Value of parent assets (Net Price Calculators)

Due to an inheritance from a relative, I have a property shared with my sister worth about $500,000 (divided between two)

We have currently rented this property for a few months. This is a rental with option to purchase. This means that in three years the tenant will have to buy the property ($500,000). I am entitled to $250,000.

When I fill out some of the college net price calculators to find out the cost of college, one of the questions is “What is the total value of the parents’ assets?”

I wanted to ask in this forum if I should include the $250,000 that I will receive in three years. I ask this since it considerably influences the calculated cost.

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It is immaterial if and when you sell the property. The question asks about your assets. As of today, you own a one-half share in a property worth $500,000. That is what the question on the NPC asks about. As of today, the correct answer is to include the $250K share you own in the property.

The day you sell the property, you will own the same value, $250,000. At that point the asset will be cash, not property. But the value is the same and should be included.


Do you think that if that asset passed entirely into the hands of my sister and we entered a zero in the NPC assets, it would have a lot of influence on the aid we would receive from the college?

Disclaimer: I am not a tax profession, a finance professional, nor a financial aid professional. This is only my opinion as someone who has bought, inherited and sold personal and investment properties.

Another issue you may not have mentioned is any share of the rent you collect from the property should probably be listed on NPCs/FAFSA/CSS as income. That income could also affect the result of the NPC/FAFSA.

Yes, having a $250K second-property asset is going to almost certainly result in a higher NPC estimate. This is something families deal with every year when it comes to college financial planning. Colleges will naturally look at this asset as something you could tap to help pay for college. And of course, everyone wants to not spend that inheritance on an expensive college.

Ultimately, this is going to come down to the same tough decision almost many families have to make. Do you think it is worth it to spend 4/5 of that asset value (across four years of college) to send your child to an expensive college when there are definitely less expensive colleges available?

Keep in mind that most of the more expensive colleges (that also provide significant financial aid) use the CSS Profile to verify parental (both custodial and non-custodial parents and their spouses) income and assets. If you haven’t gotten so far in the process as to have filled out the CSS Profile, you will discover it goes deep into parental assets/income.

Out of curiosity, what colleges is your child considering? Hopefully the list includes some certain to be affordable regardless of the effects of this asset on the NPCs.

There are others in this forum more expert in financial aid than me. They’ll probably chime in sooner or later.


Run the NPCs with and without the asset to see, but yes, the asset will likely decrease the amount of aid you receive.

This is also an asset that has to be reported on FAFSA (and CSS Profile), so could affect federal aid.

Lastly, you do have to report the rental income on FAFSA as well, if any was received in 2022 (FAFSA prior prior year for school year 2024-25).



I note I think the usual CSS calculation assess parental assets at about 5% a year. Colleges are free to vary from that, but normally I would expect about a $12,500/year increase in EFC from adding a $250,000 parental asset.

I just ran a sample A/B NPC comparison (randomly chose Yale), and this seemed about right.


Thank you all very much for your quick responses. I forgot to say that our S24 is an international student athlete. I don’t think we have to fill out the FAFSA.

As for the universities we are going to apply for, they would almost all be small private NAIA


There is absolutely no way to answer this without knowing which colleges you are talking about AND your total financial picture.

Re: the property you own partly as a rental now. Remember that the rents need to be included as income.

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You might need to use the $250,000 as a regular asset because most NPCs don’t ask about secondary real estate.

And make sure you add the rests in as income.

Even so…use this as an estimate only! Because the actual financial aid forms will look a bit different.

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Actually, it’s the FAFSA that assesses parent assets at about 5.6%. Profile schools are free to use any percentage they choose.

I will add…as an international student, you have a LOT of things to consider regarding the search for financial aid. You will need to check every single college to see IF they even offer financial aid to international students. Some colleges do, some don’t, and some offer very limited aid to international students. In addition, many colleges here are need aware for admissions meaning your ability to pay will be considered when your kid applies.

Do you need financial aid for your student to attend college in the United States? If so…how much can YOU contribute towards their college education annually?


What is this?

These schools don’t typically offer great need-based aid as for the most part they don’t have large financial aid budgets.

So while I agree with others on reporting assets and income, I’m not sure it matters a whole lot.

Are the school NPCs suggesting you’ll receive significant need based aid either way?


There are a whole lot of NAIA schools that don’t give need based aid to internationals, and I don’t think any meet full need for all. NPCs may not be accurate for internationals.

You may get some discounts from some of these schools, but not sure your asset picture will matter much. Best to talk to each school’s financial aid office and ask questions. I wouldn’t change any of your asset holdings at all until you do this, because it might not matter at all.


The information about reporting assets and rental income is correct. It is also correct that you really need to think about this as something you need to investigate on a school by school basis. FAFSA is irrelevant for an international student, because international students cannot file FAFSA. You will be asked to complete the Profile and/or the school’s own financial aid form.

It’s a little simplistic to say that your child will or won’t get aid as an international student. I looked at some of the NAIA schools in my state. At some, there would probably not be much, if any, aid. However, I know one of the schools has really great aid for SOME international students. I don’t think all international students fare so well, but I do know that some have received amazing aid. I suspect it depends on whether the student has something in particular that the school is interested in adding to their student body.

My advice is to find some schools that interest your child and begin having conversations with their international student advisors.


Right, but there is something called the Institutional Methodology provided by the College Board that serves as a sort of industry standard/default for CSS schools:

Institutional Methodology is central to our suite of powerful financial aid solutions. Nearly 400 colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs use IM to make critical aid decisions.

Developed and maintained in partnership with practicing financial aid professionals and economists, IM provides a comprehensive evaluation of a family’s ability to pay for the cost of higher education.

Any college can vary from the IM as it sees fit, but when I referred to “the usual CSS calculation,” what I meant was the IM calculation provided by the College Board.

And as I understand it, the IM assesses parental assets at about 5%:

The CSS Profile uses the Institutional Methodology to determine need-based aid eligibility. In the 2023-2024 application season, the CSS Profile assesses parent assets at a rate of approximately 5%.

OK, so this is good to know when you are thinking about this issue in general terms. But of course if you are narrowing in on specific colleges, you should check their NPC.

Like I said, I did a test hypothetical for Yale, and I got right around 5% (not 5.6%, incidentally). So off hand, it appears to me Yale is using the IM default for parental assets–or at least secondary real estate (their NPC let me specifically put this under real estate and not general investment assets).

But again, I agree it is important to know Yale was not obligated to do that.


Also, it should be noted that a second piece of rental teal estate could be assessed at 100% of its equity as it could be sold to pay college costs.


Thank you very much for your very useful answers. I am clear that what needs to be done is to declare the income from the rental of that asset.

On the other hand, what needs to be reported or not will depend on each college form. And as you rightly say, NAIA doesn’t tend to have much need-based help.

Are you wondering what needs to be reported on college financial aid forms? Really, this doesn’t vary…at all.

On the FAFSA, this rental property equity will be listed. And the rents listed also.

On the Profile, your primary home equity is asked for AND the equity and income from the rental property will be listed.

This is not college dependent. The only college dependent thing is how schools treat your primary home equity. Schools using only the FAFSA won’t use it at all. Schools using the Profile or their own form will use primary home equity in amounts that vary depending on the college.

But the actual reporting by you…doesn’t really vary except between FAFSA only, and schools using additional forms.


NAIA is National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. So it’s an athletic conference outside of the NCAA.

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Thank you. I think you need to very much check the affordability of these colleges.

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