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With A High EFC, Am I Wise to Skip Financial Aid Applications?

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey 28 replies254 threadsEditor Editor
This student is convinced he won't qualify for financial aid, and asks "The Dean" to advise whether he should still complete the FAFSA. https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/with-a-high-efc-am-i-wise-to-skip-financial-aid-applications/
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Replies to: With A High EFC, Am I Wise to Skip Financial Aid Applications?

  • evergreen5evergreen5 1462 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 9
    Yet another article on CC pretending to be helpful that fails to mention the existence of Net Price Calculators. "Suspect"? No need to suspect whether an applicant is borderline for aid when one can run the NPC and get an estimate. Yes, there are various caveats about accuracy that can be mentioned, but why pretend NPCs don't exist? NPCs serve an important function and the author knows better.
    edited September 9
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2129 replies100 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    ^The part about ‘suspecting’ you are ‘on the border’ referred to the border of admission, not the border of aid. For example, if a student is applying to a college that becomes need-aware only for the last few applicants admitted, and the students has stats in the bottom 25% but other good aspects to his application, the student can reasonably suspect he has a borderline chance of admission. In that chance, applying for aid might hurt. If he CAN pay all expenses without aid, but his family is thinking of submitting an aid application “just in case,” why apply for it and risk his chances?

    The student in the example named an EFC. I am not sure if that means that he already ran the NPC’s at his college choices in order to arrive at that EFC. But yes, it is always good to remind families about NPC’s.
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 1462 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 9
    One source of confusion is that "EFC" can refer to the FAFSA EFC, which is incomplete info when it comes to college-specific financial aid estimates.

    Also confusing: "My parents say to fill out the FAFSA anyway because they’re sure I’ll get financial aid" = they should run the NPC. Step 1.
    edited September 9
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29255 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It’s not a one size fits all answer here. First of all, very few school will meet need according to the FAFSA EFC. The most generous schools , as a group, require CSS PROFILE and the expected contribution for college is often far more than the FAFSA EFC. Also, NCP financials and family businesses as well as other situations are treated differently.

    Most colleges have a NPC (Net Price Calculstor) that is more accurate without special situations, some of which are mentioned above. Also some schools are coming up with initiatives targeting families making, say 200k a year with financial aid opportunities. Rice is a prime example. Also, with the COA ratcheting up past the $80k level st some schools, $75k EFC is no ceiling these days.

    It comes down to what a family is willing and able to pay for college. That number often differs from school to school. I’ve known families willing to pay full freight and then some for HPY, do whatever it takes for their kids to get degrees from certain elite schools, but they place limits in schools they feel do not have that luster or reputation or name recognition.

    So if a student applies to a school that is need aware, the question is whether the family is willing to pay full freight to get optimal consideration for admissions Do you -and your family want you to go to this school enough to pay full price, or is the NPC number with the financial aid estimate affordable, whereas full price is not? The most selective schools tend to be need blind, as are most schools. It’s s small number of schools that are need aware in admissions.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 791 replies90 threadsRegistered User Member
    For freshman from affluent families, it’s better to do aid paperwork for first year as your calculation can be off and you may get little aid from a generous school, a merit scholarship may require FA paperwork or a need aware school may pick you of waitlist just because you can pay.

    Once you selected your school and know their policies, there is no need to apply every year unless there is a substantial change in your financial situation.

    Agreed?
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29616 replies173 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Applying for aid is not going to get you rejected by a need-sensitive institution. Needing more aid than that place wants to give you is what might make the difference between a Yes and a No.

    The kid should listen to the parents, and apply for the aid. If the institution decides the kid doesn't need any aid, then not needing aid might work in the kid's favor.
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  • perseverance1perseverance1 31 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I am undergoing the same process, and checked with Emory, St. Louis Univ, Tulane. I was wondering if you would share which school did require FAFSA and/or Profile to be considered for merit aid?
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4967 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @perseverance1 Denison. The rest of his list was Bowdoin, Middlebury, Kenyon, Amherst, Williams, William and Mary, Davidson, Kenyon, Vanderbilt, Grinnell, Carleton, Dartmouth, Hamilton, Dickinson. None of these schools needed FAFSA or CSS.

