Should I apply for financial aid?

<p>I was wondering how intensive the application process for financial aid is. My family is rather well off, but not absurdly rich, and I wanted to know what the possible benefits are in applying for financial aid when it appears I most likely won't receive any (Using various EFC calculators I've always had $0 in financial aid, but to varying extents.). </p>

<p>Other than the obvious possibility of receiving financial aid, are there any doors opened or particular situations that occur when applying for finncial aid? </p>

<p>Thanks in advance.</p>

<p>To be eligible for some merit scholarships, some schools will require that you fill out the FAFSA. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it's true.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/archives/fafsa-required-for-merit-aid-hopeful.htm%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/archives/fafsa-required-for-merit-aid-hopeful.htm&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>At some colleges, if you don't apply for institutional aid the first time around, you won't ever be eligible for it even if your family's circumstances change.</p>

<p>By filing a FAFSA, you could take out a student loan for 5500 as a frosh....so that may help your family a bit with out of pocket costs.</p>

<p>Yes, there are some schools that do require FAFSA for merit consideration, but many schools don't require FAFSA for merit awards.</p>

<p>Do you have the stats for merit awards at some schools? If so, you might want to apply to some as financial safety back up schools.</p>

<p>While I am looking primarily to the top tier colleges (Ivies and what not) I do also have some safeties in mind. I will certainly look for some merit scholarships where they are given (I have a 2300 SAT and a 36 ACT so I think I qualify for some.). Furthermore, I am looking to apply for a few Hispanic scholarships, though even if I got them they would take just a chip out of the $55,000/year tuition.</p>

<p>Is is true that if I don't apply for financial aid this year then I won't ever be considered, because my sister will enter college in two years and perhaps we will be eligible for some aid by then.</p>

<p>I think you should apply.</p>

<p>*Is is true that if I don't apply for financial aid this year then I won't ever be considered, because my sister will enter college in two years and perhaps we will be eligible for some aid by then. *</p>

<p>Yes that is true for a number of schools. They don't want people "gaming the system" by not applying for aid for YEAR 1 (to gain an admittance edge), then paying their entire college savings for that one year, and then qualifying for massive aid for YEARS 2 - 4. </p>

<p>Using various EFC calculators I've always had $0 in financial aid, but to varying extents.</p>

<p>What are your parents saying? Are they saying that they're fine with paying $55k+ per year for various privates? If so, that's good. Will they pay for more than that when you and your sister are both in school? If they aren't fine with that, it's good to know that now so that you can take that consideration.</p>

<p>Then, what about my family circumstances changes after freshmen year, like my parents lose their jobs? Will I be qualified for some aid?</p>

<p>OP, since our family isn't eligible for need-based aid, I called every school on my daughter's list to ask if she needed to apply for aid freshman year to be eligible in later years if family circumstances changed. Every school on her list said she didn't have to apply freshman year. You'll have to ask each school on your list if you would be eligible for institutionally-awarded need-based aid in subsequent years.</p>

<p>^ I agree, while I'm sure there are some schools where you have to apply for FA as a fr to be eligible in other years, all of the ones that I've actually researched have not (except for Brown, but that is as a first year transfer student).</p>

<p>I do not think it helps with your application to apply for FA at those top tier schools. Not needing FA is a hook.</p>

<p>*Then, what about my family circumstances changes after freshmen year, like my parents lose their jobs? Will I be qualified for some aid? *</p>

<p>often if a major circumstance occurs ( loss of income, employed parent dies, or serious/expensive health issue), then a school with those kind of policies will let you apply for aid later.</p>

<p>Thank you all for the help so far. Just to get an idea of the other side of things, what would be some negative aspects, if any, of applying for financial aid? Is the paperwork truly extensive and time consuming?</p>

<p>Schools need full pay students.</p>

<p>If the school is need blind for admissions...it won't matter if you do or don't need financial aid...the admissions folks will not know your financial aid status when they consider your application for admission.</p>

<p>BUT some of the very generous schools are need award...this means your finances ARE considered when your application for admission is considered.</p>

<p>If you don't qualify for need based aid because your family income is too high...it really won't matter because you will be a full pay regardless, right?</p>

<p>Agreed with the poster who said...CALL every school and ask about institutional need based aid in subsequent years...find out IF you have to apply as an incoming freshman. At both of my kids' schools you had to APPLY (note not receive...apply) for aid the first year to be able to apply for institutional aid in subsequent years. This criteria did NOT apply to federally funded aid. If your situation becomes such that you are eligible for a Pell grant in subsequent years, you MUST be given that grant.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the advice everybody. I'll start calling soon.</p>