Worried about FA....

<p>Okay, so I'm a bit worried about FA, to say the least. </p>

<p>I know Dartmouth launched its big FA initiative this year, but I am worried because I have received FA packages from other schools which would cause me to pay over $45K next year. I cannot afford this. My EFC is a little less than $18K but these schools are still not awarding me any aid. I'm extremely confused about the whole process, so if there is anyone out there who has been or is in a similar situation and know more than I do, please discuss this issue because I'm starting to worry about this.</p>

<p>I'm also pretty confused, because I filled out Dartmouth's Financial Aid Estimator, and I was satisfied with the outcome. But then after receiving my LL, I got a Tentative Financial Aid eligibility letter, and the parent contribution was MUCH higher. Like >$15,000 higher.</p>

<p>Keep in mind that the CSS Profile and FAFSA are a bit more in-depth. How was your FAFSA EFC compared to Dartmouth's expectation?</p>

<p>Dartmouth has always given me <em>significantly</em> more than what the FAFSA EFC suggests I should be receiving.</p>

<p>i am also confused. my FAFSA EFC, Dartmouth estimator, and collegeboard esimator were all around $27k but all the offers I have received for top level schools is around $41k EFC</p>


<p>The parental contribution from FAFSA was also very low-- much lower than Dartmouth's estimate.</p>

<p>I would contact financial aid then. If you look at Dartmouth's calendar, they even say that April-May is the time to contact them to get your financial aid award just right. Doing it now though may not work because I'm sure that they are finalizing packages for those of us getting big envelopes that turned in financial aid stuff too late to get any info with their likely.</p>

<p>I'm confused...I received a likely letter back on February 15th and I haven't heard ANYTHING from financial aid. Should I call them?</p>

<p>I believe that only the later cycles got financial aid info but I can't be sure. Because of personal problems, I didn't get my financial aid packet complete until just a couple of weeks ago. It seems likely though that the early LLs probably wouldn't have though.</p>

<p>Colbert, I did email them and they said they would perform another review of my need, and to just wait until April when I get the final letter. I guess I'll just wait and see.</p>

<p>And I got an early LL, and I did hear about FA.</p>

<p>You will receive your financial aid award with your official admission at the end of the month. Stay with me, this is going to be long.</p>

<p>Dartmouth uses a combination of both the federal and instututional methodologies.</p>

<p>From: Dartmouth Financial aid Handbook (pg. 9)</p>

<p><a href="http://www.dartmouth.edu/apply/pdfs/07-08_Student_Handbook.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.dartmouth.edu/apply/pdfs/07-08_Student_Handbook.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

Federal Methodology is used to determine eligibility for all federal funds, such as Federal Pell Grants, Federal Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG), Federal National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Stafford loans, Federal Perkins loans, and Federal Work-Study.</p>

<p>Sometimes families need more help…we may determine that due to certain circumstances not accounted for by the FAFSA, a family’s financial strength is different from that reflected by the Federal Methodology calculation. We use an Institutional Methodology and our professional judgment to determine eligibility for Dartmouth’s scholarship funds. To gain the additional information required to analyze each case, all first-time aid applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents must also file the CSS Profile.


<p>Two distinct formulas assess information reported in the aid application process. The traditional institutional methodology (IM), developed by the College Board and refined annually by economists and aid administrators, determines the expected family share of costs. IM is the dominant standard among selective national colleges. Most schools that use an institutional methodology to disburse their own funds use either the CSS profile or their own FA form.</p>

<p>The federal methodology (FM) through the filing of determines eligibility for federal aid. All schools require students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents to at minimum file the FAFSA if they are requesting FA. The only thing the FAFSA does is determine one's ability for federal aid, (pell grants, seog, stafford and perkins loans).</p>

<p>Differences between the IM and FM models include:</p>

<p>IM collects information on estimated academic year family income, medical expenses, elementary and secondary school tuition and unusual circumstances. FM omits these questions.</p>

<p>IM considers a fuller range of family asset information, while FM ignores assets of siblings, all assets of certain families with less than $50,000 of income, and both home and family farm equity.</p>

<p>FM defines income as the “adjusted gross income” on federal tax returns, plus various categories of untaxed income. IM includes in total income any paper depreciation, business, rental or capital losses which artificially reduce adjusted gross income.</p>

