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Financial aid at higher income levels?

CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Anyone have experience with FA at higher income levels ($300k)? I've seen the online calculators which do mention $250k+ as an income category. We have a large family, and are still paying off grad school loans, so there is a large cash burn rate. Also wondering: would applying to FA hurt admission chances, even if our EFC comes back as not qualifying for FA at all? Unclear at this point whether we would be able to send child to BS if we don't get some level of merit or FA so I want to be smart about where and how to apply.
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Replies to: Financial aid at higher income levels?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22974 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think your best bet may be merit. Very few schools give aid for incomes that high. You might be able to plead your case of high debt, boarding school costs, etc., but you are going to be a long way into the process before you know if that will work. You'll have to ask for professional judgment as if you just fill in the forms with your income and assets, I'm sure they'll come back with little or no aid just based on the facts.

    If you get merit aid, it's likely to stay with the student and not be subject to changing incomes, changing number of family members, changing boarding school/college tuition of those family members.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Run the Net Price Calculators on some schools your student might be considering. That will give you a good idea what various colleges expect you to pay.

    You can also try see if future financial aid is in the works with additional college students at the same time. Some families time gap years so that they have multiples in college because it can make a big difference in financial aid, especially at colleges that meet full need.

    You have to check with individual colleges if simply marking the financial aid box is what gives you a lower chance of acceptance even if your student ends up not qualifying for aid. Such schools often don’t take apps for fin aid if the student doesn’t apply the first year, from what I’ve seen. There really are not that many need aware schools out there.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That's what I feared since DK's top choices don't offer merit (well so few do). I will still apply and do the FA forms -- I do see some higher brackets mentioned (like on SAS it gives $350k as a bracket), and just cross the bridge when it arrives.
    I am thinking (hoping?) that applying for FA won't impact the admissions decision -- I would think the EFC outcome would be the important limiting factor? (Otherwise why would schools all keep saying "when in doubt, apply for FA?")
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 434 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    Sometimes schools say they don't give merit aid but they do. I know of 2 kids in this situation. One got a nominal amount $5000/year and the other a full ride. Both were much higher stat kids than the school's average applicant. Both have now graduated, one is at Williams and the other at Emory, so going to a "lower tier" school didn't hurt them.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks all for the helpful replies. Cinnamon, you are confirming my suspicions that there are perhaps some merit opportunities even at schools that don't come up in the "merit" search on boardingschoolreview.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Google “need aware colleges”. Those are the ones that might tag an application that includes a financial application and also have financial aid conditions like having to apply from the onset to be eligible later. Ask the college specifically about their policies if they fall into this category. There aren’t that many such colleges.

    Most schools don’t make any guarantee to meet full need anyways. I agree that in your DD’s case, it’s a good idea to seek out some schools that offer nice merit money. Tulane is a good choice, U of Arizona, Florida State has a great OOS program giving in state rates if a student takes a first year abroad. Pitt has nice merit for high stats and early applications.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I thought I was posting in prep schools forum but realizing maybe I wasn’t given replies are about college. Anyway — I’m talking about BS not college. Sorry for any confusion!
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  • RedLionessRedLioness 110 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Calliemomofgirls no, you're good! I think some of the repliers might not have read that bit tho...

    anyway, there is "hidden" merit aid, at least I think so. I definitely received more money than I strictly "needed" (and am super grateful for that!). You should go ahead and apply. The amount FA affects your application is likely proportional to the amount of money they grant you. If you're on the higher end, it shouldn't hurt the application terribly, so the pros outweigh the cons.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5715 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This may be a conversation worth having with the schools where you are applying to gauge how they view it. Few have NPCs on their website (like colleges do). They can help you assess if applying for FA puts you at a disadvantage and if it's likely to be available in your case. There are some that will admit regardless of FA and tell you what FA is available. If it works, great. If not, you figure out how to make it work or move on to another plan. There are others that will admit you only if they can give you what you need.

    Frankly, unless they encourage you, I would not do it if you can swing it without FA. You will be in the bucket of applicants who are from relative affluence who don't need FA, so unless there is something else to make your application super compelling, you will be bringing something to the school they can get from others without having to use FA dollars. BS classes, even at the largest schools, are quite small, so if the FA budget is limited, it'll be used to get students who are bringing something to the school it wouldn't have without them, and often, that is some kind of SES diversity.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29422 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, there are boarding schools and private high schools that are need aware in their admissions policies. My friend’s DD was WLed because of her financial aid application. When a relative offered to pay the gap between what she could pay and the costs, she was promptly accepted. All of this happened with frank discussions with the Admissions office there

    My kids went to a private prep school where the same occurred with kids. One sibling was accepted for admissions but not for aid.

