Medical Debt

<p>I'm in a predicament with financial aid and EFC. Next fall, my brother and I will attend UCs (he'll be a freshman, I'll be a junior transfer.) Despite what federal formulas say, our parents' 50 grand doesn't leave them with money to spare, and in filling out FAFSA for next year, there is no way to show that there will be TWO of us attending universities next year... I know this is everyone else's situation too, but here's the twist: Our father was diagnosed with cancer during this fiscal year, costing us approximately 30 THOUSAND in out of pocket expenses (yes, after insurance.) But this is not reflected by last years tax documents, which determine financial need. As we approach the new year, he is not able to work, has no paid leave left, but remains nominally "employed." In Jan of Feb, right after the new deductable begins for the insurance policy, he is scheduled to have another surgery (will cost around the same amount= similar surgery and treatment costs + NEW costs because the deductable started over... all of this on top of six-figure debt from a business they owned that went under five years ago.) After he recovers, he will probably be able to avoid disability retirement and return to work. This means that when I list projected 2004 and 2005 income, I'll still have to list an earned income similar to his income from last year.</p>

<p>It's really quite confusing, but my parents' medical debt alone more than halves their earned income. There was no way for me to record this on the FAFSA or FinAid profiles, or on fee waivers I've applied and been denied for. Will any of this factor in to financial aid decisions for me or my brother as we begin at new schools? Do you think there is ANY way for us to recieve fee waivers for apps for any schools? Where do we begin to find out about this process? I've searched and read all the literature available, but found no answers.</p>

<p>Thank you.</p>

<p>As I understand it, the federal forms won't change but each individual financial aid office CAN take these things into account. You need to contact those offices ASAP. People do it all the time - if you read "The Gatekeepers," the top student, Julia, had her mom go around to financial aid offices and refuse to leave until she could get heard on the issue of additional expenses the family had. The schools (inlcuding Ivies) changed their offers. Schools always have that option.</p>

<p>I am sorry to hear about your father's situation. Don't despair, because you file a new FAFSA every year. Your Fafsa for the 2005-06 school year will reflect your financial year 2004. If you need to submit a fafsa now just ot go throught the process, it is okay, just file the new Fafsa on jan 1 or later (but before your schools financial aid deadline). While the fafsa does not look into the nitty gritty of your financial picture, you still have to turn in your parents tax forms and W-2s where the financial aid office will get a better pricture of your parents financial situation. In addition, as nedad stated any schools with their own financial aid forms will also give you the opportunity to cover this. If you get your aid package and it has nto budged, you can always request a review. Most schools want to know immeadiately and chances in your financial situation. It should work out for you and your brother. all the best to your father</p>

<p>I don't understand the point about next year's FAFSA not showing 2 in school. The question will be right on there: how many in school for the school year in question, so they will know there's 2.</p>


<p>In regard to having two in school, the next FAFSA will reflect that, but the FAFSA I just filed for next year did not, since my brother is still in high school.</p>

<p>As for FAFSA reflecting our "financial year," due to the particulars in our situation, this and next year will still show my father "earning" his old pay. This is the part that worries me.</p>

<p>Thanks to all of you for your help!



<p>Actually if you are filling out the FAFSA for next school year (2005-06) you WILL be indicating that there are two of you in college because by then your brother will be a freshman (assuming he is a senior now). The question on the FAFSA is referencing the number of students in college for the year you are filing (and that would be for 2005-06, correct?).</p>

<p>Your family should plan to contact the finaid office re: your special circumstances. Your family should write a special circumstances letter to the finaid office outlining and documenting the expenses, and also the fact that the income reflected the previous year no longer exists. Many finaid offices will consider these special circumstances letters. Your family will be expected to be able to verify what they state in these letters regarding your changed financial situation. Also, your family's income of $50,000 would still likely qualify you form some need based aid.</p>

<p>You should talk to your guidance counselor about your situation. He can help you with the fee waivers and advise you about how to let the colleges know your family's financial situation.</p>

<p>If you're brother is planning on being in school for next year, then that's what you put in the FAFSA. It doesn't matter that he's in HS right now--it's asking who's going to be in college next year.</p>