This discussion was created from comments split from: 2018-2019 FAFSA… Here we go.

My parents’ combined income was ~$75k, I don’t work, and they have <$25,000 in assets and whatnot, but my EFC is 010607… what gives?

Noahdutch, that sounds about right for an EFC at that income level.

@twoinanddone So will colleges take into account the fact that one parent has been unemployed more than half the year every year for the last fifteen or so? or that neither parent has any retirement savings or related funds?

Or am I correct in believing those are special circumstances which institutions will look at when offering aid?

If the parent loses a job for half of every year, that parent can check the ‘displaced worker’ box and MAY qualify for simplified assets, but otherwise no, the FAFSA doesn’t ask how or when you made the money, just what the income is during the year. The form also doesn’t care that there are no retirement funds, just allows you to exclude qualified requirement funds from the asset section (may still be in the income section if put into retirement accounts during the tax year).

That’s for FAFSA. Private schools can consider whatever they want. Public schools can grant money however they want too, but most use FAFSA. You can ask for a reconsideration of the EFC or special circumstances, but only after you file the FAFSA. Parents having no retirement funds is probably not a special circumstance, but you need to file for extra financial aid if you think you qualify for more.

No. The colleges will consider the total income from the full prior prio year when you complete your FAFSA.

In terms if using displaced worker…@Noahdutch says her parent income is $75,000 a year. Displaced worker really only benefits you as a criteria for simplified needs test (income has to be less than $50,000), or auto $0 EFC (income has to be less than $29,999). @twoinanddone