dwilterd

Question about FAFSA, EFC, and merit aid

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dwilterd

Let's use some numbers just to make the question easier to understand.

Pretend numbers follow:
EFC: $10,000
Cost to attend college (tuition + room/board + fees) : $40,000
Merit award: $31,000
Total out of pocket: $9,000

In the above scenario, since the total remaining out of pocket is $1000 less than the expected family contribution (EFC), would that disqualify a student from receiving a Stafford loan? 

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the geographer

Aren't Stafford loans based on income? It's not something my dds qualified for so I have no idea on the answer.

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dwilterd

I found an answer to my question that sounds right. Apparently, any student who files a FAFSA is eligible for up to $5500 in unsubsidized Stafford loans regardless of EFC or merit aid. Of course, the total amount of merit aid/institutional aid/federal aid cannot exceed the cost of attendance (tuition, room/board, fees). 

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the geographer

I guess that's what we've got then. I didn't look at the name, just how much money they gave us and what our balance due would be. :girlblum: One thing to note is that freshmen can borrow less than upperclassmen. The amount of the loan you can get from any specific school will be part of the financial aid package you get after you apply and fill out the FAFSA.

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Mazurka
18 hours ago, dwilterd said:

I found an answer to my question that sounds right. Apparently, any student who files a FAFSA is eligible for up to $5500 in unsubsidized Stafford loans regardless of EFC or merit aid. Of course, the total amount of merit aid/institutional aid/federal aid cannot exceed the cost of attendance (tuition, room/board, fees). 

Which makes me wonder if I filled out a FAFSA when I went to grad school because I had a Stafford Loan, and I applied for it myself because I was 26. I just don't remember the big deal over the name  "FAFSA."  I mean, I never heard of it till I started homeschooling. You just applied for a loan. And it wasn't all complicated.  The whole process today just confuses me.  Of course college, even grad school, was much cheaper then. I think I got a couple  of thousand in loans per semester, and my parents gave me a couple thousand per semester, and then I got an assistantship which paid a small stipend for some work with a professor. I had a little saved because I had been working for three years, but not all that much. Oh, and I ran out of money my last semester and charged it on my credit card. I just remembered that.  I wish it weren't all so complicated and expensive today.  

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Hawkeyemom
38 minutes ago, Mazurka said:

Which makes me wonder if I filled out a FAFSA when I went to grad school because I had a Stafford Loan, and I applied for it myself because I was 26. I just don't remember the big deal over the name  "FAFSA."  I mean, I never heard of it till I started homeschooling. You just applied for a loan. And it wasn't all complicated.  The whole process today just confuses me.  Of course college, even grad school, was much cheaper then. I think I got a couple  of thousand in loans per semester, and my parents gave me a couple thousand per semester, and then I got an assistantship which paid a small stipend for some work with a professor. I had a little saved because I had been working for three years, but not all that much. Oh, and I ran out of money my last semester and charged it on my credit card. I just remembered that.  I wish it weren't all so complicated and expensive today.  

College got so expensive when govt. got involved to make it more "affordable."  

At his 80th bday party, my FIL told a story about how he paid for college.  He joined the army and got a small monthly salary.  He went to jump school because he received an additional $54 per month. In a few years, he had enough to pay for his $75/semester tuition at the U of IL.  He went on to get his PhD, all without loans or govt. help- just hard work.  And he supported a wife and had a couple of kids on his way to his degree!

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texasmomtothree
1 hour ago, Mazurka said:

Which makes me wonder if I filled out a FAFSA when I went to grad school because I had a Stafford Loan, and I applied for it myself because I was 26. I just don't remember the big deal over the name  "FAFSA."  I mean, I never heard of it till I started homeschooling. You just applied for a loan. And it wasn't all complicated.  The whole process today just confuses me.  Of course college, even grad school, was much cheaper then. I think I got a couple  of thousand in loans per semester, and my parents gave me a couple thousand per semester, and then I got an assistantship which paid a small stipend for some work with a professor. I had a little saved because I had been working for three years, but not all that much. Oh, and I ran out of money my last semester and charged it on my credit card. I just remembered that.  I wish it weren't all so complicated and expensive today.  

