Warnings about Financial Aid

<ol>
<li>Don't bother with scholarships after freshman year.</li>
<li><p>If your financial situation worsens, don't expect increased aid.</p></li>
<li><p>Don't bother with scholarships after freshman year.
I made the mistake of doing this. Freshman year, I received a scholarship and it didn't reduce my Hopkins grant. Entering sophomore year, I applied for a new scholarship, won, and reported it to JHU. JHU took off the amount I won from the grant it was originally going to award me.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>It does say this on the site:
"Outside scholarships will count towards meeting your financial need before other types of need-based funding (including Hopkins Grant) are awarded."</p>

<p>I was still thinking that maybe my loan would be reduced, not my grant, but I guess that's not the case. So basically it's pointless to try for scholarships unless you don't receive any grant money, or the amount you're trying for is greater than the grant money awarded. The problem I now have is that the tuition bill comes before the time the scholarship organization sends out a check, and I don't have the money to pay, so I'm just going to be late with payment until that check comes in.</p>

<ol>
<li>If your financial situation worsens, don't expect increased aid.
If your financial circumstances worsen from year to year, you might not get more aid. You might not even get the same award package as you did the previous year. My mother lost her job and replaced it with a temporary job that earned about 20k less. My dad lost his job as well, which meant a loss of 15k. That means my family has 35k less to pay, but we still have the same number in college. And yet I received a slightly smaller award than freshman year (when my family had an income of 35k more than this year, so why reduce aid at all?).<br></li>
</ol>

<p>I am going to try to discuss the first issue with financial aid, and I already tried asking what the deal was with issue #2. But things are not looking good.</p>

<p>Granted, I like JHU, but my parents will no longer be helping me pay for school, so anything money-wise is extremely stressful. I have been given information by one counselor, switched counselors, then told significantly different information by the next. Today I received a notice that my grant has been reduced, but the bill is due in two weeks. I should have, at the least, reported the scholarship with check in hand, not when I received my acceptance letter, but I'm not sure what I can do about all that now. </p>

<p>I don't regret coming here for my first year. I don't have a problem with the environment or the academics. But financially, it has me terrified.</p>

<p>ALSO!!! I am an entering freshmen...if you received a scholarship from Hopkins please be advised that certain dorms cost more than others.
I know this sounds obvious but I was speaking ot other incoming freshmen and they are in the same situation that I'm in.
When the dorms are advertised or whatever, there is no mention of cost.
Wolman and Mccoy and Building A/B are the most expensive.
AMRs are cheaper.</p>

<p>As related to howdy's post:</p>

<p>You can find housing rates here:
Welcome</a> to the Johns Hopkins University Housing and Dining Services Website</p>

<p>2011-2012 rates: <a href="http://www.jhu.edu/hds/oncampus/PDF/RatesOnline20112012.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.jhu.edu/hds/oncampus/PDF/RatesOnline20112012.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Cheapest to most expensive:
triple in AMR
triple in A&B
double in AMR
double in McCoy/Wolman/A&B
single in AMR
single in McCoy/Wolman/A&B</p>

<p>When you make your sophomore housing choice, keep in mind dining plan costs and that dorms have different policies on when you have to leave for breaks and when you have to move out. So factor loss of housing, which may mean added temporary housing costs and/or transportation costs.</p>

<p>Actually, in our case, son only qualified for unsubsidized loan as a freshman. With a drop in income, Hopkins gave a grant (along with subsidized loan and work study) for sophomore year. We were pleasantly surprised. </p>

<p>Also, the kicker is that FA for 2011-2012 year is based off of 2010 income, so there's always a chance of a misfit between current income and financial aid based on previous year's income. I know there is a possibility of re-do of FA, but it doesn't seem like that's a realistic thing in most places.</p>

<p>"Also, the kicker is that FA for 2011-2012 year is based off of 2010 income..."</p>

<p>I do know this, but the discrepancy still exists. The information reported for the 2010-2011 year based on 2009 and the information I reported for the 2011-2012 based on 2010 shows the 20k income loss resulting from my mother's switch from a permanent to a temporary job, and then I reported on the CSS profile that my dad no longer had a job as well (hence no income there). </p>

