EFC of 36k - reasonable or not?

<p>My parents' gross income this year was 130k, but my dad lost his job in the summer and we are not sure when he will find a job. I submitted the FAFSA to a few schools and it gave me an EFC of 36k and a $5.5k Stafford loan. Is this reasonable? It just sounds a little high; my family will not be able to pay $36k each year.</p>

<p>Is this reasonable?* It just sounds a little high*; my family will not be able to pay $36k each year.</p>

<p>It's a "little high"? </p>

<p>how much can your family pay? </p>

<p>If your dad has been unemployed since last summer, yet your family still earned $130k, then either your dad had a VERY high salary or your mom has a good-paying job as well.</p>

<p>How much will your family likely earn THIS year? </p>

<p>If you're applying to schools that give lots of aid, then you might be able to get some adjustment since your dad has been out of work for awhile...but if your mom still earns a good amount, then maybe not.</p>

<p>My mom does not work, but my dad received a severance package with money from unused paid vacation hours last year so there was little change between the 2011/2012 incomes. This year though, we might have no income if he does not find a job, and if he does, it will likely be much less than what he made this year. We don't have any property other than the family house and some investments and retirement stuff, which I'm not that familiar with.</p>

<p>With my dad's job status right now and the likelihood of a smaller income from now on, we definitely can't pay $36k each year, and I've heard that colleges, even schools with great aid, usually won't give aid greater than the net cost minus your EFC. Since I don't know what our EFC will be for the next three years, I would like to hear your thoughts on how flexible most colleges are with financial aid every year...and any other opinions you have.</p>

<p>By "less than what he made this year," I'm not sure exactly how much but I think around 70-100k if he is able to find a job.</p>

<p>You may need to take a gap year if schools are going to use last year's income to determine aid and your dad doesn't soon find a good paying job.</p>

<p>If you do take a gap year, don't take any CC courses or anything.</p>

<p>^ Curious...why shouldn't he/she take CC courses?</p>

<p>Sent from my SGH-T959V using CC App</p>

<p>Because if he does, he loses his ability to apply as an incoming frosh. Incoming frosh get the best FA and the best merit scholarships.</p>

<p>Transfer students often get little or nothing.</p>

<p>FAFSA doesn't care about this year. It is always based on the previous year. If the income for 2011 was 130k, then a 36k EFC sounds reasonable. FAFSA is not logical or fair. As such, a letter to colleges explaining the situation can help. Note you must be able to prove your father will not get another job tomorrow paying the same.</p>

<p>At this point, your family finances have not really changed (due to the severance package). </p>

<p>Do you have schools on your list that are affordable to your family OR where your stats will give you guaranteed merit aid?</p>

<p>
[quote]
even schools with great aid, usually won't give aid greater than the net cost minus your EFC

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Schools expect that the family contribution will be covered by the family. In addition schools do not award aid that would exceed the cost of attendance (the EFC is included in the amount that is "funded").</p>

<p>It sounds like you are applying to colleges that require the FAFSA only (and not the Profile...is that correct?). If so, you might have found that the schools would not have met your full need anyway.</p>

<p>The thing you DO need to figure out is how much your family actually can pay for you to attend college this coming year. If there is really a financial pinch and your family would benefit from you applying as a freshman to gain merit aid, you might want to consider a gap year and reapply next year as a freshman. This will also give you time to better know exactly how the family finances will shake down....and adjust your college application list accordingly.</p>

<p>I would think you'd want to contact each FA office and find out what their procedures are for requesting professional judgement. They may want to wait until summer until actually reviewing, and possibly adjusting, your EFC but should be able to give you some guidance now. You can also find some information on professional judgement on finaid.org as well as by searching for threads on this board. Good luck!</p>

<p>I'm pretty sure there is an appeals process for financial aid. I would apply for it and either send a letter, email, or find a spot on the app to note your situation. After you get your award/decision there is often a procedure to have them (each school) review it with new information you submit. People often have life changing events, such as death, illness, whatever so they will look at it for you. Not all are going to be sympathetic. The amount in savings will also play into it. Check each school's website or call the FA office.</p>

<p>There is an appeals process at every school. However, I have to warn that in this case, the appeal may net a lower EFC but not any additional aid. It certainly does not hurt to try, and some schools are pretty generous in how they treat unemployment. But do be sure to have a school in mind that you can afford no matter what the outcome of your appeal.</p>

<p>I just wanted to add that you do have to resubmit FAFSA each year and if your income changes year to year your efc will change as well. But- at most FAFSA only schools whether your EFC is 36K or 10K is not going to make a difference in how much FA you receive.</p>

<p>Can someone explain this? What is inferred here by a 'FAFSA only' school? That those schools give less money? And why would a large decrease in EFC from 36k to 10k, not increase your award? Just trying to understand/learn as much as I can. Thanks.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the information, everyone. @thumper1, no, actually - sorry I didn't specify earlier - but my schools all require at least the FAFSA and the CSS (some ask for tax forms on top of that).</p>

<p>I do have my state school as a back-up financially, but a few of the Ivies I'm applying to have calculated EFCs of 10-20k if I am accepted, which would be much more within our budget. I'm just not sure if my 36k FAFSA EFC will affect financial aid at these schools though - their net calculators, for what they are worth, gave significantly smaller EFCs.</p>

<p>A "FAFSA only" school is one that uses only the FAFSA as a financial aid application form. It is a school that does not use the CSS Profile, or a school financial aid for to gather your financial aid information.</p>

<p>
[quote]
And why would a large decrease in EFC from 36k to 10k, not increase your award?

[/quote]

If a school meets full need (usually indicating they have a large endowment) then the decrease would result in a greater award. However few schools meet full need. Most state schools have very limited funds so the student is "gapped" between the FA the school can come up with and the EFC.</p>

<p>I will give you an example from the school where I worked ... the Cost of Attendance (COA) was about $17,000 per year. If the EFC was 36,000 the student would receive $5500 in unsubsidized student loans. If the EFC was 10,000 the student would still receive only $5500 in student loans (although $3500 of this would be subsidized). Greater need does not always equal more aid, because aid is very often limited. It is distributed among those with the most need. At my school, an EFC of less than $8000 would qualify for consideration for a grant from the school (although state/federal grants and school scholarships would impact the eligibility) ... no student with an EFC>8000 would get a dime of need based grants from the school.</p>

<p>"No student with an and school scholarships would impact the eligibility) ... no student with an EFC>8000 would get a dime of need based grants from the school "</p>

<p>I think that's true for a lot of state schools and also some privates. Once you're beyond fed and state grants, many don't have much to offer.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the info. Everyone is so helpful and willing to share their knowledge/experience!</p>