I don't think the FAFSA was that complicated. It took us about 30 minutes tops last fall to fill it out with our oldest. It's all online and now you can even import your W-2 info. into it if so desired so even less work. Not that we qualify for anything so it is pointless for us to fill it out other than it is required so we can get tuition credit for my husband working there but it really wasn't that big of a deal.

Now expensive is a whole other thing.....

Edited by texasmomtothree

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northwestmom
20 minutes ago, texasmomtothree said:

I don't think the FAFSA was that complicated. It took us about 30 minutes tops last fall to fill it out with our oldest. It's all online and now you can even import your W-2 info. into it if so desired so even less work. Not that we qualify for anything so it is pointless for us to fill it out other than it is required so we can get tuition credit for my husband working there but it really wasn't that big of a deal.

Now expensive is a whole other thing.....

The thing that bugs me is that it's so secret and you have no idea how the end results are reached from the FAFSA or what effect changes in income or number of dependents might make. And the parent-secured loans are new to me.

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the geographer
3 hours ago, Mazurka said:

Which makes me wonder if I filled out a FAFSA when I went to grad school because I had a Stafford Loan, and I applied for it myself because I was 26. I just don't remember the big deal over the name  "FAFSA."  I mean, I never heard of it till I started homeschooling. You just applied for a loan. And it wasn't all complicated.  The whole process today just confuses me.  Of course college, even grad school, was much cheaper then. I think I got a couple  of thousand in loans per semester, and my parents gave me a couple thousand per semester, and then I got an assistantship which paid a small stipend for some work with a professor. I had a little saved because I had been working for three years, but not all that much. Oh, and I ran out of money my last semester and charged it on my credit card. I just remembered that.  I wish it weren't all so complicated and expensive today.  

They must have had it, my mom filled one out for me when I went to college. Like Michelle said it's really not a big deal since it's online. You either need to have your tax return handy or you can import it from the IRS website.

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the geographer
1 hour ago, northwestmom said:

The thing that bugs me is that it's so secret and you have no idea how the end results are reached from the FAFSA or what effect changes in income or number of dependents might make. And the parent-secured loans are new to me.

I think part of it is that the Department of Ed does it's thing with the information that you input but then each college looks at it and makes their decision. Having two in college made no difference to Big Sis's financial aid. She got the same thing, exactly it seems to me, that she's gotten the last two years. I was at least hoping for some work-study money for her (not that she has much time to work) but no dice.

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Mazurka
12 hours ago, the geographer said:

 or you can import it from the IRS website.

See, this bothers me - the whole inter-connectedness of it all. Today, the FAFSA is used to determine how much a college will charge for tuition, and I don't think that was the case when I went to grad school. I applied for a loan, I got what was allowed, and I used that to pay toward my tuition, which was exactly what was published. I have a good article saved that talks about how colleges use your information to determine how much they will charge, which is different for each individual. I probably can't find it on my iPad, but I can link it when I get home.

We weren't going to fill out the FAFSA, because we wouldn't have received any benefit and would have had to divulge too much personal info to get nothing for it, but now our financial situation has changed so we probably will if any of the boys go to a 4-year college.  If we do it, I'm making my DH handle it. :-)

I've heard the common app is worse and wants even more detailed financial information.

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Mazurka
12 hours ago, dwilterd said:

I think this is the calculator I used to see what our approximate EFC will be. I know I read that money in a student's savings account will raise the EFC higher than if it's in the parent's savings account. 

And this is why my kids don't have a bank account, although they are both needing one.

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the geographer
29 minutes ago, Mazurka said:

See, this bothers me - the whole inter-connectedness of it all. Today, the FAFSA is used to determine how much a college will charge for tuition, and I don't think that was the case when I went to grad school. I applied for a loan, I got what was allowed, and I used that to pay toward my tuition, which was exactly what was published. I have a good article saved that talks about how colleges use your information to determine how much they will charge, which is different for each individual. I probably can't find it on my iPad, but I can link it when I get home.

We weren't going to fill out the FAFSA, because we wouldn't have received any benefit and would have had to divulge too much personal info to get nothing for it, but now our financial situation has changed so we probably will if any of the boys go to a 4-year college.  If we do it, I'm making my DH handle it. :-)

I've heard the common app is worse and wants even more detailed financial information.

