SSS PFS Shock?

<p>The PFS for my family shows that we are supposed to pay a third of our entire annual income- no taxes, nothing off- for tuition. If you do take off those expenses, my family's income is less than what tuition is for any of the ACRONYM schools. Because I will need (guaranteed, in some cases) a full ride, I may very well be rejected/waitlisted because of this.</p>

<p>And yet... I don't hold any grudges, not against the schools. No, I am not happy at the prospect of being rejected because of FA. Yes, I wish that I had grandparents to go to, a bank account, or anything that could possibly pay my tuition. But I think people forget that... these schools offer this money. You can argue that all schools should, but you cannot argue that all schools do- because they don't, in almost everywhere else in the world.
Just two years ago, on a stint in Asia, I sat for an entrance exam, the only criterion for admission, at a top bilingual private HS. I had the highest test scores among all the examinees, but when I approached the director of admission asking about scholarships, he gave only a blank stare. "We have... a 500 dollar reward for honor roll," he said, uncertainly. 500 dollars in that country amounts to less than $20 US, not even a hundredth of what tuition at that school costs. And that was it.
So do you see why I don't resent these BSs? However slimmer the admission chances are for FA students- and we don't even have any actual data saying how much so- these schools offer this chance. They offer a tremendous sum of money, some of the highest secondary school tuitions in the world, to students with sufficient merit.</p>

<p>From what I know, that's as good as it gets nowadays, anywhere in the world.</p>

<p>@Cherry Rose said it very well! Nicely done!</p>

<p>@starkali: You wrote in post 39 that you'll have your mother write a letter to the schools explaining the circumstances if you are accepted. That's too late. Now is the time to write letters to schools explaining your family's reasons why you feel the suggested family contribution of the PFS doesn't reflect the full reality of your situation.</p>

<p>Starkali - Ask your mother if she also applied for aid at your brother's school. If she did, that EFC reflects the amount for both of you. If she didn't, she should. It is my understanding that BS will expect you to apply for aid at the sibling's school as well. If you don't, it will be as if they are subsidizing your brother's tuition through their aid to you. That may be what is causing the EFC to be higher than expected. </p>

<p>Let's say I was a FA director (I'm not!!!) and I see a family where the SSS says they have 30,000 to spend on tuition for two kids and my school charges 40,000 and the sibling's tuition is 20,000. I might expect that 15,000 would go to one kid and 15,000 to the other. In a world of unlimited funds, I would award 25,000 to bridge the gap at my school and expect the sibling's school to award 5000. Or maybe I expect that your parents will cover 50% of each child's tuition so 20,000 of your parents funds go to you and 10,000 goes to your brother. Then I might award 20K to you expecting bro's school to kick in the remaining 10K. However I look at, I have no reason to pony up funds from my school's FA budget to subsidize your bro's education. See? </p>

<p>Cherryrose - Well stated. Thanks for the perspective.</p>

<p>I think we also need to look at reality - FA often represents the school's decision that the student is someone they really want. So yes - the mother should outline the extenuating circumstances. But Starkali also has to have some perspective. It is easy to believe that $170,000 is not a lot and that a family is living paycheck to paycheck. But that income results in one month what another parent in a minimum wage job (also struggling with health care bills) makes in one year.</p>

<p>example: A woman working minimum wage and at $8.25 an hour makes about $17,000 per year. No 401K, likely no savings, many without medical insurance and many facing daunting medical bills as well. </p>

<p>Your family's income before deductions and retirement is approx: $14,000 each month. See the difference? Your combined income is also more than three to four times the median salary for the private school teachers who will be providing your instruction.</p>

<p>So we're not saying you don't have a legitimate concern. You do. But we're also saying that a family that admits it can pay up to $30,000 for a second child on top of tuition for the first child isn't living paycheck to paycheck and the schools know that. If your mother can come up with $30,000 she may have the resources to borrow the rest. From my corporate experience I'm guess that at your mother's income level she has a retirement fund, probably matched by her company, stock options and significant benefits. If she is self-employed the laws allow her to contribute even higher amounts to her retirement fund. That may decrease what you perceive as "spendable" income. However those assets add to the formula that determines if paying for BS will be a burden. Retirement is not touchable, but it does indicate relative financial health (and certainly - while not ideal - there are rules that allow retirement to be tapped in emergencies if medical expenses become oppressive).</p>

<p>So have your mother explain the circumstance. But also know that being in the FA pool also puts you at increased risk of being declined or waitlisted if you ask for more than the school thinks you need. A lot of CC parents significantly downsized their standard of living to make BS work for their students. Those are the parents without access to $30,000 even for a single child.</p>

<p>I think that may be the same in your case as well. It will be a sacrifice - only your family can determine if it will be worth it.</p>

<p>ExieMITAlum: "But we're also saying that a family that admits it can pay up to $30,000 for a second child on top of tuition for the first child isn't living paycheck to paycheck and the schools know that." </p>

<p>I meant that we can pay $30,000 for both of our tuitions (my brother and me). Meaning $15,000 for each of us. My brother's tuition is only about $10,000, so that leaves me with about $20,000.</p>

<p>@starkali: I think this is something best left to your parents. When we were going through the process last year, I told my DC (1). how much our family can comfortably contribute; (2). how much we can if we squeeze the budget really hard (Netflix instead of cables; pre-paid cell phones instead of unlimited plans; drive-up vacations instead of flights; etc.); and (3). how much we are willing to pay (taking out loans if necessary) if accepted by certain schools. It's all about family priorities, and only your parents can decide that.</p>

<p>
[quote]
My brother's tuition is only about $10,000, so that leaves me with about $20,000.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Or, looking at it the other way 'round, you get $30,000 and he gets $0, leaving him with a greater shortfall and you with a lesser one. The point is, as Neato stated earlier, you both have to apply for financial aid . . . the entire burden shouldn't fall on your school, while his school contributes nothing.</p>

<p>@starkali,</p>

<p>Why not apply to a local, less expensive option? (I know - it's hard to consider). The reason why I ask is that tuition is only part of the burden. On top of the tuition anticipate:</p>

<ol>
<li>airfare or transportation for 4 trips home</li>
<li>activities on campus, sports equipment, etc.</li>
<li>spending money</li>
<li>books, laundry, dorm fees</li>
</ol>

<p>etc.</p>

<p>That can quickly add several thousand more to your bill.</p>

<p>I think you should concentrate (as others said) on getting into school and let your parents handle the financials. Schools will provide options including loan providers and the option to pay over 10 installments if needed.</p>