Amherst ED Award Package

<p>The news came in on tuesday- accepted, early decision round! However, I received the estimated financial aid letter today, and my heart kind of plummeted. In the letter, Amherst calculated that my parents would need to pay 35k per year; however, when we had filled out the EFC before applying, it had spat back a number around 5k. At the very most, my parents can contribute 13k. I had heard from others that Amherst's EFC was pretty accurate, so what happened? How do I go about appealing the package? And does anybody know how generous Amherst is when it comes to negotiating financial aid? </p>

<p>Honestly, I would love to attend Amherst (and still can't believe I got in), but at 35k, I won't be able to afford it. Waiting until Monday so I can give the Financial Aid office a call...</p>

<p>Is one or more of your parents self employed?</p>

<p>A 5K EFC typically means low income parents. Probably non professionals with few assets. $35K typically means upper middle class professional home owners with some assets.</p>

<p>Which sounds like your family?</p>

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And does anybody know how generous Amherst is when it comes to negotiating financial aid?

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<p>If there was some mistake in the calculation, they might adjust the offer. But they are only likely to 'negotiate' (usually called review) your FA package and offer more if you have a more generous offer from a peer school. Since this is ED, you don't have that leverage.</p>

<p>Can you clarify....</p>

<p>A $5k family contribution would be for a low income family with modest assets. Does your family have a good income, large assets, or lots of home equity?</p>

<p>As mentioned above....are your parents self-employed or employed in a way that they take a lot of business deductions?</p>

<p>Did they put a lot of money into a retirement acct this year? </p>

<p>Did you use the NPC on Amherst's website or a FAFSA EFC calculator???</p>

<p>A $35k "family contribution" suggests either an income of around $100k-120k....or a lesser income with lots of assets or business deductions.</p>

<p>My father's income is around 100k. My mom owns her own business/is self employed, and is the only person in her business. She says she makes about 30k, but the actual "profit" is only a couple thousand. My parents don't really discuss their financial situations with me, so I'm not too sure on the exact details. I come from a family of five in California and I have an older brother who is currently attending college as an undergrad. It just seems crazy that the estimated family contribution is over a third of the family income. We used the NPC on Amherst's website to calculate the 5k that I mentioned above. When entering the information into other colleges' calculators (Pomona, Middlebury), we got a lower EFC.</p>

<p>If your father makes 100k, you should have never gotten a 5k EFC. Even with the 130k in income (from your dad's income and your mom's income) an EFC of 35k is more in line with the income earnings.</p>

<p>Another possible disconnect and the gap in your financial aid is coming from: you mom owns a business. Many of the business expenses, losses that she may be writing off are added back in for financial aid purposes. </p>

<p>If you cannot afford Amherst, and you have already spoken with your parents, then you need to ask to be released form ED. I would expect similar EFC from Pomona and Middlebury</p>

<p>The NPCs are new, and judging by the posts here, they are woefully inaccurate.</p>

<p>The $5K sounds very low for a family making $130,000. EFCs often are about one-third of income, though Amherst is often more generous. They expect both that your family has saved and is willing to borrow.</p>

<p>With a sibling in college, it should cut your Amherst EFC almost in half if your parents are paying for his schooling. </p>

<p>When a parent owns a business, things become far more complex. Many colleges don't allow them the deductions the IRS does and they can further put a value on the business and business assets.</p>

<p>Call Amherst and see how they calculated your family contribution.</p>

<p>*My father's income is around 100k. My mom owns her own business/is self employed, and is the only person in her business. She says she makes about 30k, but the actual "profit" is only a couple thousand. *</p>

<p>If you got an EFC of $5k, it sounds like someone didn't put the numbers in correctly. Go back and do it again and see what you get. </p>

<p>I agree that some of the NPCs don't seem to be giving nearly accurate estimates, this has been by far the biggest difference....700% difference...which is why we're wondering if some mistakes were made inputting the numbers. </p>

<p>Even without your mom's income it wasn't realistic to expect your EFC to be so low. But the issue is worsened by the likelihood that the school may not have allowed all of your mom's deductions. Your parents may also have assets and home equity.</p>

<p>Does your brother attend college on some kind of scholarship? Since your brother is already in college, why is your family so unfamiliar with what it's real EFC is?</p>

<p>If your brother does attend school on some kind of very large scholarship, then some schools won't split the EFC.</p>

<p>*We used the NPC on Amherst's website to calculate the 5k that I mentioned above. When entering the information into other colleges' calculators (Pomona, Middlebury), we got a lower EFC. *</p>