Pretty much you have to fill out the FAFSA unless you're going to foot the entire bill yourself. For most colleges you have to do it if you want to be eligible for merit aid or any scholarships. Not sure about cc's. Since Little Sis was dual enrolled she couldn't apply for financial aid.

It's not the common app, they don't ask any financial questions. There's another form that some schools use in addition to the FAFSA, can't remember the name of it off hand, but I think it's for the more elite/top tier schools and yes, it's asks for a ton more financial information. Not too many schools use it though. 

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Mazurka
5 minutes ago, the geographer said:

Pretty much you have to fill out the FAFSA unless you're going to foot the entire bill yourself. For most colleges you have to do it if you want to be eligible for merit aid or any scholarships. Not sure about cc's. Since Little Sis was dual enrolled she couldn't apply for financial aid.

It's not the common app, they don't ask any financial questions. There's another form that some schools use in addition to the FAFSA, can't remember the name of it off hand, but I think it's for the more elite/top tier schools and yes, it's asks for a ton more financial information. Not too many schools use it though. 

Well, previously we were in the middle class category that would get no aid - older couple with DH at height of earning, within ten years of retirement. It wouldn't have been worth it for us to fill it out. That's not our situation any more, though.

Hmm, I thought it was the common app that asked the more invasive questions. Does anybody know the name of that other form? Apparently it takes into account all assets, not just income. We have very little ncome now but some significant assets, one being a piece of property we call the college fund. Which is kind of laughable because if we have to list it, it will be a wash and worthless to us.

More and more  I am liking the idea of two years of community college first,  and only two years of the expensive stuff. 

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dwilterd

I wonder if it could be the CSS profile?

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the geographer
10 minutes ago, dwilterd said:

I wonder if it could be the CSS profile?

Yes! That's what it is. We never ran into any colleges that use it. On the one hand I guess it would show a fuller financial picture and maybe get you more aid, but I have heard that it requires lots and lots of details and is a pain to fill out.

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the geographer
2 hours ago, Mazurka said:

Well, previously we were in the middle class category that would get no aid - older couple with DH at height of earning, within ten years of retirement. It wouldn't have been worth it for us to fill it out. That's not our situation any more, though.

Hmm, I thought it was the common app that asked the more invasive questions. Does anybody know the name of that other form? Apparently it takes into account all assets, not just income. We have very little ncome now but some significant assets, one being a piece of property we call the college fund. Which is kind of laughable because if we have to list it, it will be a wash and worthless to us.

More and more  I am liking the idea of two years of community college first,  and only two years of the expensive stuff. 

It would be worth it if that's the only way to get merit aid or college funded scholarships. That is our situation, falling into the middle class that gets little help, but if you don't fill it out you can't get anything. Big Sis got merit aid, Little Sis got merit aid and a bunch of scholarships but you have to check the FAFSA box in order to get it. 

I kind of wish Little Sis was doing the cc route first but I don't think she'd have the automatic transfer into the college she's going to and it's a perfect fit for her. Definitely look at the cc to four year route but if that isn't the path they take and want to go right to a four year school, look at all sorts of schools. You never know which will end up being the cheapest way to go. I think we're paying less for Big Sis to go to school in Maine than if she had stayed in state (of course we do have plane tickets or gas to pay for) and Little Sis is at an expensive private college, which after financial aid left us with the least amount to pay of the schools she applied to (which is still a lot). It's pretty crazy how the money works out and you can't really know until you apply, send in the FAFSA and the schools get back to you with their financial aid packages. 

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texasmomtothree
5 hours ago, Mazurka said:

See, this bothers me - the whole inter-connectedness of it all. Today, the FAFSA is used to determine how much a college will charge for tuition, and I don't think that was the case when I went to grad school. I applied for a loan, I got what was allowed, and I used that to pay toward my tuition, which was exactly what was published. I have a good article saved that talks about how colleges use your information to determine how much they will charge, which is different for each individual. I probably can't find it on my iPad, but I can link it when I get home.

