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A great college and my situation

Lancer1010Lancer1010 14 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
I have a SAT and ACT score of 1500 and 34 respectively. However, my unweighted GPA is on the lower 3.55. I really want to go to a great private school for my undergraduate, which is local. My dad (only breadwinner in the family) makes a little over 140,000. I have two younger siblings. Considering his income, the equity left in the house, and the savings that he kept as retirement income, I know that he can maximum afford only 15,000 a year. He also told me firmly that anything more than 15K as EFC, I should consider alternatives. My dream colleges EFC comes close 50,000 per year. Two major factors driving the EFC up are my dad's house equity and the money that he is saving for his retirement. He told me that he also needs to consider other two kids as well. In light of this, is there any chance for me to get my EFC reduced as I can no longer depend on my dad to bridge the gap of 35K per year?
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Replies to: A great college and my situation

  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8758 replies322 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Colleges won't make up the gap just because parents don't want to pay. Run each college's Net Price Calculator. If they offer you enough aid then apply. But I'd avoid any that are out of your price range.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28780 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Have you run the Net Price Calculators for a number of schools that interest you, using your family financial info? Is that $50k an EFC estimate, or NPC result? If your father has his retirement money in a 401k or other qualified retire then vehicle, it does not count as assets for most schools

    How much can YOU pay per year for college? Do you have savings? Do you either summers, intend to work part time during the school year? You will be permitted to take $5500 freshman year. If you have slmevsavjngs, and can work over the summer and school year, get some money graduation gifts, you might be able to swing $4500, getting you up to $10k.

    $25k is close to what a number of state schools charge. Far less than some go Look up the least expensive schools sbdcyou’ll fond a number of the coming in at the $10-15K mark. These are not schools with familiar names. Schools like Minot , West Texas A&M. Or perhaps you can commute. What is local to you?

    Start looking for schools that offer a lot of merit. Some are lottery tickets, U of Richmond, Vanderbilt, Washington &Lee etc university of Alabama, often recommended here, is brought up because their. scholarships are guaranteed by test score and grades Look up “84 colleges with full ride scholarships “ to get a list of the players

    I think you can get some good options with $15k from Parrnts, &5500 Loan and some money you earn




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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29501 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Re-run the Net Price Calculator for that place with your dad. Double-check how the figures are entered. Some calculators will ignore retirement money that is in certain kinds of accounts, others won't.

    Without knowing the specific institution, no one here will be able to give you any specific suggestions based on their experiences with that institution. However, my best guess would be that no, there isn't a chance that the institution will drop your costs from 50k to 25k (15k from your family, 5k from a student loan, 5k from your own summer and school year earnings). Instead of expending your energy on trying to make this place work, focus on finding places that will fall into your budget.
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  • Lancer1010Lancer1010 14 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 15
    I did not expect to see quick responses like this. Thank you!
    I am local to Chicago. I don’t have any savings. I intend to work extra time.

    50K was from the NPC result. However, disclaimer line says that it's only an estimate and I may be qualified for other local scholarships, etc. but is not guaranteed. My dad’s investments are not 401K unfortunately. He had one high paying long-term deposit and a couple of investments in high dividend paying stocks. All adds up to 200K. He is nearing retirement too.

    No offense. One question lingering is my mind is that why path to my dream college should be shutdown because my dad is not willing (unable to) to pay for the difference. He convinced me that what is left (after taxes and mortgages, medical expenses, and other obligations) is not sufficient to make the 35K difference per year. Another option that I am considering is taking personal loans. I am not sure if I can get any low interest loans to bridge the gaps as I am currently only 17? I really worked hard to get high test scores thinking I could go to my dream school on merit-basis.
    edited August 15
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3571 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    No offense, but is your GPA explainable? Please don't criticize your sensible dad for not wanting to cough up when had your GPA been optimal, you might have had more open doors for merit?
    What is your major?
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  • Lancer1010Lancer1010 14 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 15
    My major is going to be computer science. My unweighted GPA was affected by a personal setback during one semester, which was not in my control. However, my weighted GPA is still optimal. My target university did not look at my GPA when setting the EFC. I think that the major factor driving the EFC up is the home equity. I tried different numbers to run what-if scenarios. If I put a small number for home equity but keep the same $ amount for investments, then my EFC went down to 19000! That really threw me off because I did not understand the logic behind system looking into my dad's home equity to set an EFC for me. He only has a small outstanding balance to pay off. I was not criticizing my dad as I completely understood where he stood. I was talking about the system.
    edited August 15
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 957 replies9 postsRegistered User Member
    Many students have parents that cannot afford their EFC. No financial advisor would recommend a 100% of retirement funds in 401k. 30k is not a gap you are likely going to be able to fill. There are many great schools and opportunities out there. You are not alone. Look at other options.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 37841 replies2065 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    There is only so much money that colleges have to offer for financial aid, and it needs to go to to the kids whose families have lower assets. Assets include houses. It makes sense to me. My parents sold some property when it was time to pay for college for my sister and me.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8758 replies322 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 15
    Are your state schools affordable? If your dad can pay $15k that will cover room and board at a lot of schools. The only loan you can take ss the ~$5500/year federal student loan. If you work summers you could earn another ~$3k. That gives you a budget of ~$23k. Start looking for schools in that price range.
    edited August 15
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  • Lancer1010Lancer1010 14 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Colleges won't make up the gap just because parents don't want to pay. Run each college's Net Price Calculator. If they offer you enough aid then apply. But I'd avoid any that are out of your price range.

