Does CSS tend to reduce or inflate EFC?

<p>So we got our EFC recently from the FAFSA and basically it's $30K more than what my parents have told me they can pay. They can go a bit up from that original number but nowhere near our EFC. But most of my schools use the CSS profile which takes more factors into account, so I'm hoping that reviewing the CSS will make our financial aid offers more reasonable. So I'm just wondering, in general does the CSS profile lead to families getting more financial aid or less? Because at this point, unless I get serious merit money, I have no idea how I'm paying for college...:(</p>

<p>Is there no safety on your list that you can afford with what your parents can pay, what you can borrow with a Stafford loan, and what you can make with a part time job? If this institution is missing, stop fretting about the CSS Profile, and start tracking down a safety or two for yourself.</p>

<p>That's an interesting question. The CSS Profile does not provide an EFC. If you use an online calculator that estimates parent/ family contribution, it will generally be higher for "institutional method" (using Profile) than for FAFSA schools HOWEVER the schools that use Profile tend to be the schools that have more money and meet need-- so a student may actually get more money from a Profile school. </p>

<p>All that said, $30K is a pretty huge difference and I can't imagine a Profile school coming up with a number that's $30K less than FAFSA. Is there a very unusual expense (like medical expenses)? In general, it does sound like you need to look at merit money.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Is there no safety on your list that you can afford with what your parents can pay

[/quote]

There is, I just hate it. And I searched for safeties that I liked for 2 years - 4 out of my 8 schools are safeties (and there are 3 that I would actually be ok going to) so I'm just really hoping for merit money at this point...</p>

<p>@2collegesherewego: yeah, I'm not hoping for $30k less, I know that's unreasonable. But if there was a difference of $10K there would be a chance of us being able to make it work.</p>

<p>How much can your parents afford? And what is your gpa and test scores?</p>

<p>they haven't been all that clear...at one point they said $17k (our efc is $47k) and got mad at me for being upset about that because no college will expect us to pay that little. but they've said they might be able to pay more, though how much more is really unclear...</p>

<p>anyway my gpa is 4.36 (at least top 10%, school doesn't rank) and my sat is 2350 (760M, 790CR, 800W)</p>

<p>here's my college list, do you think i'll be able to end up somewhere other than umass?
Georgetown (in but won't get enough money)
Swarthmore (waiting)
Claremont McKenna (waiting)
George Washington (waiting)
Bard (in, no idea about money)
American (waiting)
UMD (in, honors college, waiting on money)
UMass (in, honors college, got almost no merit aid b/c in state but we can still afford it, but there's nothing appealing about the school at all)</p>

<p>Can you afford the 3 safeties that you would be "okay" going to without aid? (That is the definition of "safety: you are reasonably assured of getting in and you can afford it.)</p>

<p>There's no way to answer this question since CSS doesn't give an EFC.</p>

<p>Each school creates its own EFC....some have super generous formulas (HYPS)...and some have rather standard formulas.</p>

<p>Unless your parents own a business or have some other situation (like having lots of home equity) then your FAFSA EFC and CSS "family contribution" may be quite similar....but they might vary as well.</p>

<p>I highly doubt that the CSS schools on your list will give you a much smaller "family contribution."</p>

<p>Will your parents pay for UM-CP without a lot of merit? </p>

<p>If you hate your safety, THEN IT'S NOT A SAFETY.</p>

<p>==============</p>

<p>(and there are 3 that I would actually be ok going to) so I'm just really hoping for merit money at this point...</p>

<hr>

<p>If you can only afford those IF you get merit, then those aren't safeties. A safety is a school that you know FOR SURE that you can afford because of ASSURED merit, aid or family funds....and maybe a small fed student loan.</p>

<p>===============</p>

<p>they haven't been all that clear...at one point they said $17k (our efc is $47k) and got mad at me for being upset about that because no college will expect us to pay that little. but they've said they might be able to pay more, though how much more is really unclear...</p>

<p>anyway my gpa is 4.36 (at least top 10%, school doesn't rank) and my sat is 2350 (760M, 790CR, 800W)</p>

<hr>

<p>Well, most parents, even those with that EFC, can't necessarily afford to pay that amount...often for very good reasons. If your parents don't have a well-funded college fund for you, then they'd be hard-pressed to pay that much out of current income.</p>

<p>You've got great stats....are you a NMF?</p>

<p>Ok then I don't have safeties, but I was really committed to searching for them and they were the best I could find. Thank you for the information and for trying to be helpful, but I really don't need a lecture on how my safeties don't count because I tried my best and just didn't find anything.</p>

<p>I'm sure that we all know that you were trying, and many people overlook that aspect that a safety must be affordable and liked in order to be a safety. </p>

<p>I do think that American might end up working out for you merit-wise since your stats are so high. If you're a NMF, doesn't AU big scholarships for that? Maybe tuition? Not sure. Or are they "competitive scholarships"?</p>