We weren't going to fill out the FAFSA, because we wouldn't have received any benefit and would have had to divulge too much personal info to get nothing for it, but now our financial situation has changed so we probably will if any of the boys go to a 4-year college.  If we do it, I'm making my DH handle it. :-)

I've heard the common app is worse and wants even more detailed financial information.

I don't have much experience with different colleges (my ds only applied to the university my husband works at since he gets free tuition there) but in my limited experience the colleges don't use the FAFSA to decide different tuition rates. Everyone gets charged the same tuition rate and fees. Ds got his merit scholarship offer before he even filed the FAFSA. At this university, merit scholarships are given based on GPA and ACT/SAT scores. The university had a list of other scholarships posted and criteria for them and most of the scholarships were based on GPA, test scores, major, organizational involvement, alumni recommendations etc. 

 

As far as tons of personal info., the FAFSA isn't too bad but you do have to list ballpark figures on non-IRA or 401K investments. Most of our savings is in those types of things. We do have 2 rental properties which we had to claim the equity amount. If I remember correctly your personal home equity and car values were excluded from reportable income as well.

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Merry
On 7/25/2017 at 6:37 PM, northwestmom said:

The thing that bugs me is that it's so secret and you have no idea how the end results are reached from the FAFSA or what effect changes in income or number of dependents might make. And the parent-secured loans are new to me.

Actually, you can see exactly what will affect your EFC and how the results are reached by using a FAFSA worksheet. (And one of the biggest things that will affect your EFC is the money your children have.)

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Merry
9 hours ago, Mazurka said:

See, this bothers me - the whole inter-connectedness of it all. Today, the FAFSA is used to determine how much a college will charge for tuition, and I don't think that was the case when I went to grad school. I applied for a loan, I got what was allowed, and I used that to pay toward my tuition, which was exactly what was published. I have a good article saved that talks about how colleges use your information to determine how much they will charge, which is different for each individual.

I think the article is a bit misleading in the way they state things, but I'd agree the end result is that college costs different amounts for different students. It's always been that way though--some kids get scholarships, some get grants, some get loans... I filled out financial aid paperwork back in the 80's to get a Pell Grant (but college sure was cheaper then!) It wasn't a FAFSA, but I had to prove I was independent on my taxes & fill out all the info on my savings & what I made etc... (Now it's almost impossible for a student to be independent.)

 

4 hours ago, texasmomtothree said:

I don't have much experience with different colleges (my ds only applied to the university my husband works at since he gets free tuition there) but in my limited experience the colleges don't use the FAFSA to decide different tuition rates. Everyone gets charged the same tuition rate and fees. Ds got his merit scholarship offer before he even filed the FAFSA. At this university, merit scholarships are given based on GPA and ACT/SAT scores. The university had a list of other scholarships posted and criteria for them and most of the scholarships were based on GPA, test scores, major, organizational involvement, alumni recommendations etc. 

 

Yes, this exactly. The tuition price is advertised up front--and honestly, a lot of the scholarship information is too. Also, almost all schools we've looked at have a net price calculator you can use. You can put in the EFC from your FAFSA, your student's grades & test scores, and find out what your net price will be after merit scholarships and financial aid. 

It is a bit like shopping for a used car, especially at a private school. Your vehicle "trade-in" is your student's test scores and high school GPA. Some schools give out automatic discounts based just on this info--"President's Scholarship" "Dean's Scholarship" and so on. Finances don't play a role in these at all. (Sometimes you can even compete for additional merit awards that only some students get--purely on merit.) Then they'll give additional aid (which might be strictly financial or a combo of financial and merit requirements) in some cases. And then loans, grants etc... 

The better calculators will give you a summary page saying what kind of aid they mean (how much is merit, how much is grants, how much is loans...) You have to be careful on that part--a financial aid package could look great until you realize how much of it is made up of loans. I appreciate the schools that tell me what's what!

Anyway--you really can know a lot up front so there's not as much "hoping it works out" as it might seem, though there can be aid given that doesn't show up on the general calculator and website. 

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Hauxa Mom
12 hours ago, Merry said:

Actually, you can see exactly what will affect your EFC and how the results are reached by using a FAFSA worksheet. (And one of the biggest things that will affect your EFC is the money your children have.)

Re: the bolded. Does this include the money in 529 plans? Would the money we put into those be better off put elsewhere?

