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The amount you expect your parents to contribute

geekgurlgeekgurl 217 replies122 threads Member
Maybe I should have had a more thorough discussion with my parents before I submitted the CSS Profile, but I wasn't sure how much they would be able to contribute so I just entered 0. Yeah, that was little stupid of me to just put it that way.
But anyways, I talked to my parents after submitting it, and it turns out they could contribute somewhere around $10000-$15000 (for the next academic year). Is that information even important enough to bother sending an email to each of the schools to get this corrected? Bc if it's an important information for their side I should inform them but I don't want to email them if it's unnecessary.
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Replies to: The amount you expect your parents to contribute

  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15290 replies1035 threads Senior Member
    CSS will allow the colleges to determine what your parents will have to contribute.
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33360 replies4081 threads Super Moderator
    Your aid offers will be based on your family's finances, not your estimate of how much your parents are willing to pay. No need to mail the schools.
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  • geekgurlgeekgurl 217 replies122 threads Member
    So it's not an important piece of data then? But then why would they ask it in the first place?
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  • thumper1thumper1 76595 replies3392 threads Senior Member
    That question on the Profile is NOT used to compute your family contribution. It’s very possible that the schools will calculate a number higher than $10,000...or lower. This is all based on the financial data provided on the Profile...not what you say your family can contribute.

    You are an international student with a number of applications to schools that don’t guarantee to meet full need for international students...or that are need aware for admissions. You also claim to have affordable acceptances already as well.

    So...don’t bother sending emails to the colleges. This question on the Profile doesn’t matter.

    At the end of the application process...you will be required to provide documentation of finances to support at least one year of college in order to get a visa to study here.

    Hopefully you have the money to do that (which can include awarded financial aid and approved loans).
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  • CSSdadCSSdad 2 replies4 threads New Member
    Colleges provide an estimate of what they think parents could afford. But parents decide what they will actually contribute.
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  • geekgurlgeekgurl 217 replies122 threads Member
    @CSSdad Really? I thought parents had to contribute the amount on the financial award letter (or the final amount after appeal, if any) if the student decided to attend that particular school.
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  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12526 replies545 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    "Colleges provide an estimate of what they think parents could afford."

    @geekgurl
    this is not correct. Colleges, after reviewing the financial information provided by parents and the IRS, then calculate what they are willing to provide in the way of Financial aid. Any difference between their offered FA package and the total cost attendance-Tuition, Room and Board and all the other misc fees, is the EFC- which stands for Expected Family Contribution, which is NOT "what they think parents could afford", but what MUST be paid in order for the student to attend. Big difference.
    Now, parents certainly CAN say "no way" we can't afford that", but that means that the student won't be attending that college.

    "I thought parents had to contribute the amount on the financial award letter (or the final amount after appeal, if any) if the student decided to attend that particular school.
    that IS correct
    edited February 2019
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15290 replies1035 threads Senior Member
    @geekgurl Parents have to contribute the amount the college determines or the student has to go to another college.
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  • geekgurlgeekgurl 217 replies122 threads Member
    Thanks @menloparkmom and @TomSrOfBoston for clarifying this. Does that mean that the value you enter in the CSS Profile for the amount you think your parents can contribute isn't an important information at all, since the amount that they're supposed to contribute is calculated based on the official tax return forms etc and reported income/asset values? Logically it seems to me that is true, but then I'm curious why that question is even on the form in the first place. My parents are worried that I made a big mistake on the application so would be nice to know if I really did or (hopefully) not.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80232 replies720 threads Senior Member
    The question theoretically can be used in the following way. As an example, consider an applicant for whom the college's usual FA methodology calculates a parent contribution of $20k and a student contribution of $8k for a net price of $28k.

    If the applicant said that the parents will pay $18k, and the applicant is particularly desirable to the college, the college may preferentially package FA with a parent contribution of $18k for a net price of $26k. Or the college may throw in a merit scholarship of $2k as another way of lowering the net price to $26k.

    On the other hand, if the applicant said that the parents will pay $23k, and the applicant was "reaching" for the college, the college may do the opposite thing and offer FA with a parent contribution of $21k or $22k for a net price of $29k or $30k.

    Whether any college actually does this is unknown, and it is unlikely that a college that does this will say so. (But if no college does this, why does the question exist?)

    But if you are concerned, just make sure that your answer is no higher than the parent contribution that any of the college net price calculators say.
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  • geekgurlgeekgurl 217 replies122 threads Member
    @ucbalumnus Well I entered 0 (maybe should have given more thought on that) so there's no way this can be higher than the potential parent contribution. But I asked Cornell's financial aid office about estimated financial aid (and I applied there), and they said although the NPC is meant for domestic students, they told me to just run the calculator (with converted currencies) and said that should be accurate enough to give an estimate, and that calculator gave 0 parent contribution and $2700 student contribution. (that's why I didn't feel uncomfortable entering a 0 then)
    I was just concerned that if the college determines the parent contribution to be something like 10K (which is actually possible for my parents) and they see I entered 0 for "expected parent contribution" they might reject me just because of that. But the first situation analogy answered this question I guess.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80232 replies720 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    Looks like $0 makes sense if college NPCs are saying $0 for your expected parent contribution.
    edited February 2019
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