    But schools vary widely on how they handle this. You need to ask each school.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1379 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You should call each school to which you are applying and have a conversation with the FA officer. I think handled correctly s/he could give you a better idea than we can. There must be examples of folks with very high incomes receiving aid/merit but I would also imagine it is very rare. Seeking FA is definitely going to put your child in a separate pool ( and make it more difficult). There are a handful of BS which are need blind. But otherwise, it's a question of acceptance and FA and you need both to attend.
    With all FA, they are trying to round out the class. They will pick the kids they need. Though it seems like many of those kids are URM, from a lower SES or have a unique quality, or sports ability. The BS are trying to get the best bang for their buck so maybe they need something your child can offer. But they would be weighed against the needs of others who need aid. Some kids need full aid packages and their parents have very limited resources.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1031 replies18 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do your homework on each school’s policy and specific opportunities for FA, scholarships, awards. We were able to access a list of scholarships for Emma Willard - some were geographic specific and/or merit based - not always based on need. There are scholarships for students from specific regions, states, counties in NY, artists, etc. This may be more common at single gender schools...but worth the research.
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 63 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 13
    @Calliemomofgirls A few schools with large endowments will charge approx 10% of your income. Your aid app will give you the opportunity to explain loans that lower your overall higher income. We have an income that is not in your range, but past an amount you'd expect to get money from a school. At the same time paying 220K for high school was impossible. We got about 2/3 waived. The request does have an impact on acceptance decisions except at Andover that accepts needs blind, but we were successful at another NE school.
    edited September 13
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 434 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    Ok, virtually ALL prep schools are need aware. Yes, there are a few -- few -- that are not. But most are.

    Besides deploying FA for more diversity, they might deploy it to get a kid with much higher scores than their average. It makes their numbers look more impressive, both on the admitted students end and on the graduating seniors end.

    So if the OP has a high stats kid, try applying to schools with lower average stats. In the cases I'm familiar with, the student scored in the 87th percentile of the ssat and attended a school where the average ssat was in the 50th percentile.

    The other kid scored in the 99th percentile and his school's students probably averaged in the 40th percentile. There were some extenuating circumstances but that's the kid with the full ride.

    As i said, both got great educations and ended up at top colleges.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for the discussion.
    The question about what follows you into the admissions decision: the binary y/n of applying for FA, OR the unmet need as calculated from the EFC (which could be 0 or something low) sounds like could vary from school to school. I will inquire when we start the applications (we are visiting first), and I'll report back any information I get.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2191 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The south and southwestern US is a good source for university guaranteed scholarships. This is due to lower population. If your kid has high SAT/ACT scores and top grades, check out Univ of AL, Univ of AZ, University of KY, and many other schools in the deep south.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 434 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    The south and southwestern US is a good source for university guaranteed scholarships. This is due to lower population. If your kid has high SAT/ACT scores and top grades, check out Univ of AL, Univ of AZ, University of KY, and many other schools in the deep south.

    The OP is talking about boarding schools, not colleges. You aren't the first to make this mistake:-). Probably a function of everyone reading "latest posts" instead of intentionally reading a particular forum . . .
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Also Cinnamon, I realize now I should have included "BS" in the post title. I tried to find a way to edit but cannot. Live and learn. Oh well...college will be here soon enough anyway so...
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 79 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Last application cycle one of the parents posted their theory on acceptance rates for FA and non FA kids. If the info was at all true, seeking FA definitely hurts your chances of admissions. However, if you can't pay for school without FA, getting in as a full pay family will not help you out anyway.
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  • CalliemomofgirlsCalliemomofgirls 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    one1ofeach -- I would love to read that post if you have a link for it.
    And yes I do realize that FA has a lower acceptance rate. The part I'm not sure about is whether it's just applying for FA or if it's the qualifying that puts one in a different bucket. (In other words, if you don't qualify for FA according to your income, do you go into the non-FA bucket or are you still in the FA bucket?)
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