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Merry
23 minutes ago, Hauxa Mom said:

Re: the bolded. Does this include the money in 529 plans? Would the money we put into those be better off put elsewhere?

No, 529 plans are counted under the parents (lower percentage) instead of the kids. 

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Mazurka

I think there is a lot of unfairness in the system. As the article I linked points out, schools have the upper hand - they get all the information about you for their advantage. Seriously, they don't need to know what other schools you're applying to in order to determine appropriate financial aid. 

I really don't think the form was this invasive back when I was in school. And I'm sure I didn't fill out 10 pages! ( is it really 10 pages long, as the article indicates?)

There are some who believe the huge tuition increases are due to the increase in the federal loan program.  I'm not sure what I feel about that, but  I guess it is possible - if there is more money out there, the schools are going to make sure they get it.

From the article linked above, bolding mine.

Just like airlines*, colleges and universities engage in price discrimination. That is, they offer different prices to different people, discounting tuition in the form of “merit” scholarships. Two students sitting next to each other in a classroom may have paid vastly different sums for the same education. In the case of the airlines, paying a higher price gets you something extra—the freedom to change your mind and a preferred seat, for example. And you know what you are getting.

But if attractive candidates—with high ACT scores and high GPAs—are in the middle class and can, even with a stretch, pay the tuition, the likelihood of getting an aid offer isn’t very good. So, even though these discounts on tuition are sometimes called merit scholarships, merit may be less important than the ability of the family to pay the tuition.

They show that at one university, institutional aid is used disproportionately to attract students with specific characteristics such as race, religion, or out-of-state status. Their analysis shows that a non-white student will receive $2,240 dollars more on average than a white student.

---

One of my personal pet peeves is calling aid that has nothing to do with actual merit, a "merit" scholarship. This is just one way of favoring desired populations. If other businesses would pick and choose who they serve there would be protests in the street. Why do people tolerate it with universities? I guess because it's stealth discrimination.

Regardless, we will probably have to fill it out if and when either of my kids goes to a four year university. Actually, I should probably be pushing Will off to school a year early rather than keeping him at home an extra year, because right now our level of actual income would qualify us for much.

*ETA: I don't think comparing universities to airlines is a good comparison, because airlines don't discriminate based on race, or income or location, or other desired characteristics that universities use.

Edited by Mazurka

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Mazurka
22 hours ago, dwilterd said:

I wonder if it could be the CSS profile?

Yes! That's it. Can't hide assets as easily with that one. 

I wonder if our motor home would count as a second house or a vehicle. For tax purposes it is our second home, so I imagine it would have to be declared as such on any form.

 

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Mazurka
22 hours ago, the geographer said:

Yes! That's what it is. We never ran into any colleges that use it. On the one hand I guess it would show a fuller financial picture and maybe get you more aid, but I have heard that it requires lots and lots of details and is a pain to fill out.

The Profile sounds really discriminatory. Assets shouldn't determine cost of goods and services.

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dwilterd

Susan, have you actually looked at a specific university yet as the parent of a prospective student? You might be surprised at how much information you can find directly on their website. All but one (?) school dd17 is looking at has merit scholarships based solely on ACT/SAT scores and gpa. These do not change regardless of your race/religion/location. I know schools can have great leeway in distributing their own aid as they see fit, but there are plenty of awards out there that are not subjective in any way. I sometimes feel like you are just lumping all of higher ed together and seeing all the negatives and assuming the worst possible outcome for your boys but I think you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find when it becomes a real thing rather than just something you're looking at from a distance and based only on horror stories and negative articles. I'm only trying to give you some hope that maybe it isn't all as bad as it seems. Have things changed in a bad way since you went to college when it comes to paying for an education? No doubt about it! Is it still possible to go to college and not end up with loads of debt? Yep. Does that mean having to jump through more hoops than there used to be? Yep. Is it hopeless? Nope. :friends:

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Mazurka
19 minutes ago, dwilterd said:

Susan, have you actually looked at a specific university yet as the parent of a prospective student? You might be surprised at how much information you can find directly on their website. All but one (?) school dd17 is looking at has merit scholarships based solely on ACT/SAT scores and gpa. These do not change regardless of your race/religion/location. 

