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How does loss of employment and severance package effect aid?

collegeconfidentialcollegeconfidential Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
My senior daughter applied to several schools with some, along with the FAFSA required the CSS profile. My husband recently loss his job due to an acquisition. One of her schools (so far) she was accepted to has asked us to file out a Request for Revision since the loss of employment was noted on the CSS, for the financial aid package. My husband received a severance package. Can anyone with a similar experience tell me if the severance is excluded from the equation since it is a one time occurrence, or is it included and negatively effect the outcome? My husband was with the company many years and the service package is generous, but we will need it to live on as his looks for new employment and at a certain point pay health insurance if he does not find employment soon. Thanks in advance.

Replies to: How does loss of employment and severance package effect aid?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,713 Senior Member
    Each college and university will have its own policy about this. You should address your concerns directly with the financial aid office. They will be able to tell you what their policy is.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 20,188 Senior Member
    The special consideration paperwork we filed asked for information on any severance and unemployment insurance, and any other sources of money. Also asked for bills (rent/mtg, insurance, basic living arrangements) you will need to pay.

    When you file for the next school year, and use the 2018 tax year, you'll have to explain that severance package again because it will be income. Maybe more than a normal year if the severance were paid at the end of the last year and he'd already earned almost a full year of income, maybe less if paid more toward the middle of the year.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,725 Senior Member
    edited February 10
    The colleges will each have their own way to deal with your severance. Some schools will consider this as income but perhaps exclude it as an asset if it’s sitting in your bank account. Some colleges will consider the asset portion but not include this as income. Some colleges will include the severance as income and anything in your account will be considered an asset. Some will make a one time exception for,the severance.

    The reality is...your severance sort of is your income. I know it’s all you have right now and that is unsettling, but it’s not like you got laid off with nothing. And that happens too.

    So...give the college what they ask for. I view it as a positive that the college asked you to fill this out...based on your profile explanation. Good luck to you! I hope the make an adjustment.

    And I hope you have good luck finding a new job.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,594 Forum Champion
    edited February 11
    recently loss his job ...severances

    Look at if from the schools’ perspective. Unemployment is LOW. Likely your H will get another job within a couple of months.....so the colleges won’t feel that aid needs to be adjusted.

    In regards to severance....

    Yes it’s one time, but no one will expect that your H would be unemployed next year, or even by the end of summer.

    Best wishes for a new job soon!
  • collegeconfidentialcollegeconfidential Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    I am hoping you are right...each person's situation is different. The line of work my husband is in, with his skill set, the jobs are far and few between. Not to get into specifics, but it all sounds good until you are in the situation yourself and see the real reality of available jobs and salaries. We will have 2 in college and it is scary. Thanks so much for your well wishes.
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 4,213 Senior Member
    Hi, @collegeconfidential. You have my sympathy. My husband lost his job (he was fired) in early May of our older daughter's senior year in high school. She had, obviously, already made her final decision about which school she was going to attend. I can't recall if the school accepted a change-in-circumstances form from us that year. If they did, I doubt they increased their financial aid. I thought that was reasonable under the circumstances, because their initial package, a combo of merit and need aid, was generous, although not a full ride.

    D2 started college two years later. She received an extremely generous financial aid package, all need based.

    My husband (now my ex-husband) never looked for full-time employment again. (His father ended up paying him to be a caregiver for father and mother.) I was working part time when he lost his job and eventually was able to build up to full time but it took a few years. When D1 was a junior in college, D2 was a freshman. That year, our out-of-pocket costs for them for college were more than one-third our AGI.

    I include all this detail just so you know that there are folks here who have endured the challenges you're facing. I'm sorry you have to be part of the group now. I hope your husband gets another job quickly.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,725 Senior Member

    My DH lost his job one semester into DS’s freshman year at a very expensive private university. Let’s just say, my salary couldn’t pay both living expenses for all of us, plus college costs. He got a decent severance package but even with that...a lot of uncertainty.

    We contacted DS’s college and got the process for a special circumstances consideration. Our family income dropped by 2/3ds.

    That school was very clear. They did not even consider these reviews until a parent had been unemployed for more than 3 months....it might have been 6. Their assumption was that the parent would look for a job...not THE job...but A job. So...we got everything together in case.

    As it happened, DH almost immediately found another job. It wasn’t THE job but it was A job...and filled in the financial shortfall.

    So...contact your college and find out its procedure! And time line...and what you need to submit and when.

    Good luck with the college and your husband’s job search.

    I should add, I was fully prepared to pick up a second job if DH hadn’t found one.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,594 Forum Champion
    edited February 14
    The line of work my husband is in, with his skill set, the jobs are far and few between.

    Thumper is right. Sometimes the “next job” isn’t the perfect fit job. Sometimes it’s just a job to help pay the bills while the person continues to look for a better fit. Or sometimes the new job ends up being a good fit as the employee discovers that he/she has some previously untapped strengths.
    Post edited by mom2collegekids on
  • collegeconfidentialcollegeconfidential Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Yes, very true. I have no doubt that my husband will find a job at some point. He is a very hard worker, and open to all possibilities, including career change, although we are not spring chickens :-). We both will do what we have to do to make things work and get the kids through college. It is a lot to take in at once though with decisions looming and I basically trying to get information so we can make informed decisions. I appreciate all your support and informations navigating a confusing, stressful time for us. thanks to all again! :-)
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,869 Senior Member
    If the school is not affordable, then don't attend, take a gap year and apply to schools that are affordable. Generous severance package from many years of service might mean a > couple of 100K and a years plus of cobra, or maybe not. Either way, you don't have to pay huge $$ for college. Do you have loans out for your first kid? This might be the time to regroup.
  • collegeconfidentialcollegeconfidential Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Agreed. We do not know if the schools are affordable or not because we have not received all the financial aid packages yet. Of course if the college is not affordable, she cannot attend. Because we have the option of mentioning the unemployment now, I was looking for info on how it effects the package. Still many unknowns ahead and trying to get information so we can make the best decisions for our circumstances. Without going into too much detail, it is complicated.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,594 Forum Champion
    Talk to her favorite schools soon. It’s ok for the parent to do the talking for something like this. Find out what their policy is....such as do they require the parent to be unemployed or under-employed for X number of months before they adjust aid?

    Do they adjust aid at all? Some won’t because some don’t give much aid anyway.

    Don’t know which schools your child applied to but if some aren’t great with aid for lower incomes/EFCs, then what would be affordable with your former income, may not be affordable for someone with half or less than half of their original income.
  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,627 Senior Member
    D's roommate's dad went through this in the middle of her sophomore year. They had been getting a lot of financial aid and were on on a payment installment plan, and they asked the school (Stanford) what was the best way to handle it. The school asked them for their basic evidence of their financial situation changing. He basically got almost 4 months severance, but with no health insurance, their monthly expenses were very different after the first month. The school was fantastic to them - they told them that they deal with stuff like this every year, and they helped her family navigate the financial mess. They were able to adjust their aid for the rest of the current year.

    I don't know how long he was out of work, but D told me at the beginning of the following summer that her dad had just gotten a new "permanent" job.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 73,725 Senior Member

    One would hope that Stanford would be helpful considering their large endowment and very generous need based packages.

    Unfortunately, most other colleges do not have pockets quite as deep.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,869 Senior Member
    edited February 15
    4 months and no health cover isn't a generous severance package. Professionals with years of service in big companies might get what would be considered a very large amount of money, that is why this issue is loaded. Because if there is no more job before retirement, for example, that has to be money to live on, but many colleges will look at as a big asset.
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