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Husband just got laid off, 1 in college now, 2 next year....

OverRunMamaOverRunMama 230 replies12 threads Junior Member
When the FAFSA goes back like 2 years, how will this work, we have a son in college now - going off of 2 incomes ... but now when I do this FAFSA next month (for son & daughter who will be graduating in 2021), it will be using income again when we both were working, probably our highest earning year ever, and now we will be at our lowest point - he earned $70,000 a year, I only earn $40,000... now we are facing living off of my income... help! How does this work when the Fafsas are using other years income ?
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Replies to: Husband just got laid off, 1 in college now, 2 next year....

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25372 replies21 threads Senior Member
    You have to file the FAFSA with the information requested, which is from when you were both working. There is no place on FAFSA to address the new circumstances.

    You can then ask for professional judgment from the FA office of the schools your children attend. At each of my kids' school, there was a form on the FA webpage, and I answered the questions and attached the supporting documents (letter from employer, taxes with W2s, certification of unemployment. There was also a form to put in your budget and how you are meeting those expenses. It is okay to show you'll be in the hole for awhile, or that you have some savings, unemployment, live with relatives, etc. They understand most people newly on unemployment are taking in less than they are spending.

    It doesn't mean your children will get enough FA from the schools.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 31020 replies199 threads Senior Member
    Call the financial aid office at your child's college first thing on Monday. Ask to speak with one of the officers. Ask how to file the Special Circumstances paperwork. They will be able to tell you how to find the forms on their website, and if there is anything else you need to know or to do.

    Wishing you all the best!
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  • OverRunMamaOverRunMama 230 replies12 threads Junior Member
    What is this form on the FA webpage called.. is it "Special Circumstances"... can I google this form ?

    He was handed a Furlough letter stating his job was abolished, with 3 names on it (his & 2 co-workers) this is all we have right now.. from here on.. we can only deal with RailRoad Retirement Board - to learn how much he will get on UnEmployment / how long, etc... it is way less than those with Non-Railroad jobs I guess -its like a different entity or something...(we are thinking about $90 a day x 5 for a week, or less.

    So it sounds even a 60% slash in pay is not enough to adjust anything, it is sounding you have to PROVE you can not pay bills or are struggling financially then ? We will be OK getting through this year of son's schooling...

    I am just worried about how much we will have to sacrifice to our living - if we can't get that adjusted for NEXT year with 2 kids in College... (daughter planned on a low cost Community College but still it all adds up so much -with books, a car, etc)...

    Husband will not be able to replace this $70,000 a year job.. not in our area, we can only hope for him to find one that is around $30,000 to $50,000 if he is lucky at his age, during Covid and where we live... So when should these Special Circumstances be brought up...

    I so appreciate everyone who is responding to my question... you ladies are a true blessing !@#
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35932 replies404 threads Senior Member
    edited September 20
    @OverRunMama This is where you DO lean on the college. Not only are they familiar with surprise layoffs or economic downturns, they've spent the last 6+ months dealing with the covid situation.

    I agree you call first, speak with an officer, lay out what you do know. They may offer some chat, but will direct you to the "Special Circumstances" forms. Be diplomatic. You can be frank, they've experienced this before. It's usually part of their planning. Be sure to explain his prospects are limited. I, myself, would not volunteer having this year covered. See if it comes up. You do need help to make this work over the long run and you don't want them to say to wait a year.

    I don't know what college your son is at. Obviously, some are wealtheir than others, larger reserves, a more generous attitude. Some may offer bucket money, find a named scholarship, a high paying campus work offer, some have additional loan policies. And, some may not give a hoot. (Sorry.) But FA is where you start. IME.

    Many of us feel this needs to be phone contact first, not an email. Not just sending off the form.
    Keep us posted. Many here will have various ideas.
    edited September 20
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84344 replies1048 threads Forum Champion
    As mentioned, you’ll request Professional Judgement from the schools after you file FAFSA to remove your H’s income.

    However, since your DH just got laid off, the schools may wait until after the New Year to process the adjustment because they may want to check then to see if he’s found new employment.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 31020 replies199 threads Senior Member
    If you do a search for something like CollegeName Special Circumstances, you are likely to hit the correct page in the financial aid section of the website.

    My husband lost his bread-winner job half-way through Happykid's junior year. I understand what a shock this is to you. That is why I advised telephoning the FA office first. This is their job. The sooner you start things moving the better. Yes, your paperwork might need to wait until your husband can include the details about X, Y, or Z, but if you don't know that you even need to know about X, Y, or Z, you won't be able to track that information down.

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  • thumper1thumper1 79158 replies3573 threads Senior Member
    Call the college. Each school makes their own decisions about special circumstances considerations and professional judgment. This is not required and some schools don’t do these at all.

    But for those that do these, get the info YOU need from your college...and get them the info they ask for.

    Remember too, these are handled on a case by case basis.

    Get the info you need from your kid’s college. Good luck.
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  • OverRunMamaOverRunMama 230 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I have another question... we just had 2 sons Graduate from this same College, they are 22 and 23 yrs old... both got jobs but not in their field (I am very dismayed that Engineering degrees - how difficult it has been to even get an interview - then Covid hit and neither of them had 1 legitimate interview for even an entry level Engineering job)... but they still live with us...

