Am I on the right page?

<p>Hi, guys. I'm kind of confused on the FA part of college, and I'd love any clarifications you might be able to provide.</p>

<p>As I understand it:
EFC: ~$3800 (combined custodial parent's + my income)
NCP contribution: ~$3000
How much NCP will be willing to contribute: $0</p>

<p>So, this means I should
a) apply to schools that meet full need
b) apply to my cheap instate flagship
c) apply to a school I love where I am guaranteed a good merit scholarship</p>

<p>My EFC is doable; I'm just concerned about my NCP's expected contributions. I'm directing my search toward loan-free schools and schools with caps on them.</p>

<p>Am I doing this right? I thought it wouldn't hurt to confirm with you all to avoid going in with misconceptions, though I'm continuing to read about FA policies.</p>

<p>You need to run your numbers through an online EFC calculator using the institutional methodology...to give you a better GUESS on what your family would be MINIMALLY asked to contribute to schools that require your non-custodial parent information.</p>

<p>Remember, the schools will compute your family contribution. The schools really can't consider whether a parent is WILLING to contribute...or not. They come up with a family contribution that you will be expected to pay.</p>

<p>Most of those "no loans", "meets full need" schools are HIGHLY competitive...accepting less than 10% of students who apply. Your first hurdle will be gaining acceptance.</p>

<p>You are on the right forum but you seem to have some misunderstanding of how FA works. </p>

<p>Where did you get the NCP contribution number? The NCP contribution is defined by the school. Some don't look at NCP income, others weigh it heavily. They all use different calculations. </p>

<p>Applying to your in-state flagship is usually a good idea, unless you can't afford that either. $3.8K EFC doesn't necessarily mean that's all you pay. That's the MINIMUM you will pay. The EFC just defines your qualification for federal FA. That means you will probably get a Stafford Loan and potentially some grant money (but not much). Applying to a broad range of schools is a good idea.</p>

<p>I am with Erin's Dad, FAFSA does not have a NCP section. EFC is a term that applies to the FAFSA only. WHere did you get that NCP contribution number? Did you use an on line institutional methodology calculator? You are mixing apples and oranges here, which, yes, confusingly the system does do as well, but you have to keep them straight when looking at how financial aid works.</p>

<p>Your EFC is based on your custodial parent and spouse's financials, along with yours. FAFSA calculates this number and really all it guarantees is eligibility to federal funds. The rest depends on the school. Your EFC does make you PELL eligible, so you will get several thousand dollars in PELL grant if your financial situation is the same next year and if you completed the estimator accurately. You also can get up to $5500 in Stafford loans, some of the subsidized, if the official cost of attendance numbers of your college supports that. </p>

<p>Most schools require the FAFSA if you are to get financial aid from them, but they do not guarantee to meet 100% of need as generated by that FAFSA EFC. Most of the time, you will get gapped. When it comes to giving their own money, schools can give it pretty much to whomever they please. </p>

<p>The schools that guarantee to meet 100% of need and those that tend to meet close to that, usually want more information and that is where the NCP info comes into play. Such schools usually want a PROFILE form completed that asks for NCP financials along with accounts for the other dependents in the household, home equity amounts and all sorts of other info excluded from FAFSA. You'll still get the government monies that the FAFSA EFC entitles you to get, but a second figure is generated by the schools,and they can and usually do differ from school to school, as to what your need is.</p>

<p>So when you are getting a list of colleges, make sure you start with schools likely to take you and that you can afford. Usually those are the state schools to which you can commute including community colleges. Then start branching out to schools where the odds start playing a role. The flagship state school might be a cinch for you in terms of acceptance but if you see that they give out very little in merit money and financial aid, you have to understand that you will have to come up with a lot of the cost of that school. Some privates that guarantee to meet need may go on your list, but usually in those cases, admissions is not any easy thing, and their definition of need and meeting it may not mesh with yours. You may also find colleges that have merit awards for which you are in the running that can make things more affordable than what your state U provides.</p>

<p>What are your stats? You may need to apply to some schools that give large merit as back ups. </p>

<p>What state are you in?</p>