<p>Okay, then to answer your question, it has been my experience that schools which require the CSS/Profile in addition to the FAFSA tend to consider assets not considered by the FAFSA, such as home equity, and expect more than the FAFSA EFC in terms of a family contribution.</p>

<p>CSS will probably say your parents can pay even more. Your best hope is probably to get merit scholarships at some of the schools. With your stats, that is a definite possibility, though I don't know anything about how much merit aid those particular schools give.</p>

<p>If the merit money does not work out for you at UMD or American, and you really dislike UMass, you may want to consider a gap year. This would give you time to identify other schools that would give you guaranteed merit money for your stats. </p>

<p>Most schools offer the best merit packages to incoming freshmen, so taking a gap year could be a better financial option in the long run than going to UMass and trying to transfer after your freshman year. </p>

<p>Is MA your home state? What is your intended major? </p>

<p>Hopefully merit money will work out for you. But you may feel more in control of the situation if you start thinking about your "plan b" options in case it does not.</p>

<p>I know you don't love it, but UMass Amherst is not a bad school, and as part of the 5 college consortium you can take classes and participate at other colleges in the consortium. Are you thinking of a career that may require you to go to graduate school, medical school, or law school? If so, minimizing your UG debt may be of great importance.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Okay, then to answer your question, it has been my experience that schools which require the CSS/Profile in addition to the FAFSA tend to consider assets not considered by the FAFSA, such as home equity, and expect more than the FAFSA EFC in terms of a family contribution.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>From my personal experience and what I've seen here on CC, I agree with this statement. There are always exceptions, so YMMV.</p>

<p>You have great scores and a great gpa. I do think American might end up giving you money but you need more than half tuition paid which is big merit. There are a few other schools I would have suggested adding in for merit (and, as crazy as this sounds, it may have been worth running the calculators at some tippy-top schools with the most generous need-based aid, especially if you have siblings in college) but it is probably too late in the cycle. </p>

<p>If your parents aren't firm on what they can pay, it may because they really need to see the packages and maybe there's a bit of latitude in that number. </p>

<p>One other question.. how many APs will you have? If you have a lot of credits, you maybe able to knock off a year (do college in 3 years instead of 4) and that would stretch your college fund a bit more.</p>

<p>That's a good idea; one thing I'm hoping for is acceptance to American's Global Scholars program which lets you get a 3 year BA or a 4 year BA/MA which would help a lot with costs. I should also find out by Monday if I'm a finalist for a UMD scholarship and that'll help a lot since it'll mean I'm guaranteed $12k a year, which should be enough to make it affordable (that'll make it $26k which is a bit of a stretch but barely more than UMass). And if none of it works out I'll just go to UMass and maybe try to save enough to transfer, which isn't an option I'm excited about but I can deal with it.</p>

<p>And if none of it works out I'll just go to UMass and maybe try to save enough to transfer</p>

<p>Keep in mind that you won't get those merit offers as a transfer. Aid and merit is usually much less generous for transfer students</p>

<p>My D wasn't crazy about Umass Amherst (as an in-state safety) so she took a serious look at other Umass campuses and State Unis. She found one that has a strong program for her major, and they gave her free tuition & fees and a paid internship summer after frosh year (and she just got accepted to the honors program w/honors housing). If finances don't work out for the privates ...this is a great option for her (actually, she might choose it anyway just because she is excited by the attention and possibilities).</p>

<p>What's your major? What type of campus do you seek? What type of students do you want to be surrounded by? There is more to MA public higher ed than Umass Amherst (and more to discover on that campus too, but you have go after opportunities --I'm a graduate BTW).</p>

<p>I have not done the real FAFSA yet, however, when I tried EFC calculator on collegeboard, I always got a less number from Institutional Methodology (Profile) than Federal methodology(FAFSA). I do not know how reliable the collegeboard EFC calculator is.</p>

<p>I think others have more or less said what I wanted to say, so I will summarize it</p>

<p>[ol]
[<em>]CSS profile asks for a more complete listing of income and assets then the FAFSA. Hence, some sheltered assets (small business, house you live in) will be considered and that could raise your EFC.
[</em>]However, given that each school has its own formula, you can appeal to the school in case of special circumstances e.g. high medical expenses.
[li]However, as each school has its own formula, each school can decide how to give aid. Even with a family income of $150,000 you could expect aid at Harvard, at some other schools as the family income starts going above $60,000 aid will decrease and disappear by $100,000 (a package that is predominantly loans is no aid in my opinion.) [/li][/ol]</p>

<p>So the short answer is "Yes, EFC in CSS/Profile Schools is generally higher". The longer answer is "it depends on the assets and income, how the assets are held, the particular school and its endowment, and on special circumstances, and the aid in these schools may actually be better"</p>