ED Financial Aid Issues

<p>Ok, I know a similar question was posted on here somewhat recently, but my question adds a bit more.</p>

<p>My issue is that I really fell in love with a school that is a bit expensive (say, 50,000 a year total) and would really love to go there, but that price is a little out of the range I can afford. Obviously, financial aid should provide some assistance, but given my situation, that is not a guarantee (not that it ever is) considering things such as the fact that my parents are divorced and what not. Part 2 of the problem arises from applying ED, which I would like to do (as it would increase my chance of admission, and I'd like all the help I can get with that, since this is my sure number 1). What forms do we submit early in order to receive a financial aid offer along with the admissions reply (assuming I get in of course), and what numbers are they based on? Plus, if after submitting these forms early our financial status changes (read: IS WORSE) by the time the real deadline is, will said college adjust the numbers on their offer, or what?</p>

<p>PS- this college guarantees to meet 100% of need, by the way</p>

<p>First remember that ED is binding. You are making a commitment to that school. Certainly there have been threads about people who have "bailed" out of ED based on the inability to pay, but it can certainly impact your ability to get into another school.</p>

<p>Second, I am going to assume that the school you are interested requires the CSS Profile in addition to the FASFA. You need to remember that meeting "100%" of need depends on how that school calculates your need. Profile schools use institutional methodology that includes income from both the custodial and non-custodial parent. It also may include home equity which is not included in the federal methodology (although some schools cap home equity at 2-3X income, most do not)</p>

<p>My suggestion is that you go to the EFC calculator, select institutional methodology, include the income from both parents and the equity in their homes. This will give you a fair idea of what the college will expect you to pay out of pocket. Then take it a step further and realize that your package may include a loan of maybe $3500. and workstudy ($$??? - which will represent an initial out of pcoket expense when paying your bill) If you and your parents are comfortable with the final number (EFC based on institutional methodology plus loans and workstudy) then I say go for it. If you are not comfortable with this number, then don't, as there will most likely be no pleasant surprises.</p>

<p>As far as getting an early estimate of financial aid from the school you will need to contact the financial aid office at that school and find out what their procedure is. </p>

<p>Remember, when filling out the Profile and FASFA you will be using 2008 income and assetts (FASFA avail to fill our Jan , Profile I think in Nov.) You may initially use estimated numbers and then make corrections. So basically, any changes in financial status for 2008 will be relflected. If the situation changes in 2009 (loss of employment of a parent) you can contact the financial aid office and they have the option of using professional judgement to change your FASFA. But remember, if their includes a large severance package this will be considered.</p>

<p>eadgbe33, I can tell you how it worked in my son's case. He applied ED to a private LAC. To make a financial aid determination we had to submit the CSS Profile prior to the ED deadline (that was Nov. 15th, if I recall). It asked for information on our previous years income, as well as estimates for the current year. Also the usual questions about assets, siblings, a few expenses such as taxes and medical, and so forth.</p>

<p>When my son got his acceptance, his tentative financial aid offer followed in just a couple of days. After the first of the year we were able to file the FAFSA and any amendments to the Profile, although we didn't have any really because our financial situation has virtually no "moving parts", so to speak, so it was pretty easy to give dead-on estimates when we filed the first time.</p>

<p>When we got our finalized offer later in the spring, it was actually a little bit improved from the tentative offer. In any case, the tentative offer was do-able so we were fine either way.</p>

<p>As far as ED goes, it's very important to understand how the financial aid policies at the school will apply to your particular situation. You can use generic FA estimate calculators, but they won't necessarily be applying the same criterion a particular school will choose to use.</p>

<p>The OP mentions that the parents are divorced. As mentioned, if the school uses the Profile (or a finaid application that is school specific, some have those), that divorce will not matter much at all when it comes to the financial aid awards. The information from BOTH parents is usually required on the Profile. </p>

<p>Agreed with the above poster...look on the college website for information, or call. Each school that awards institutional money calculates the awards in a different way. Bottom line is that any federal money you might receive would be a drop in the bucket on a $50,000 bill. You are likely wishing for institutional aid.</p>

<p>Also, what exactly are you hoping for? If you are wishing for a free ride, that is far more unlikely than a Stafford loan which will be available to you if you file a FAFSA. </p>

<p>Now regarding the application process for ED (if you decide to go that route)...read the website. There are likely priority deadlines for the filing of the Profile or school finaid form. You can't file the FAFSA until Jan 1.</p>

<p>Keep in mind that the SCHOOL calculates your financial need, not you. If finances are a serious consideration, and you need to look at the total dollars and compare, you won't be able to do so applying ED. When you make that ED application you KNOW the costs, and you should have done your homework re: how finaid is met at your ED school. If you do this, you are signing a contract that says if you get accepted you WILL attend, and will withdraw all other applications.</p>

<p>To be honest, unless you are sure you are going to get the aid YOU think you need, apply RD. The "tip" for applying ED (admissions) isn't that much. If you have what it takes to get accepted ED, you could just as likely get accepted RD.</p>

<p>thumper1, I agree with you (as usual) on nearly your entire post, but I do think ED can be very helpful in getting accepted. It's true that if you can get accepted ED you probably have what they'd want to see in a RD application, too, but in RD at selective schools (not sure where the OP is thinking of applying to) so many qualified kids don't get in just because there isn't enough room. In ED the expression of your committment to attend, plus just that the admissions officers have more time to really look carefully at all the applicants, does give a significant boost at many schools. You only have to look at the acceptance percentages for ED vs. RD to see that. I know nearly all of my son's friends that got into their 1st choice selective schools applied ED. Not that that's a scientific sampling or anything..... ;)</p>

<p>But, granted, it is a dicey matter as far as financial aid goes for families with complex situations, divorced parents, a private business, investments, etc.</p>