meet full need for all accepted students (judging from other threads...that could be the case)

    Of course some of the EFC could be determined by assets. That wouldn’t be affected by the job loss at all.

    Absolutely....contact the financial aid offices at EACH college and find out what their procedures are for a special circumstances consideration. They will tell you their process.

    As noted, if your dad received a severance package, this will be considered when schools review your request.

    Some colleges will look at this now. Others may have you wait...but contact the schools...they are on the best position to give you the answers.

    Dislocated worker would only benefit this student if the income was below $50,000 for the year. It doesn’t seem that would be the case.

  • lesjubilantslesjubilants Registered User Posts: 282 Junior Member
    @thumper1 @sybbie719 My dad was fired and did not take the measly severance package that they offered him. As I said, job prospects are really, really dim. He is old and his expertise does not lend itself to jobs outside of the narrow field, which is why he is considering going back to school. I suppose the only thing I can do is contact the fin aid offices and hope they understand. It just sucks because it's added another layer of stress to the college process.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,118 Super Moderator
    edited January 13
    If he was fired, he would not be considered a displaced worker

    It was his choice to turn down the severance
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 3,766 Senior Member
    edited January 13
    According to the link above, a person who has received a termination notice can be considered a displaced worker. "Fired" can equal "terminated."
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 18,914 Senior Member
    He would definitely be considered a displaced worker, @sybbie719 The definition for 'displaced' is very loose and you you decide for yourself if you aren't working at a job or level of job. There is no time period on the designation either. It only really helps to get the 'simplified assets' designation, so the AGI still has to be under $50k.

    A fired worker can also qualify for unemployment insurance if the dismissal wasn't for cause. The father may have turned down severance in order to keep other rights open, like to sue for discrimination or harassment, but none of that has anything to do with FAFSA. FAFSA's questions are pretty direct - how much did you make, not how much COULD you have made.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,118 Super Moderator
    edited January 14
    From the Financial Aid Handbook

    Page AVG-30

    Dislocated worker (84). This status, as defined in the Workforce Innovation
    and Opportunity Act or WIOA, is an alternative to the tax
    return and means-tested federal benefits criteria for determining if a
    person qualifies for the simplified needs test or automatic zero EFC. A
    person would answer “Yes” to this question if she meets the statutory
    definition of dislocated worker but does not appear to because of the
    general nature of the FAFSA instructions. Under the WIOA, a dislocated
    worker is someone who falls into at least one of these categories:

    ➔ A person who meets all of the following requirements:

    • s/he was terminated or laid off from employment or received a
    notice of termination or layoff;

    • s/he is unlikely to return to a previous industry or occupation.
    ➔ A person who was terminated or laid off from employment or received a notice of termination or layoff as a result of any permanent closure of, or any substantial layoff at, a plant, facility, or enterprise.

    page AVG 33

    Not everyone who receives unemployment benefits will meet the definition of dislocated worker. For example, in general those who quit their jobs are not considered dislocated workers, even if they are
    receiving unemployment benefits.
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,118 Super Moderator
    edited January 14
    From SUNY Farmindale Dislocated Worker Verification Sheet

    You indicated on the 2016-2017 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) that you, your spouse, or a parent is a dislocated worker*.

    *A person who quits a job, is fired for unsatisfactory performance, is laid off due to seasonal employment, or was previously laid off but is now employed part-time or as a temporary employee, or is in an internship is NOT considered a dislocated worker. Those who qualify as a dislocated worker have generally been laid off or terminated due to the effects of the economy, company downsizing, substantial layoffs, plant closure, a merger or employer going out of business.
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,416 Senior Member
    How old Is old, like close to retirement old? Do they have a lot of assets? Savings? Brokerage? I don't understand the severance package issue, he rejected it?
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