<p>FM does not assume a minimum student contribution to education; IM expects the student, as primary beneficiary of the education, to devote some time each year to earning money to pay for education.</p>

<p>FM ignores the noncustodial parent in cases of divorce or separation; IM expects parents to help pay for education, regardless of current marital status.</p>

<p>FM and IM apply different percentages to adjust the parental contribution when multiple siblings are simultaneously enrolled in college, and IM considers only siblings enrolled in undergraduate programs.</p>

<p>The IM expected family share represents a best estimate of a family’s capacity (relative to other families) to absorb, over time, the costs of education. It is not an assessment of cash on hand, a value judgment about how much a family should be able to use current income, or a measure of liquidity. The final determinations of demonstrated need and awards rest with the University and are based upon a uniform and consistent treatment of family circumstances.</p>

<p>Except in the most extraordinary circumstances, Colleges classifies incoming students as dependent upon parents for institutional aid purposes, even though some students may meet the federal definition of “independence.”</p>

<p>Students enrolling as dependent students are considered dependent throughout their undergraduate years when need for institutional scholarships is determined.</p>

<p>For institutional aid purposes a student may not “declare” independence due to attainment of legal age, internal family arrangements, marriage or family disagreements.</p>

<p>Keep in mind that Dartmouth calculates your financial aid using a combination of both the federal and institutional methodologies.</p>

<p>Dartmouth also states:</p>


<p>]If the contribution calculated using the federal need analysis is higher than Dartmouth's calculation, the higher figure must be used.</p>

<p>The Financial Aid Office at Dartmouth makes the final determination of the Parental Contribution and may compute a different figure than this estimator after reviewing all required application materials. In assessing a family's eligibility for aid, the Financial Aid Office will review the College Scholarship Service's PROFILE, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), copies of parent and student 2007 W-2 forms, and all pages and schedules of 2007 federal income tax returns (if appropriate, Business Supplements, business tax returns or the Noncustodial PROFILE application).


<p>If you are using the Dartmouth calculator, remember the answer you receive is only going to be as good as the information you put into the calculator.</p>

<p>There may be fluxuations in your package if you did not put in all of your information. When doing putting your information into the FA calculator, did you sit with your parents when inputting the information (as they would have a better handle on their financial situation)? I know in our experience the FA calculator was pretty on point regarding what our EFC would be.</p>

<p>For example: </p>

<p>Are your parents divorced? If yes, they will want to know the income and assets of both your custodial and non-custodial parents.</p>

<p>Do you have step-parents? If yes, they will want to know the income and the assets of your stepparents (which will be calculated in your EFC). For some families instead of using the income and assets of 2 people, they will be using the income/assets of 4 people.</p>

<p>Do your parents make contributions to a 401k, 403b or other retirement account? If yes, while the monies in that account are not included in your efc, the amount of money contributed to the accountin 2007 is added back to their income and is calculated to your EFC.</p>

<p>For example: </p>

<p>Your parents make 90,000 in 2007.<br>
They save 18% in a 401k/403 b ($16,200 before taxes) making their income $73,800, which on the surface, makes one think that they are under the 75k threshold for free tuition. However, the 16,200 is added back in to the families income as the college (not only Dartmouth, but any college) believes that some of these funds could be used to pay for your education.</p>

<p>Some families state that they have divorce/separation agreements stating that they only have to pay $X for college. Remember your EFC is based on what the college believes you can afford to pay, not how much you are willing to pay or what the court or other agreements say that you have to pay.</p>

<p>I do have a question about IM</p>

<p>Does it combine both households (in the case of non-custodial and custodial) or does it expect each parent to make a separate contribution? How would you input that into the Dartmouth Fin Aid calculator? Combine the households or do separate calculations for each?</p>

<p>If your parents are divorced/ separated each parent will have their own EFC and there will be a separate contribution.</p>

<p>you should do them separately.</p>

<p>i called dartmouth awhile ago to check if they had my complete fin aid app, & the lady said they did but they would prbly contact me later to ask me some questions about my paperwork. they still havent contacted me yet about fin aid since that phone call, so i dont really know whats going on. based on EFC & dartmouth's press releases about fa, i should be getting a lot, but you never really know how it'll all work out in practice</p>