Schools that ignore home equity

The best list I could find was from 2018, and I think that was incomplete. Does anyone know where there is a more current list? I know lots of schools have made changes making their financial aid more generous over the last few years. I don’t know if this has been part of that trend or not.

I know I could go through and see how the NPC is impacted on any individual school. I will do that at some point before D25 applies anywhere. Bur right now I’m a couple years away, and contemplating a financial move that would have a big impact on my home equity. D25 is kind of all over the place on where she may go, so I’m trying to find a shortcut to running 100 NPC’s.

Well…do keep in mind that the formulas the schools use to calculate need based aid could very well change in the next two years.

Free advice…don’t do things based on possible financial aid outcomes unless they are things you would be doing anyway. @blossom can explain better!

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There really is no shortcut if the college uses CSS profile. Any 3rd party list is going to be incomplete and / or out of date and / or just plain wrong.

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@dadof4kids

Any college that uses only the FAFSA will not include home equity in your primary residence.

I assume you are looking for colleges that guarantee to meet full need for everyone…the only one I know of that does this with only the FAFSA is University of Chicago.

If this is an issue, perhaps your student can consider places where significant merit aid is probable. Merit aid is not income or asset dependent.

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A short cut is that a college that does not require financial aid forms other than FAFSA (which states that home equity is to be excluded in questions 41 and 89) ignores home equity. However, there could be colleges that require additional financial aid forms that also ignore home equity.

Note also that just because a college ignores home equity does not mean that its financial aid offer will be good. So you may have to run all those net price calculators anyway.

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University of Chicago requires its own additional form (or CSS Profile is allowed as an option) in addition to FAFSA. However, it also says that it “does not consider … equity in the family’s primary home” in page 2 of its financial aid handbook.

The University of Chicago form is VERY short…and as you note, it does not ask for home equity or things like non-custodial parent financials.

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To expand a bit:

Full need CSS schools is what I am asking about.

I’m very aware this stuff changes fairly frequently and it’s not a static list or a guarantee, I’m just trying to get a feel of where things stand today, and how many/what type of schools we are talking about.

This isn’t something goofy I’m contemplating to game the system and set myself up for financial aid. Right now S19 and D21 get decent need based aid, and I will check their schools (although I guess S19 doesn’t matter anymore). It’s something I am contemplating doing that would potentially really hurt me. That’s what I am trying to avoid. I don’t want to save a few thousand dollars today to pay it back tenfold once D25 starts school.

She may well end up at a merit aid school, or one where we are mostly paying full freight anyway. It’s a bit early to say. Right now she is on track with where her older siblings were as far as having a good shot at a full needs met school, but who knows what the next 2 years brings, both in her odds for admission and even desire for that type of a school.

Mostly I don’t want to be in the situation that she wants to apply to Smith (or whereever) in 2 years, and I have to tell her we can’t afford it because I did some balance sheet changes a couple years ago.

Also to answer the next comment, I’m very aware that “needs met” means a lot of different things. I have a massive spreadsheet I did for D21. I just don’t want to have to recreate that right now, knowing that I will need to update it yet again in a couple years when it is actually getting closer to the time to apply.

Here’s a list that was updated in 2021.

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Thank you!

That’s an awesome list… Maybe they could pin this?

Nice list, but what that list doesn’t tell us is to what degree/what percentage they are hitting the home equity (adding to EFC)….1%, 5%, etc.? So off to those NPCs @dadof4kids! :wink:

All the NPCs I have run hit home equity the same as all parent assets—around 5 percent . YMMV of course.

But I just really don’t want to, that’s why I’m asking!

More seriously, this probably gives me the basic info that I need, once I look at it a bit.

Without going into all of the details, I’m trying to unwind some stuff with a part time partner, and we are going over options of the best way to do it. My home got tied up as collateral for something else years ago, so I don’t really have much equity in it, at least on paper. We had reasons for everything we did over the years, but at this point it’s a mess and we are trying to simplify without causing either of us big tax or other problems.

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I’m hoping @blossom sees this comment. Blossom has very sage advice about what to do in these situations.

I will add, your situation sounds more complicated than most as you described above. So a couple of suggestions:

  1. Whittle down the list of possible college choices so you don’t have to run 100 NPCs.

  2. Have a couple of colleges on the list that offer high probability of merit aid. If your daughter has the stats for acceptance into a meets full need for all college, she likely could garner great merit aid elsewhere. You all need to keep an open mind about this.

  3. I hope you are working with an impartial someone to help you sort out the business/personal asset issues you have.

We have an accountant helping us, but there are a few things that could be done different ways. He understands the tax issues, but not surprisingly has no clue about how need based aid could be impacted.

I probably did less than 100 for D21, but I did a ton. She was pretty up in the air too. But some of those I now already know won’t work. And she is just a different kid too. D25 is even more wide open than D21, but that’s because there are a lot of not “needs met” schools that may work better for her. The schools that this question pertains too is a much shorter list, although still a long one. Honestly it isn’t THAT bad once you get in a groove, it’s a lot of the same numbers punched in different places, over and over.

I am kind of hoping that she goes for a merit aid school instead. Because my stuff is more complicated than 99% of people, I am frequently worrying about how some business decision could bite me for FA. It would be so nice to just take that issue off of the table once D21 graduates.

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Presumably, you noticed with the previous kids that small business assets and income can also affect some colleges’ financial aid calculations in ways that are not necessarily as predictable (or which those colleges’ net price calculators account for) compared to income that is mostly W-2 income?

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Blossom here.

I realize you don’t want to go into detail… but if you don’t have much equity in the home right now, seems to me that’s a great situation to be in (not the rest of your stuff- sending you good karma that you can work it all out to your satisfaction). Living in a two million dollar house with no mortgage is a very different scenario than living in a 350K house where your equity is 35K. And if the latter is your situation, I’d stop worrying about the financial aid impact of your current decision-making, and just work through the best deal you can cut. The impact on your financial aid down the road is just not predictable- colleges are under no obligation to keep last year’s formula “forever”, and a good financial deal today is worth more than a “maybe” down the road.

And the solution might not be “simple” as you put it, as long as it’s equitable. Which might mean a skootch more in taxes next year but a better long term deal. You catch my drift…

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Sounds like the spreadsheet will help out a lot.

Do you know about myintuition? Streamlined version of NPC used by some schools:

You should be able to plug in numbers for a school the first time and get a result, then go back and choose a different school and it should auto fill your numbers the next time through. Might save you a bit of time for schools that participate. Obviously it lacks the specificity of the long form NPCs but it can give you a general idea.

I know you’re a veteran at this but it’s relatively new, thought it worth mentioning.

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Thanks to all. This gave me enough info to figure out what I needed to know.