<p>Were you there when the information was put into these NPCs????</p>

<p>If her brother is at a school that doesn't require PROFILE, would that give him a lower EFC?</p>

<p>My experience with the new NPC's when there is one student or two students:
The difference is negligible. I have run the calculators both ways and MOST schools offer an extra $2k-$3k if you have 2 students vs. 1 student. This equates to @ 10% discount of EFC. The FAFSA EFC is cut in half for 2 students - definitely not so with the schools' NPC. In the OP's case I would assume some figures were not entered correctly. My EFC (by FAFSA) is about 5 times higher (than OP) with a much lower income. Did the older sibling file FAFSA last year? That should have provided an EFC that would be halved for 2 in college. Of course Profile schools will calculate the EFC very differently (typically resulting in a much higher EFC).</p>

<p>I agree, even putting the self employed mother etc. etc. aside a straight income of $100,000 would produce a much, much higher EFC so something went amiss when the OP and her parents worked the FAFSA calculator. Who knows what inputs were used by the OP for the institutional or Amherst's on-line calculator...the simple FAFSA calculator should have been a heads up of the "lowest" possible number for family contribution.</p>

<p>It's also hard to believe that people would think that having a 6 figure salary would only yield a $5k contribution. Who would be the full payers? Only those who make 7 figures???</p>

<p>Exhibit #247 as to why ED is usually not a good idea if you are expecting FA help.</p>

<p>I guess my mom entered something in wrong when she plugged in the numbers. I wasn't there when she filled out the calculator. She sat down with my dad last night and they re-entered in the numbers (correctly) and the NPC gave us a number around 14k. The numbers that we plugged in are the same ones as we filled out on the Profile that was sent to Amherst. We never expected to actually only have to pay 5k and in fact, did expect a number much higher- just not as high as 35k.</p>

<p>and the NPC gave us a number around 14k. The numbers that we plugged in are the same ones as we filled out on the Profile that was sent to Amherst. We never expected to actually only have to pay 5k and in fact, did expect a number much higher- just not as high as 35k</p>

<p>It sounds like Amherst added back in some of your mom's deductions. Even with the $14k number from the NPC, Amherst's actual "family contribution" is still over 100% higher. It doesn't seem like it was just the deductions that caused the higher number. It sounds like their NPC is estimating low anyway.</p>

<p>How many people are going to be shocked by their actual FA packages when the NPC gave them a lower number? How many people are going to find out that their financial safeties are not affordable?</p>

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How many people are going to find out that their financial safeties are not affordable?

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<p>Those of us who selected a financial safety based on the assumption of no FA?</p>

<p>(Yes, I know for some people that's not possible!)</p>

<p>^
Then why would you say it? Is it satisfying to you to diminish those that need FA?</p>

<p>It sounds like the self-employed mom had gross receipts of about 30K and expenses/losses of about 28K, so her net profit was around 2K.</p>

<p>If that 28K was made up of a loss, high depreciation expense on business assets, vehicle expense, etc. then those expenses/losses were added back in as income. </p>

<p>Self-employed income taxes are not deducted vs. your income either. When you have to put down your "Federal Income Taxes Paid", use figure on Line 55 on 1040 Form. You may not include self-employed taxes from Line 56 from the 1040.</p>

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Then why would you say it? Is it satisfying to you to diminish those that need FA?

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<p>I'm not diminishing people who need FA to attend very low cost schools. People who could attend very low cost schools without FA but choose not to apply to any have no basis for complaint when their "financial safeties" prove to be unaffordable.</p>

<p>punkadilly, it sounds like we were in a very similar situation two years ago. S applied to 5 schools that offered only need based aid, plus others that offered merit aid, but he applied to all of them regular decision so he was able compare FA packages. He was accepted at all 5 need-based schools but the need-based aid varied wildly. Bowdoin was his top choice and they offered literally half the need-based aid the others did, apparently they have a unique twist to their formula. I appealed but they were unswayed, even after I showed them the other packages. Definitely make an appeal, nothing ventured nothing gained. I don't know how Amherst calculates need but they may be more open to appeals than Bowdoin was, especially since you were admitted ED. </p>

<p>Believe me, you're not the first middle class kid to get a FA package their parents can't afford to pay and I KNOW how painful it is, especially after the schools say that they'll meet 100% of demonstrated need. It's the "demonstrated" part that's tricky. My son ended up at a great (albeit lesser known) school that gave him a beautiful merit award and he really loves the place, both academically and socially.</p>

<p>Best wishes, I hope it works out at Amherst and congratulations for getting in!!!. If you don't end up there, just try to remember that you can be equally happy somewhere else.</p>