<p>Maybe I just got unlucky. I know that my financial aid counselor was one of the later/last ones to hand out financial aid award packages, so that when others received awards on time around late June, I ended up receiving my package July 21st. I was told that there was no issue with my account and that it was just a matter of running late. Other friends also received late packages.</p>

<p>Though, this may have something to do with it: although I turned everything in on time, my previous aid counselor gave me incorrect information on certain items of the CSS profile, so when I talked to my new counselor (they switched everyone whose last name started with a certain letter of the alphabet), my new counselor told me what I should have done and suggested I submit a revision. I submitted a revision May 23rd, and I ended up getting my financial aid award package July 21st. </p>

<p>Maybe by the time my counselor awarded my package, there was less financial aid to give out. I'm not really sure how all that works, but whatever happened, didn't work out for me.</p>

<p>I'm grateful for the aid I did receive, but nevertheless I wonder how financial aid will be dealt with in future years. If a 35k drop of income still resulted in somewhat decreased aid, what will it mean for future years? This is my brother's last college year, so that means financial need decreases, but how sharply? I've just had a rather shaky experience with financial aid.</p>

<p>CSS Profile schools look at income and assets. We don't know all your info but it's possible your parents had assets the school felt they could tap into.</p>

<p>I think you know you made some assumptions. School that use outside scholarhsips to reduce loans usually state it on their FA web pages. JHU states: [grants] will not be reduced for **freshman* receiving private scholarships unless they exceed the student's financial need or cost of attendance...If an outside scholarship is renewed for sophomore, junior, or senior year, the amount of the scholarship will reduce the amount of ...Johns Hopkins University Grant offered those years. *</p>

<p>I'm no expert on JHU, but these would have led me to dig deeper. Sorry; hope there's a way this works out for you.</p>

<p>I know I made assumptions; maybe those reading this won't make the same mistakes.</p>

<p>On issue one, I was thinking that scholarships would be handled in the same way they were handled the prior year and never thought the next year would mean something different. But now that I know, it might be helpful for other people to know (and I admit being bummed out about it!).</p>

<p>I can only look at the 2009 FAFSA, not the CSS profile, so I can't compare assets entirely, nor do I know what the CSS profile does with the numbers, but basically: </p>

<p>2009, on which 2010-2011 was based: (I only have the FAFSA record though)
$300 in checking/savings
No investments
Same house
And I guess my family contributed 60k to tax-deferred pensions and savings? </p>

<p>Then in 2010, on which 2011-2012 is based: (I have the more in-depth CSS record for this)
$3500 in checking
No investments
Same house. They owe 126k on a 186k house. Maybe they owe less than they did in the prior year? I'm not sure if that would affect anything.
And no contributions</p>

<p>I haven't heard anything from financial aid yet, so maybe there is a mistake on my or their part, or there's some explanation for everything. I emailed two weeks ago, sent another email out, called today but my counselor was busy, and will call tomorrow if I haven't heard anything. Honestly, I'm terrified about calling or even asking about everything, but I do need to get this cleared up before I worry about it all next year.</p>

<p>Please remember to be very nice when speaking with FA folks. They have some ability to amend things, sometimes, but it has to closely follow guidelines and a definition of "fair practices." Some are quite cautious, even defensive, about changes. But, they have the right to end a discussion with anyone who is aggressive or etc. Good luck, have your ducks in a row.</p>

<p>That's a good thing to keep in mind. I imagine being rude/aggressive will just give them further reason to not help me. I hope I don't come across as being bitter or angry in this thread, but I tend to get easily panicked over money matters, especially when the unexpected shows up and I've got to re-figure things out.</p>

<p>What I'm worried about most is what they're going to charge for next year and the year after that, when my brother no longer is attending college and suddenly the available income is no longer halved between us. I don't think they'll change financial aid for this year - it feels a little late in the game for all of that - but I do really want an explanation before I freak out the entire year and stress about affording college for my last two years.</p>