    Of this group, only Grinnell, Kenyon, Dickinson, Davidson, and Vanderbilt give merit money so this exercise was only really needed for those schools on his list. Of these schools with possible merit money, he was accepted at the first four with merit from Grinnell, Kenyon, and Dickinson. Waitlisted at Vandy.
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  • MAmom111MAmom111 127 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @homerdog is there a benefit to not sending in the FAFSA? None of the NOC’s I have run have shown us getting any financial aid, only merit $, but I was planning to do the FAFSA anyways. Is there a reason/benefit not to do it?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29255 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Here is the problem if you do not send in the Financial Aid forms to some schools. There is, yes, the merit issue sometimes. But the more insidious issue is that if your family needs that financial aid in the future, you might not be eligible because the school accepted your student on the assumption of no need. I think it's danged nasty and sneaky that this is not made VERY clear at such schools, but it often is not. Most people don't think of this. You might have another child entering college, or some horrible disaster happen, and you are not eligible for aid because you didn't file at the onset. Job loss, illness, death, catastrophe. Things happen in life.

    There is also the fact that you need to file FAFSA for access to federally backed loans like Stafford and PLUS.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4967 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 16
    @MAmom111 if you want your son or daughter to take the federal loan (which anyone can take..you don’t have to have need), then you need to file FAFSA. I believe freshman year the max amount is $5500.

    The only reason to not do it at all is just the time to takes to do it. It only took me 30 minutes and I was curious about our FAFSA EFC so I did it. But I didn’t send it anywhere. CSS is more complicated and I didn’t even bother looking at it
    edited September 16
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4967 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @MAmom111 while NPC will just show you that you are full pay, they won’t tell you your total EFC. We were full pay on all NPCs so I knew our EFC would be above $75,000. I had to fill out FAFSA to see our actual EFC which ended up well into six digits. Bleh.
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  • roper1313roper1313 19 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I appreciate all of the insight. We are in odd situation, where our 2017 tax returns and asset information will show some need, not a lot, at most of my S20's top choices. However, in the middle of 2018 I jumped on a new career and my income increased significantly. After reading all the advice, I think we will submit the FAFSA, any aid is a good thing!!
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  • troutguytroutguy 1 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    There is a free "forecaster" for FAFSA: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate

    It only asks a few questions and I found it's fast enough one can do several scenarios.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2056 replies28 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @cptofthehouse wrote:
    But the more insidious issue is that if your family needs that financial aid in the future, you might not be eligible because the school accepted your student on the assumption of no need. I think it's danged nasty and sneaky that this is not made VERY clear at such schools, but it often is not.

    It would be helpful to name the schools that do this so that people can do their research....I frequently hear Drexel won't accept FAFSA later if not filed as a frosh applicant, but don't see that written anywhere. I agree if schools don't publicize this, it can be a nasty surprise....so any light we can shed for posters would be helpful!
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4967 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Good point. I also called all schools on S19's list and asked if we could file FAFSA down the road if we thought we could be eligible for aid. All schools on his list said yes. Didn't have to file freshman year and could file the other years if we'd like. I do think it's best to call and check.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74373 replies3255 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    But the more insidious issue is that if your family needs that financial aid in the future, you might not be eligible because the school accepted your student on the assumption of no need. I think it's danged nasty and sneaky that this is not made VERY clear at such schools, but it often is not

    This is true for international students at almost every college. If they don’t apply as freshmen, they can’t apply in the future.

    This is only true for a small handful of colleges for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. There are schools that place restrictions on applying in subsequent years if one doesn’t apply as a freshman. IIRC, Skidmore has a restriction. There are not that many colleges with this restriction for U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

    But do check.

    But for schools that don’t meet full need for all students, it’s very possible that more need based aid is awarded to incoming freshmen and returning students who have received aid...than for students applying for the first time as upperclassmen. Possible...
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  • thumper1thumper1 74373 replies3255 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    And the colleges cannot restrict your filing the FAFSA in subsequent years for the purpose of getting federally funded need based aid. The Direct Loan will be valuable to you...and if you become Pell eligible, you will receive the Pell.

    What might get restricted is institutional need based aid. But most colleges don’t meet full need anyway...so there might not be an increase or addition to institutional need based aid aid even if you file in subsequent years.
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  • perseverance1perseverance1 31 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 19
    Thank you, all, and yes, I too have found in my contacts with schools (SLU, UChicago, Emory, UVA, for example) that not filing FAFSA (or Profile) RISKS receiving less institutional aid in future "absent extenuating circumstances." As much as we try to plan for contingencies, that's not doable here:)
    edited September 19
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