Financial Aid Appeal / On-line Calculators

Hi All. My daughter has been admitted to a school that is currently her top choice among 4 possibilities. I don’t mention my daughter’s top choice out or paranoia :grimacing: but it is a Welsh-sounding school outside Philly. She also got into Lafayette. My son, her twin, is considering offers from 3 schools: Wesleyan, Hamilton and Vassar. Wesleyan came in with an extremely generous FA award and Hamilton has subsequently matched that award.

Here’s the thing: D’s top choice is giving an FA package that will cost us twice what Lafayette (and her other 2 schools) will and nearly 4 times as much as Hamilton and Wesleyan. D’s top choice school says they don’t entertain competing offers and politely said they will not change the offer.

So I’m a bit taken aback and thinking there’s really not much to be done. However, I note that D’s top choice school’s own financial aid calculator comes up with a figure that’s $10K lower than their actual aid offer. I know the standard line would be that the calculator is just an estimate but that’s a pretty big error. I’m sure they got the same FAFSA and CSS Profile data as all the other schools. It just seems odd that their internal calculations would be so different from their peers.

Is the $10,000 discrepancy in EFC or in the aid package?

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There is a $10,000 gap between the EFC and what we are asked to pay on the FA offers from the schools that offered FA, I believe they expect us to take out loans for the gap.

Could it be related to home equity? Do they treat it differently than the other schools?

We have seen extremely wide gaps from comparable schools in what we’re expected to pay. Lafayette was one of the least generous. None of the schools matched their NPC amounts, all were higher. However, upon appeal, some of the schools with the biggest overage as compared to NPC ended up being the most generous.

If you haven’t yet, you might consider going through the FA appeal process - if only to get them to take another look.

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I don’t think so, we didn’t need to fill out a css, I thought only those that required it looked at home equity.

Sorry, I was thinking I was replying to the OP.

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The aid offer doesn’t actually specify an EFC. The discrepancy is bottom line: direct costs - grants.

I think you’ve jumped in on this thread and I’m afraid it’s adding confusion.

Thanks for responding. I’ve already appealed. They took less than a day and didn’t budge one iota.

That’s a good question research or ask. Our house is paid for but is worth maybe $275K, not millions.

According to a site I use that tracks how much home equity a college considers, your Welsh school uses 100% of home equity as an asset – but says you can appeal that component. So that would be approximately 6% of your 275k or $16.5k. But Lafayette also says they use 100% of home equity… Hamilton doesn’t use it. Vassar and Wesleyan assess home equity at 2 and 1.2x income, respectively).
(This is from a list that someone else compiled, so may or may not be accurate).

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The Welsh sounding school outside Philly may feel they get a surfeit of female applicants and don’t need to negotiate FA packages. It’s notable that her male twin is being treated differently by peer LACs.


Loans are considered financial aid, and some schools use more loans than others when “meeting need.” When my D got her aid packages from schools that met need, one school in particular had a great big institutional loan … that was just how they did things, and D did not choose that school (even though it was her first choice).

Look at COA less all student aid offered. This includes any loans, and you also need to consider the student earnings expectations. My guess is the school packages aid differently than the others. They are clearly sticking to their policies, so it may be time to move on.

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Thanks for all that leg work! I’m not sure what to make to the $16.5k figure. I’m pretty sure that if I go to the on-line calculator and add $16.5 to my asset base it will have a negligible affect on the award estimate.

BTW, thanks everybody for respecting my paranoia with regard to the school who must not be named. :sweat_smile:

Yes, we don’t quite know what to make our S’s offers relative to D’s. And I really didn’t expect Hamilton to match Wesleyan’s offer but they came in just under it. So now S has a tough choice to make.

I don’t think you add the 16.5k to your asset base. You add the value of your home equity to your asset base, and they calculate their percentage from that.

But doesn’t the NPC have a place for you to enter home equity directly?

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I understand about loans and work study. I’m focusing on grants here.

You’re right on both counts. So again I’m wondering if home equity is the driver here.

I recall fiddling with NPCs a few months ago – and I forget which schools, excactly – but I was surprised that adding $500k to the assets section didn’t effect the aid that much. So I wonder if not all schools just take a straight 6% of assets but rather, maybe 6% above some threshold.

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I just sent you a DM.

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