    State school is within range with what my dad is offering. Thanks for your response.
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  • Lancer1010Lancer1010 14 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 15
    There is only so much money that colleges have to offer for financial aid, and it needs to go to to the kids whose families have lower assets. Assets include houses. It makes sense to me.

    It did not make sense to me. For example, if next door girl's dad makes exactly the same money as my dad and assume her dad has same investments as my dad. Let's also say that his daughter got the same test scores and GPA that I got. The only difference is that they just moved in by buying this new house with not much money as equity (new house). Her dad will pay a lot less than (looks like $30 K less per year in this hypothetical situation) my dad. That scenario looks very affordable compared to mine even though there is absolutely no difference in financial status. She could go to the best school in town while I may have to settle less for things that are not in my control.
    edited August 15
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  • blossomblossom 9688 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You are misunderstanding the formula. Assets are assets- and colleges which consider home equity don't care if your assets are in the bank, in stocks, or in the house- they are assets. You need to move on from your "this isn't fair" and get cracking identifying some affordable options Perhaps work with your dad to fill out a couple of the NPC's to make sure you are putting the right numbers in the boxes, and then start researching some new dream schools.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6490 replies52 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The GPA question was b/c a high GPA + high test scores can = a lot of merit money (vs need-based aid).

    The bottom line is that you have set your heart on the Lamborghini in the shop window, but you have a Toyota budget. All the railing at the unfairness of the world won't change that. Right now, with dreams of driving that Lamborghini around town you can't see anything attractive about that Toyota. When you say to yourself that it is time to stop dreaming and get serious about reality, you will notice that the Toyota comes with a lot of the functional features of the Lamborghini, that there are different types of Toyotas in some great colors, and (especially) that they will get you to where you want to go- which, after all, is their primary purpose.

    As for borrowing the money yourself- you can't. Your Dad will have to co-sign the loans, and given how careful he is being (to protect his own old age as well as to be fair to your siblings), I would be surprised to see him sign loans for $140,000 for you. That would be buying the Lamborghini, but sleeping in a tent, b/c the $1500 monthly debt repayment would eat up your rent budget.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73828 replies3220 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    what is your weighted GPA? Please answer this question.

    Why should your options be limited?

    1. Your parent income is $140,000 and the cost to attend this dream school is about 1/3 of that...if that $140,000 is gross income...then $50,000 is likely half of your family take home pay.

    2. You have other siblings who will be heading to college also...at some point. Are you suggesting that this factor needs to be ignored because you want to attend a very expensive private dream school?

    Do you live in Illinois? If so...what public university there costs $15,000 a year including all costs? Please share this...because lots of Illinois residents would benefit from the answer.

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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8758 replies322 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If the dad of the hypothetical girl next door is nearing retirement and just buying a home he likely doesn't have the same investments as your dad. His net worth isn't the same either because he's just starting to pay a mortgage and your dad is almost done. If your dad has $200k in equity and the neighbor has $0, your dad has a $200k asset that the hypothetical neighbor doesn't have, so their situations are different.

    Most kids have a budget they have to stick to for college. Many can't afford residential college at all, much less a dream school, so if you have affordable in state options you're fortunate. It's disappointing to not be able to go wherever you want, but you can waste your time dreaming up scenarios involving hypothetical people you assume have it better or you can focus on finding affordable options. Your test scores may make you eligible for merit. It will be a challenge with your GPA, but if you look you may find something. @mom2collegekids, does AL have merit aid for a student with a 1500 SAT but 3.5 GPA?

