We're, I think, unlikely to get Fin Aid. Our income is all self-employed, from a mom and pop rental business. We will have only one in college at the time, and our income is probably about 200K (but we have enormous healthcare expenses, buy ins through the exchange, pay the full deductible every year). The value of the rental real estate we own is probably about 2 million, but it's also the source of our income - think farmer who owns his land. Kid is applying to a few Ivies, and also some flagship state U's where he will probably get merit aid.
I know that schools say that they are need-blind, but I think that is not necessarily true. I have seen marginally qualified younger sibs of full-pay families get into the same school their older sibs had gone to, and the schools knew that the kid was likely to pay full fare, because the older sib had. As for the flagship state schools, I know that they are looking to improve their bottom line with higher paying out of state students.
So, I'm feeling that if kid is unlikely to qualify for aid, we should not check the box. Kid is applying early action to one Ivy, and one flagship state U - the rest of his applications will be regular time frame. I don't want him to say "Yes, I will be applying for financial aid" at this point. I think that if he gets into his early action Ivy, he can always tell them in late December, "I changed my mind. I do want to apply for financial aid".
Does anyone know if saying "No" on the common app precludes one from applying for fin aid late on in the cycle?