Should I write an appeal letter?

<p>Last fiscal year, my parent's gross income was ~63K, and BC expected us to pay ~8.5K (13% of our income).
This fiscal year, our gross income increased to ~82K (with no significant changes in other assets), and BC expected us to pay ~15K (18% of our income). Compare this with Cornell's package (I applied as a transfer and turned it down), which was ~9.5K.
Should I appeal, and how should I go about it?</p>

<p>Actually 18% of an $82k income is good. Many have to pay 25% or more with that income.</p>

<p>You can try, but look at it this way....The school has a COA of $50k per year and they only expect you to pay $15k. That's quite a discount.</p>

<p>Also, your income went up $19K but your payments only $6.5K. Obviously it's a graduated scale.</p>

<p>
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Actually 18% of an $82k income is good. Many have to pay 25% or more with that income.

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<p>Is this true for colleges with 100% meet need financial aid, or are you talking about other colleges who don't meet full need? Keep in mind that we don't have a lot of assets, as seen by our previous numbers. </p>

<p>I'm not really complaining, but it's odd that BC's aid would be drastically higher than Cornell's. I expected to pay around 12K, not 15K.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Also, your income went up $19K but your payments only $6.5K. Obviously it's a graduated scale.

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<p>I know that, but I didn't expect the increase to be that drastic, thats all. I thought the percentage would be closer to 15% of income (or 12K).</p>

<p>Thanks. I don't really know much about this, so I would really like some input.</p>

<p>Yes, typically families with good incomes can expect to pay 1/4 - 1/3 of their incomes for family contribution. It could be much higher at a school that doesn't meet need.</p>

<p>Obviously that's not true for those who make la ow income. But, once a family makes a good income, then about 1/3 of any increases in income is expected to go to college expenses. </p>

<p>AGI = $75k
Estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC):
TOTAL ESTIMATED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION: $13,261</p>

<p>AGI = $100k
Estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC):
TOTAL ESTIMATED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION: $21,979 </p>

<p>So, you can see that an $82k income is in between. Your family had a $19k increase in income....That's a LOT. </p>

<p>Cornell is an ivy...Its endowment is probably much larger than BC's</p>

<p>Again....when you want to go to a school that costs $50k per year and you're not low income, why wouldn't you think only having to pay $15k is a great deal? Remember, going to an expensive college is a luxury...not a right.</p>

<p>Look at it this way.... Should BC only expect you to pay $9k per year ($36k total for 4 years) if a family earns $328k over those 4 years?</p>

<p>The primary obligation to pay for college rests with the family.</p>

<p>To answer the OP's original question, I don't think an appeal is appropriate unless you have some unusual/extenuating circumstances that are not reflected in any of the info you've given them. If your family has high medical expenses, has had a job loss, etc. you should appeal. If not, you've got a decent award for that level of income vs. COA (although you may wish you'd taken Cornell's offer) and probably don't have much chance of an adjustment...</p>

<p>Thank you. I (and my parents) are not in the know about this, so I do apologize if I do sound entitled in my post. That's not my intention. My parents' gross incomes are going to drastically increase over the next two years (from 82K->120K->145K), and I've gone from poor to rich in about five years, which I did not foresee when I chose BC, so 15K still sounds like a lot of money. But I won't ask for an appeal. I'll just figure out how to manage the next two years.</p>

<p>Yes, that's a problem for students whose parents haven't really had time to accumulate much in savings when they've only recently reached a higher income level. I don't think you sound entitled at all...FA is shrouded in far too much mystery anyway and, believe me, no one is born knowing this stuff! Good luck...</p>

<p>Once your income hits a certain threshold, you can reasonably expect your EFC to go up by $440 for every additional $1000 earned. That's built right into the FAFSA formula.</p>

<p>It's not a percentage of your overall family income. Think of it this way: the financial aid system is built on the assumption that your family needs a certain amount of money to pay for basic needs, and above and beyond that amount, income is discretionary: it can be spent on a new car, paying down old debt, a vacation, college tuition. The financial aid system doesn't expect families to give up on basic needs, but they don't feel any need to subsidize the "discretionary" part -- that is, from their perspective, why should they pay out their limited grant funds to help some family with discretionary income go on vacation? </p>

<p>I think your family has to be aware that as the income increases, you will lose eligibility for financial aid. I mean -- BC isn't going to care that you were "poor" (though $63K is actually comfortably middle class) when you came in, if your parents are raking in $145K.
And your parents are going to have to recognize that their good fortune is going to mean that you will probably be eligible for little or no need-based aid during your junior & senior year. </p>