<p>wow, didn't know this about JHU financial aid. thanks for the info!</p>

<p>I am going to choose to not comment about the particulars of the financial aid case be discussed here as I am not a financial aid counselor nor do I have access to such records. However, I do feel it is important to point out that this is just one person's point-of-view about Financial Aid at Johns Hopkins University and is based solely on that person's personal circumstances. </p>

<p>For every one case of a student "frustrated" about financial aid, I can share a wide range of cases where students are quite happy with their financial aid offers. I know a number of students who after major changes with their family financial circumstances received better aid in their upperclassmen years. Financial aid is treated on a case-by-case and you can not make sweeping generalizations about policies like the original poster had made. </p>

<p>For prospective applicants, I encourage you to spend time on the Financial Aid website familiarizing yourself with policies, deadlines, and options: Johns</a> Hopkins University Office of Financial Services. I also strongly recommend reviewing the need-based calculator: JHU</a> Possible Aid Estimator.</p>

<p>colleges are out there to snatch your money. this is true of all colleges, not just JHU. Once you realize their #1 priority, then you will be less mad.</p>

<p>That is one opinion, and an opinion I highly disagree with. Having spent the last 15 years of my life working for a number of colleges and universities I would say their number one priority is higher education. Just look at the amount of "access" programs launched by schools in the last five years. In my opinion, higher education is not just one big business out to steal money from students.</p>

<p>The</a> Five-Year Party</p>

<p>Although the author is just another "one opinion", he was a former college professor so he does know the system pretty well.</p>

<p>That college professor is referring to party schools. Hopkins in no way is a party school. Kids go to Hopkins not to escape mommy and daddy and have a license to party. Most Hopkins students are serious young scholars with a passion for knowledge. BUt I will say that JHU really needs to shake up their Financial aid department. My best friend at JHU had to transfer because they refused to up his aid even though he had document evidence that his family lost income. The director kept pushing him towards high interest loans that would have pushed him and his family to bankruptcy. The former head of FA that resigned was under investigation by the NY Attorney for taking bribes by certain banks to push kids towards their services. She was not the only one, many top universities were under investigation because they didn't know their FA directors were getting income under the table including Columbia Stanford UChicago NYU Duke MIT. I was lucky enough to be able to afford 4 years at JHU but I did have friends that grumbled about the lack of pity that the FA advisers had.</p>

<p>I would never think to hear that JHU would be labeled a party school. Actually, I hear that JHU grades are normal/deflated, versus ivy league inflation. Drinking happens - it's college - but I've never heard of any outrageous parties or crazy incidents. If anything, students are serious about their work/grades, sometimes too much so.</p>

<p>While I am frustrated with my financial aid experience, I don't think JHU is greedily trying to suck money out of people's pockets either. I do get a good amount of aid. My frustration stems from things not making sense or being inconsistent. </p>

<p>For instance, I had two different counselors this year. My former counselor gave me an estimate that meant there was no way I could afford JHU. And I couldn't transfer, given deadlines had passed. I completely panicked. Financial suicide panic is not what you need when finals roll around. When I switched counselors, my new counselor basically told me that the former one wasn't looking carefully at my situation and was just reading the number that the calculator spit back out. There was never any need for the panic.</p>

<p>Then someone on this site was asking about JHU financial aid award packages. I volunteered my family information and the resulting aid packages, and that's when I noticed the discrepancy. How come I had to pay (slightly) more despite my family's drastic income drop? I can afford this year, but what of following years, when financial need actually decreases with my brother out of college? Would the amount I need to pay skyrocket?</p>

<p>Then, I applied for a scholarship in April/May and was awarded an outside scholarship just recently. When I reported it to JHU, I was told my grant had been reduced by the scholarship amount. This was frustrating. What is the sense of a policy that gives no incentive to look for and apply for scholarships? It doesn't help the student, and if the student doesn't apply for scholarships, it doesn't help the college either.</p>

<p>But my counselor explained away the aid discrepancy today (I’ll leave it at: it’s a bit complicated and my situation probably won't apply to you) and was generous as to award me a grant given family circumstances. As for the scholarship issue: the policy is as I discovered it to be. If you win a scholarship, it reduces your grant by the amount of the scholarship.</p>