Low family income but high number of assets

Can anyone tell me what was the aid they recieved if they were in my situation? My family’s efc is $521 but our assets are large compared to our income.

Well…not really enough information to be helpful.

It’s possible your family qualifies for the simplified needs test but we would need their AGI to know that. If they qualify, your assets would not be included on the FAFSA.

BUT most colleges using only the FAFSA don’t meet full need for all accepted students…so your actual aid amount might not match up with what someone else got.

PLUS…some colleges use their own forms or the CSS Profile. There is no simplified needs test for those schools and your assets WILL be counted.

Do your parents own a business, or are they self employed? Do they own real estate other than your primary residence? Are they divorced? If no to all three questions…run the net price calculators using accurate financials to get an estimate of your net costs for colleges of interest.

If these assets are in real estate or business holdings…that’s a whole other story.

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Hello! Thank you for helping me out! I’m from a community college and was accepted to the UC’s and USC (awaiting financial aid from USC and filled out CSS).

My parents DID own a business but not anymore. Yes, they own real estate aside from our home which are both paid off but they are retired and are quite old now so the rent is primarily funding their retirement…

I want to attend USC, but if the aid is bad then I ultimately have to go to a UC school (I have to pay $5k a year so not bad).

The equity in those rental properties will be considered by USC most likely. In addition, the rents are considered income. This is for the Profile which USC requires.

Wait and see what the aid looks like. You are fortunate to have a UC at $5000 a year as a choice…a wonderful choice!


I would be surprised if USC were to come in as affordable as the UC’s in this scenario, but all you can do is wait and see.

I personally don’t think it would be worth paying a big differential for USC, unless you’re accepted to a particular program that is extra-special there. A lot of the advantages of a private college/university over a UC are reaped in the first two years, when the differences in class size and individual attention are more pronounced - and you’ll be going straight into upper-division classes. A UC degree for 10K total is a terrific option to have; the burden is on USC to make you a competitive offer.

Which UC(s), and which major?


That’s unfortunate, our family had to sell off our business due to bad sales and were forced to go into early retirement. I hope USC gives me at least some aid.

I’m fine with paying extra for USC (to a reasonable extent ofc), I’m just not fine paying full price as it isn’t worth it.

I’ll be studying business and interested in finance/consulting. I was accepted into every UC school aside from Berkeley and I’m waitlisted at UCLA (will attend if taken off).

Note: My family is WILLING to pay for my whole education, but I don’t feel comfortable with them paying too much if that makes sense. I’m waiting for USC to give me my financial aid but I’m just preparing for the worst at this point.


Op states


Yes, they own real estate aside from our home which are both paid off but they are retired and are quite old now so the rent is primarily funding their retirement…[/quote]

The houses are assets that must be filed on the FAFSA and all other financial aid documents

The rent collected from the houses must be filed as income on the FAFSA and all other financial aid documents.

USC is not going to give you need-based aid so that your family can have 2 paid houses that are generating rental income (which could be used to pay your tuition ).

This may even change the amount of money that the family will have to pay at UC. Make sure that you have filed your financial aid forms correctly and that you have an affordable option.

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Sybbie719, the homes have been listed in the FAFSA and we have already been selected by FAFSA verification and submitted all required paperwork.

Note: We only own two houses. One primary residence and one rental house (not paid off).

If your parents took an early retirement, they can’t be THAT old. Is there any chance they could seek other jobs?

Keep a very close eye on your student portals if you have been selected for verification. And check your spam folder as well. You don’t want to miss anything related to this verification process. You won’t receive financial aid until that is resolved. You won’t get a financial aid package until it’s resolved. So…stay on top of this!

When you say they have “high assets”, what exactly does this mean? Millions of dollars in assets…or thousands of dollars in assets?


Also, thank you for giving me advice!

You have a lot of good UC choices, it seems. If the net cost really does come in at $5000 a year, you have excellent options at a reasonable cost…especially given your family current income situation.

You are fortunate to have these UC options.

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I’m sure, and I’m fortunate I was accepted to any of the UC’s but it’s hard to turn down USC

@cua8ma wait until you get the financial aid packages.

And understand…there are tons of students in this country who would love to say they attended a UC.

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I will! I’ll update you soon on my USC financial aid package :slight_smile:

I totally understand, it’s just my parents’ mentality. They can pay for it, but it means they’ll have to work a couple more years and I just want them to rest.


Yeeesh. In California, the equity in your primary residence and one rental house could be well over a couple of million!

USC also requires the CSS. They may want to know the equity you have in every car the family owns, will definitely want to know the equity in every home the family owns. If the business is sold, they’re going to want to know how much it was sold for - this would be reflected on the income tax filings. And if it was sold for a profit, and you’re not showing where that money went, they’re going to want to know what happened to that profit.

Long story short, they might not give you a cent, because of the assets. Maybe they will, but maybe they won’t. Definitely apply, be totally truthful, and see what you get. But also make a backup plan, for a school that is financially feasible for you.

Unfortunately that is the case. The housing situation is craaazy

Make sure the Special Circumstances section of the CSS Profile is filled out if that is relevant. For instance, hypothetically, if a parent left a job for health reasons and was relying on rent from the other property as the only income. That kind of thing.

FAFSA does not have a special circumstances section but you can write to the financial aid offices if appropriate.

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I did that (saying we lost our family business)! But I only wrote one sentence and it wasn’t in depth enough. Whenever I get my financial aid I might have to appeal.