    When filling out all these special circumstances forms , etc.. will they be taking into consideration these sons and what they make.. or do they NOT count ?

    I will google the school and look up these forms.. I am thinking all of these Colleges are going through this right now that the money will be depleted and many of us just won't get any consideration.. how can the country / all these colleges handle this too?

    It's an awful situation all around....

    One more question.. why is it imperative to CALL first ??

    I was thinking of just sending an email with the Furlough letter attached stating my Husbands job was abolished- this shows dates, his name, etc... to start things off.. and ask a few questions and see how / what they say when they get back to me.. if they didn't.. I would be calling though !

    Appreciate all your help, this forum is a blessing when you need some answers and direction..
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 730 replies2 threads Member
    I think many feel you can best express the gravity of the situation in a call with a live person. You may need to speak to a manager or more senior person. Initial e-mails at some institutions are handled by less experienced staff and may be misdirected. Furthermore e-mail is like a post card, easy to be hacked or read by anyone. Youvmay want some privacy.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35932 replies404 threads Senior Member
    Agree with Hippobirdy. It's personal contact, can be open-ended, and it's hard to ignore or set aside your papers when you're live on the phone together. I used to take a breath, admit I didn't know the ropes, and ask questions. (Eg, "Do you want me to provide xxx?" "If it's not available yet, do Iwait or send what I have now, so you can start?")

    I know you're in shock. But don't make assumptions that funds are depleted. That's defeat before you start. On the other hand, it may help if you name your son's current college. We may know a little more about them.

    I think someone noted correcting the Fafsa. If there's a CSS Profile involved, maybe that.
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  • mamommamom 3709 replies24 threads Senior Member
    I am going to jump in here wrt to the 2 with eng degrees. Did they do internships? That is where they should start looking for a job. If they did not do an internship, they should not be sitting around waiting and hoping for a job. Find an unpaid internship.
    Or, they need to up their skills, maybe a grad class in whatever, or a programming class. I don't know. In MA unemployment will sometimes help pay for that training. Unfortunately, in a few months they are competing with new grads. Good luck with everything.
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 730 replies2 threads Member
    edited September 20
    Also, could your older grads be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

    https://www.investopedia.com/pandemic-unemployment-assistance-pua-definition-4802064

    Some college students who worked in 2019 are said to be eligible through the rest of this year https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/07/college-students-may-now-be-eligible-for-unemployment-benefits.html

    Also, did your students get CARES act funds? Some colleges were providing these funds this summer depending on need.
    edited September 20
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  • thumper1thumper1 79158 replies3573 threads Senior Member
    edited September 21
    Why call first?

    Because you might feel you understand the process, but the school can best explain what to do. And how, and exactly what to send.

    Your husband’s furlough letter might not be all they need to do this.

    Very often, what is written about this in the website info isn’t comprehensive.

    Plus, you have a kid in school NOW.

    We were in the same boat. Husband got laid off the first term of kid’s freshman year at a very expensive private university. We called, and they were very helpful in terms of what they needed AND when to send it....and where to send it all.

    As examples...we had to show that DH had applied for unemployment and how much he was getting. We needed a letter from the company detailing any benefits and severance he was receiving and the length of time he would be receiving those...and the $$$ amount of his severance. In our case, the school didn’t even look at these things until 90 days after a layoff...because there was a hope that the laid off person would secure employment.
    edited September 21
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35932 replies404 threads Senior Member
    Yes. They expressed understanding, walked me through my questions, gave me a few pointers. None of that happens when you just send in a document, even with a cover note.

    It's like any good transaction. You want something extra, you don't send off a blind note. You put yourself in front of them. In this case, by phone.

    Sounds scarier than it is.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 42863 replies2307 threads Super Moderator
    Another vote to CALL. My daughter's school was very helpful when I explained to them our financial difficulties during the Great Recession. I think it's human nature for people to be more willing to help you when they've connected with you personally, rather than just reviewing information on a form.
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  • OverRunMamaOverRunMama 230 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Well..I called and it figures..you could only leave a message...so i did..and it was long .and detailed...and noone has gotten back yet..this was 4 hrs ago. The College is Christian College... Geneva College...private and smaller...about a 1,000 students...our sons can drive there so this helps with our total cost.

    Both sons and other fellow Engineering Students couldnt find any Interships .... i was hard on them about it..and both had trouble...and also ..again some of their friends.. 2 other Electrical Eng friends who graduated hasnt had 1 legitimate interview for even an entry level Eng position.. its sad... Our area is rather depressed to begin with.

    IT also seems women and minorities are at the top of the list for special consideration for Internships ...cant tell you how many ads I came across mentioning they should apply, so that didnt help either.

    Neither got any Covid help or anything..they are both working full time jobs...just not using their degrees.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25372 replies21 threads Senior Member
    There are engineering jobs or related jobs. My D is only 2 years out of school and had a job before she graduated, and has had several offers since. It took my nephew about 6 months to find a job and then had 2-3 offers to pick from.

    I hope your sons keep trying.

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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 42863 replies2307 threads Super Moderator
    My husband and I got master's degrees in structural engineering in 1986. We both had excellent grades and experience. We sent out 273 resumes with cover letters. We got just a handful of responses. Long story short, after months of searching, we accepted jobs 2,500 miles away. You do what you have to do. At least our story had a happy ending - we love Maine and are glad we were forced to move here!
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