Freshman triplets, unmet need too high

<p>Hi everyone, new to site and need your advice. I have triplets entering this year, all going to state schools in PA. Two are staying and one commuting to local school. Presently unemployed, construction worker, wife employed PT. EFC is 5060 per child. Local school is no problem, but the broading school that the 2 want to go to is over 23 k each. Fin aid will cover just about half, we will take plus loans to cover EFC. Submittes letter for professional judgement, awaiting reply. Since we are unlikely to be cosigners for private loans, are there any other options I'm missing. Look forward to your replys.</p>

<p>Sounds like you appealed the FA offer already with the updated information of being unemployed. If that doesn't yield a better FA offer (it might improve by a few thousand dollars but unlikely much more than that) - then it is time to reassess.</p>

<p>There just isn't a magic pot of money out there. The usual other options remain:</p>

<p>1) Gap year for one or more of your children (have them work and save money)
2) All three go to a local community college and live at home
3) Gap year and reapply to schools with better FA or schools that they can get better scholarships</p>

<p>Good luck. Remember there are <em>4</em> years of college ahead - 4 years X 3 kids. Pace yourself in terms of what you pay out to your kids in the form of financial assistance for college. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT take out any loans in order to pay for your kids' college (no PLUS loans, don't put it on a credit card, do not mortgage your house). </p>

<p>Reset financial expectations of yourself AND get your 3 kids to reset their financial expectations of you. If you need to change your promises/agreements with the children, do it now. Simply say you didn't expect to be unemployed, you didn't realize how high your EFC would be, or that you saw the light - doesn't matter - shift expectations to the reality of <em>today</em> now that sticker shock has set in. Say "no" to your adult children and realize that they can create a plan B and make it work.</p>

<p>Also, don't assume you will be employed right away as you make alternative plans -- it may take months or years to get back to work and even when you are back at work it may not be for the same pay level and of course, you will need to refill your coffers and pay off debts incurred while unemployed.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Gap year could substantially raise the EFC, so calculate carefully before considering that a solution.</p>

<p>Give your financial circumstances -- which seem dire (a position that many are in due to the economy), I suggest having all of your kids live at home and commute to their local community college, which is probably going to be the most affordable place.</p>

<p>Particularly since the economy has been so bad, many people are doing this including people whom some might consider upper middle class. They have their kids start at their local community college and then transfer to an in-state public after getting their associates degree.</p>

<p>Understandably, your kids who were planning on going away to college probably will be disappointed, but you didn't create this economy nor probably expected to be out of work. Part of their becoming adults is learning to cope with the challenges that life inevitably will put in their paths.</p>

<p>I believe it would be a mistake for you and your wife to take on heavy loans now or dip into your retirement when you'll be facing the challenge of the recession for a long time. This includes the fact that because of your age, you and your wife's having more difficulty getting jobs than applicants would have who are right out of school.</p>

<p>Companies are hiring young workers because they're cheap. This does not bode well for you and your wife and your ability to pay back loans. </p>

<p>If your kids can get one-year Americorps volunteer jobs, they'd get a stipend to live on (It's particularly possible to live on the stipend if they're able to find an Americorps position in your town), health insurance, and they'd get about $4,700 that they could use for their college costs after their Americorps year is over.</p>

<p>My son was an Americorps volunteer for a year after high school. He lived at home and volunteered in our community, becoming at age 18 the head of a youth program that was over a 5-county area. The experience and training that Americorps volunteers get is excellent.</p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://www.americorps.gov/%5DAmeriCorps%5B/url"&gt;http://www.americorps.gov/]AmeriCorps[/url&lt;/a&gt;]&lt;/p>

<p>It sounds like you actually need $23K, which includes your EFC, for both of them to be residential students this year and you're willing to borrow your current EFC, or about $10K of that. Do you expect to be able to pay your EFC out of pocket next year? If you do borrow the $10K, which would probably require a monthly payment of $150 or so, does that work in your current budget? That leaves you with a gap of $6500 each for those two, which isn't insurmountable but will require some additional info.</p>

<p>When you say financial aid will cover half of the $23K, does that include their Stafford loans? They can each borrow $5500 in Stafford loans. Does it include a Pell grant, Academic Competitiveness Grants, and work study? It seems that each of your kids would be eligible for a Pell grant of around $550 based on your current EFC...but if your special circumstance adjustment is granted and your EFC dropped to $2500/kid it would increase Pell to $3100 each. Did you appeal at the local school as well? If not, that might be a good idea while you have all of your documentation together - I'm sure that kid could also use additional FA, even if he's living at home and may be able to contribute to expenses you normally cover for him (ie cell phone bill) if there's extra money available. Btw, if your kids qualify for the $750 ACG (Pell-eligible and meet your state's standard of rigorous coursework), it may not be posted to their FA award yet - colleges have to verify their final HS transcripts and many won't put the award on until that's done.</p>

<p>Is the $23K based on the school's cost of attendance, including non-billable expenses, or your own calculations? Many schools have a somewhat inflated COA and it's entirely possible that it won't cost your kids the full amount. For example, health insurance (if you're already paying for family coverage through your union; transportation may be nil to them if you're driving; even books, if they buy used (online is often cheaper) and sell them privately to fund the greater part of the next semester, and have them check ratemyprofessor.com as some profs actually don't use the books they specify but are required to list a text. Other places to look for cost savings are in room selection (triples can be $400 or more less than double); meal plans vary in price so, unless required for freshmen, don't buy the 19 meals/wk one if your kids don't eat breakfast or won't have time to go to the dining hall; and dorm room furnishing (have them contact their roommates so only one is bringing fridge,microwave,etc.). With a little thought and planning, I've found that it's fairly easy to shave a few thousand from the COA. YMMV</p>

<p>The other posters have given good options as well, and it's always good to have a plan B...good luck!</p>

<p>Will you have to borrow each year? You could end up with a lot of debt.</p>

<p>Do you have any other younger children?</p>

<p>A gap year might be good because their new lower EFCs will be based on a reduced income (unless you're likely going to find employment soon).</p>

<p>However, if your girls work during that time, their incomes could hurt EFC.</p>