<p>The best thing your parents can do is work with good CPA for tax and investment advice. If they look at the cost of college as the only factor, then it will seem like a frustratingly large piece of their new found money is going off to pay for your college. But they can make choices that will save them money in other areas, as well as provide a better foundation for the future. Also, there may be tax advantages to them if they deposit money in 529 account as they earn it, and then pay your tuition from that account. So please encourage them to talk to someone who can help them make responsible decisions over the next few years. </p>

<p>Also, your parents are eligible for PLUS loans, and if they expect the new income level to last for years to come, then PLUS loans are kind of a way to "pay it forward". That is, rather than paying $50K out of pocket for your senior year, they could pay $20K and borrow $30K, paying that off over the next several years -- and thus reducing the impact on their current cash flow. Or - they may find it more cost effective and flexible to use some other sort of borrowing, such as a home equity loan.</p>

<p>I know its frustrating, but the overall picture is quite rosy -- I mean... look how much your parents are making now! You've gotten a substantial discount on tuition for your freshman year, and still have a big discount your sophomore year -- so as far as the whole package is concerned, your parents had the help when they needed it the most. </p>

<p>Every college has its own procedures, so you can't really compare BC to Cornell's.... but I do have one question -- is Cornell's award possibly based on older information than BC's? I have sometimes done a FAFSA early, based on estimates, and then later had to go back to correct it once my tax returns were files. By the time the amended FAFSA was done, our choices were narrowed down... so I always kept in mind that the earlier, "better" offers might have been subject to change based on the new information.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I think your family has to be aware that as the income increases, you will lose eligibility for financial aid. I mean -- BC isn't going to care that you were "poor" (though $63K is actually comfortably middle class) when you came in, if your parents are raking in $145K.

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<p>Oh no, calmom, I was referring to poor as in below poverty line a little more than four years ago (we're immigrants, so it wasn't like we were always 63K and got our big breaks). I agree with you, 63K is comfortably middle class.
I'm aware of the progressive rate increase, but I wasn't aware that it was that drastic of an increase, and I didn't factor in the drastic increase in income when making my college decisions (I mean, who could possibly predict these things). Considering that BC and Cornell received the same information (FAFSA & CSS) at the same time, I didn't think that BC's progression was that steep, that's all.
It's really not that bad, and we can find ways to fund it. Thanks again.</p>

<p>Well, I have to say that I really admire your parent's ability to improve their finances so quickly! I know it is tough when you don't have a lot of assets to fall back on, but it sounds like your parents must be extremely talented and capable individuals. I'm sure they can see the big picture and are happy to finance your education -- since I'm sure they want to give you the type of education that will enable you to do as well in life as they are doing now. </p>

<p>Are your parents self employed? One difference between BC and Cornell may be the way they look at self-employment income. Basically, when someone is self-employed, they usually have a lot of seemingly discretionary business expenses and paper losses (like depreciation) that they will write off on their tax returns. Colleges like to look at the business returns and will add stuff back in. For example -- lets say I buy a new computer for my business. I think I need a new computer, and since I use if for work, I decide to write off the full expense, giving me a deduction from my income. But maybe the college looks at my tax return, see that I've taken a writeoff for new equipment purchased -- and figures that I could have spent that money on college tuition instead -- so they add that deduction right back into my income. </p>

<p>There are no set rules on that, so we self-employed parents are used to seeing a lot of variance from one college to another on financial aid, especially when the colleges ask to see our tax returns or want a business supplement filed with the CSS profile.</p>

<p>My parents' gross incomes are going to drastically increase over the next two years (from 82K->120K->145K),</p>

<p>Is this aid package for your junior year? If so, then you need to prepare your parents for another big change next year. </p>

<p>If their income grows to $120k next year, you may be looking at a family contribution of over $25k. Let them know that so they won't be shocked.</p>

<p>Numbers are funny -- particularly %. My income can go up 500% and that sounds terrific -- until I tell you I make $1 a year . . . </p>

<p>So I wouldn't wrap my mind around %. It is good of you to keep on top of this and to ask lots of questions. It would be wonderful if you could find fellow BC students in the same income bracket to compare packages. That's awful personal stuff to ask but it would give you an idea of where you stand.</p>

<p>Have you discussed this with your parents? Our family income has gone up during the years my D has been in school. We have GLADLY used the increased income to pay for our D's college costs, and we will be paying for two this year. We have not changed our lifestyle as our income has increased. We consider it our responsibility to pay for our kids' college costs, and we feel blessed to have experienced increases in our income at a time when we truly need the extra money. Maybe your parents feel as we do ...</p>