Solving our financial aid problem/Non-Custodial/ Divorced Parent Form

<p>My daughter is only a high school junior, but we have been aware of the "Non-Custodial issue" for a long time, due to an older sibling.
My ex refuses to fill out the form, and to be honest, if he did, it would be bad, as his income is pretty high.
Our divorce agreement from 10 years ago has him agreeing to pay 1/2 of in state tuition. He has actually paid more than that for our eldest, who is a college junior.
(I have not worked a real job in 20+ years, and am currently taking classes so that I can return to work...but do not expect to launch a formidable career at this point).</p>

<p>My youngest has now decided that she does not want to go to what she terms
" Rich Kid Schools", so that pretty much eliminates all of my worry about the Divorced Parent forms! She will only apply to one school that is private, and I will apply for an exemption, but do not expect to get it.
It is sad that she has reached this conclusion, but has much to do with the place we live in....due to our divorce agreement, needing to have the kids near the ex, we are in a very, very snooty area....and have not been well treated by the natives...
Without naming the town, we are in the New Trier area similar to Greenwich CT. Superb for educational opportunities, lousy for self-esteem, if you are trailer trash, as most view those in our circumstances.</p>

<p>I have lurked on here for over a year, while I pondered our, as we prepare to meet with the school counselor, with our list of schools, I am relieved that my daughter has solved it...." No rich kid schools"</p>

<p>It sounds as though you will have it well in hand. But, you might both keep an open mind. Many of the so-called "rich-kid schools" have very recently re-configured their financial aid policies to include families from lesser means (and my family is very grateful that they have done just that! :) ) precisely because they don't like the reputation either. So, many of these well-endowed schools are able to give very generous FA packages, some of which include low or no tuition, and many include no loans. I would investigate further, but in any event, she will be able to get a great education at many, many schools. State schools are often equal to or better than the "rich-kid schools."</p>

<p>The problem with most of the "rich kid ' schools though, is that they usually require the Non-Custodial Parent profile, which pretty much eliminates our chances of getting aid.
If you do not submit that form, you are pretty much unable to get any financial aid, hence my relief at my student's decision.
Especially if there is a wealthy parent, most of these schools feel that both parents should help pay, no matter what your divorce agreements state.</p>

<p>The CSS won't necessarily hurt you, I know from experience. You may still be able to GREAT aid from private schools. Don't generalize the climate of private well endowed schools. You want a quality college experience for your daughter that is affordable. Private and public schools offer that. Do your homework, keep an open mind, cast a wide net, use CC, then pare it down. Good luck!</p>

<p>I guess I did not make it clear....My Ex WILL NOT fill out the Non -custodial form. He is remarried,and is doing well, but refuses to open up his finances, disclose everything, etc.
Without his participation, the colleges requiring that form as part of the CSS will refuse to consider my student for aid. At all.
It makes me angry that they require this, to begin with. Seems as if this would keep many kids out, whose fathers have moved on, in a manner of speaking.
That is why I am relieved that my student no longer wants to try one of those schools! Those doors are pretty much closed to us, without the EX participating ( though he will help pay for college)</p>

It makes me angry that they require this, to begin with. Seems as if this would keep many kids out, whose fathers have moved on, in a manner of speaking.


<p>I think that your anger is misdirected because the basic principle of financial aid is that parents bear primary responsibility, to the best of their ability, to pay for their children’s education. Need analysis seeks to measure, in a fair and consistent way, the combined income and asset strength of each family relative to all other families who apply for aid. </p>

<p>Legal agreements notwithstanding, most schools (especially those that give institutional aid) believe parents remain morally responsible for their children’s education. As you know, they consider a student’s application incomplete until they receive all the required forms from both parents.</p>

<p>It is bad for your child to be caught in the middle of a situation that they did not create but at the end of the day, it is your ex who is making a conscious decision to make a number of schools out of reach for your child by refusing to fillout the forms or to pay his fair share.</p>

<p>I can see why your daughter feels the way she does. Apart from being perhaps a more practical choice for her and you because of the non-custodial parent info required by the CSS Profile, it also my be just the right "cultural" choice (for lack of a better term.) I have one that will go to a "rich kid school" because the school is very generous and makes itself accessible to modest-income kids, but my other (a really brilliant girl!) prefers the idea of a state public with its larger and more heterogeneous population. Because there it's not just income and ethnic diversity such as the best "rich kid schools" also strive for, but also a diversity of ages and abilities, of life stories, ambitions, and perspectives. She feels that will be a more fertile ground for her creatively, politically, and intellectually. This girl has options, too, but she's very clear-headed about this. She wants to experience a more typical populist kind of college education. This is grist for her very deep creative mill, if you know what I mean. There is a wonderful, small honors college within the flagship U that she's aiming for, but it will be set in the larger campus community.</p>

<p>I think both elite private and large public can be fantastic options, and both have their indisputable strong points. It's always nice when a kid has a real feel for where they want to be, and understands their own reasons for that decision. I can totally see why your daughter would feel like that given your family circumstances and the community you live in. Good luck to her! I suspect she has a very strong character, at least partly as a result of learning to be herself, hold her ground, and reject social values that have caused her pain.</p>

<p>Like I said I'll have a kid on each side of that divide, and think both can be most excellent options.</p>

<p>Rentof2, many thanks for your kind and thoughtful response! The honors colleges that many large schools offer do create a chance for gifted kids to really excel, and not get submerged at huge schools. It sounds as if you have two really wise kids. </p>

<p>Sybbie, I actually do not feel that my ex is wrong in his feelings. He has paid child support for 10 years, and has already paid state school tuition for one child. Our legal agreement specifies this, yet the "more selective" schools wish to ignore our divorce settlement, and tell him that he 'should ' pay more. In addition, he supports two families. Our situation is not that uncommon ...divorce and remarriage.</p>

<p>I do think it is odd that only the more selective schools ( and more expensive ones) require this form. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but they will certainly keep out many kids like my student. Good thing that she has decided that she does not want those types of schools...</p>