    You said your dad is the only parent working. Where's your mom? Can she get a job? I have friends who were in your family's situation and their eldest got accepted to an Ivy. The dad made too much for aid but not enough to comfortably pay, so the mom got a job and her entire income goes toward tuition. If your mom can work that would help. Colleges won't give families need based aid so one parent can stay home.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28780 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Home equity is available assets. Homeowner can sell the house and get to that money. Homeowner can borrow that money. It is not counted as an asset on FAFSA so you can get federal and some state funds without regard to it, but most private schools using CSS PROFILE and their own institutional methodology do count it as an asset. Assets are assessed at less than 6% on a parent after a certain allowance based on age and number of dependents. Some schools do not count primary home equity, by the way, and a number also cap that amount, so there is some flex in how colleges view that asset. You have to research and find the schools that do not hit it up as fully.

    Retirement money is not counted if it’s not locked away as such. Those assets of your father’s, though he may have them earmarked in his mind as retirement nest egg, he has not stipulated them as such, leaving it open to full accessibility without the restrictions designated retirement money have. There are reasons to do this, but there are possible consequences too. One of them is that it counts as general assets if you have over a general formula driven amount based on parents’ ages and again, dependents. That’s the way that the system is set up.

    Some people plan for college and structure their entire life styles around it so they get optimal consideration for financial aid. Some wait till college comes up before looking at the rules that have been in place for a long time. There are college savings vehicles like 529 plans that people use to save for college. Or in your case, the old piggy bank. You never got gifts of money? You never earned any money ? You have zero savings? When you fill out the applications for admissions, including the common app, there will be a whole empty section that asks YOU how much you have worked and how much of your expenses you have covered. It’s on there for a reason. Shows if you have been earningvsnf saving.

    I was lower middle class in terms of income, growing up. This was nearly a half century ago, but I had a sizeable bank account saved from gift money, scrounged money ,baby fitting money, summer jobs. My kids who didn’t get any financial aid, worked as many as 3-5 jobs in the summers. Main day jobs, evfningvrestaurdnt jobs, tutoring and private lessons, baby sitting, pet care gigs, other special events.

    College is expected to be funded by past, present and future earnings on part of the parents AND students. Both parents and students are supposed to have saved money for college, be putting current earnings towards college, and borrowing some money. What you don’t do in one category has to come from another.

    Private schools are a privilege. A luxury. You weren’t expecting your parents to send you to Andover, Choate or other pricey boarding school, were you? You went to Local Public High designated by that house your parents bought most likely. Or to options , again. available by locale. Unless paying for highschool. Why suddenly you expect to go to sleep away private school. You can afford your state and local options. That’s wonderful. Anything else comes out of pocket. Why should private schools, OOS have to pay for you. They open up the field with financial aid , some with merit money to get some stellar students outside of affordable parameters , but that’s entirely up to them how they pick.

    As I stated above,schools like your in state, but private colleges like University Of Chicago, do give money to on a merit basis if you are the cream of the crop. Others like Northwestern, also an excellent private school, does not. (Google “saying no to Northwestern”. It’s not just you and your parents in this situation) I directed you to merit awards sites. You can then see what colleges might pay for you. Rice and Johns Hopkins have new initiatives outside of their traditional financial aid, you might want to check out that offers aid for those from families earning about $200k or less. You might be eligible. That doesn’t show up on the NPCs yet.

    If you look st the charts like Alabama ‘s that give awards for academic stats, you can see the impact of your GPA on your market worth in the scholarships arena. You will take a hit in top school admissions assessment and in getting merit money because of that, no question. Some schools might use your weighted gpa, but most highly selective programs look at both.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6696 replies44 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The good news for you OP is that you don't need to go to a private school to be successful with a CS degree.

    FWIW, you are lucky your dad is being upfront about the budget now. Many students are unhappily surprised in the spring that they can't go to their "dream school" because it's unaffordable.

    Regroup and start your college search over from the finances up. Look for schools where you could see merit money based on your test scores.

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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1264 replies4 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The financial status of the "girl next door" is actually very different than yours. Let's say both of your houses are worth $1mm, and the next door neighbor carries a mortgage of $800K and your father only has $100K in mortgage left, your father's net worth is $700K higher than your neighbor's. Looking at it from a cashflow perspective, your neighbor has about a $3,800 monthly mortgage payment vs your dad's less than $500 monthly payment, assuming he refinances his remaining debt to the same term as the neighbor's. The ability of the 2 families to pay is very different.

    With a $25k/year budget, there are still great alternatives for you. Maybe the budget can be expanded a bit if your dad is willing to "lend" you the money since your interest is in a field where it is likely you'll make decent money. He might put in conditions that you have to maintain a minimum GPA in college and that you have to begin paying back the loan as soon as you graduate. In that situation, he has to be prepared to write off the loan, which he might not be prepared to do. Also intra-family loans create their own potentially troubling dynamics. It all really depends on the amount of money, amount of money relative to total wealth, family relationships and attitudes towards money. You have to understand it will be his call since it is his money and he is trying to budget for himself, you and your siblings.
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