See, I don't believe it. They can say anything they want, but what happens behind closed doors is what matters - the off-the-record discussions. I've read a lot of articles through the years that detail how the college admission process favors and/or discriminates against various populations. I believe all of them do it, regardless of what they post on their websites. :-)

Here's one interesting article from the LA Times, highlighting how Asians are discriminated against in the application process for being too smart.  

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-adv-asian-race-tutoring-20150222-story.html

 

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Hauxa Mom
4 hours ago, Merry said:

No, 529 plans are counted under the parents (lower percentage) instead of the kids. 

Thank you!

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Merry
3 hours ago, dwilterd said:

Susan, have you actually looked at a specific university yet as the parent of a prospective student? You might be surprised at how much information you can find directly on their website. All but one (?) school dd17 is looking at has merit scholarships based solely on ACT/SAT scores and gpa. These do not change regardless of your race/religion/location. I know schools can have great leeway in distributing their own aid as they see fit, but there are plenty of awards out there that are not subjective in any way. 

Yes, this is true for most of the schools we have looked at as well--they make it pretty easy to see what your student automatically qualifies for (assuming they are admitted). Now, there can be additional scholarships that students can compete for (as well as additional grants based on income that one can apply for sometimes). A lot of times, the financial assistance (grants or scholarships) is actually through a separate foundation that isn't run by the same people as the school. That doesn't mean there's no politicking or discrimination--but at many schools, admissions and financial aid are not handled by the same institution. 

My kids' tuition bills are based on credit hours and any other fees that apply to certain classes etc... I see the full bill, just like everyone else. Any grants or scholarships are applied as payments toward that total on behalf of my kids, but since all of the grants and scholarships come from entities outside the school, the school has nothing to do with it. 

3 hours ago, dwilterd said:

Is it still possible to go to college and not end up with loads of debt? Yep. Does that mean having to jump through more hoops than there used to be? Yep. 

I don't know about this part though! (More hoops, yes!) Not everyone will earn enough scholarships or receive enough grant money to pay for school, and it simply isn't possible to work one's way through on minimum wage jobs the way it was when I went to school. Maybe if you can do online classes, but that's not always an effective way to learn for some students. This site says 60% of students have loans. I'm surprised it's not higher, truthfully. I do think the cost of education is pretty depressing, and I know it concerns my oldest a lot. 

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dwilterd
1 hour ago, Merry said:

Yes, this is true for most of the schools we have looked at as well--they make it pretty easy to see what your student automatically qualifies for (assuming they are admitted). Now, there can be additional scholarships that students can compete for (as well as additional grants based on income that one can apply for sometimes). A lot of times, the financial assistance (grants or scholarships) is actually through a separate foundation that isn't run by the same people as the school. That doesn't mean there's no politicking or discrimination--but at many schools, admissions and financial aid are not handled by the same institution. 

My kids' tuition bills are based on credit hours and any other fees that apply to certain classes etc... I see the full bill, just like everyone else. Any grants or scholarships are applied as payments toward that total on behalf of my kids, but since all of the grants and scholarships come from entities outside the school, the school has nothing to do with it. 

I don't know about this part though! (More hoops, yes!) Not everyone will earn enough scholarships or receive enough grant money to pay for school, and it simply isn't possible to work one's way through on minimum wage jobs the way it was when I went to school. Maybe if you can do online classes, but that's not always an effective way to learn for some students. This site says 60% of students have loans. I'm surprised it's not higher, truthfully. I do think the cost of education is pretty depressing, and I know it concerns my oldest a lot. 

Well, there were some qualifiers in what I said "possible" and "loads of debt" (which is entirely subjective and relative). There are ways to do it that are cheaper than other ways (starting at a CC and transferring to a university, for example - or living at home and commuting to the local university vs. going out of state). Most students will graduate with some debt, for sure. For sure, not all students can afford to go period. What I'm meaning to say is that there are some very expensive ways to do school and some ways that are less expensive. 

ETA: You are right though, college is crazy expensive and even with some great scholarships likely coming dd17's way it's still going to be incredibly difficult for her to get through financially. Part of this stems from the fact that she's being pretty picky about where she wants to go. If she were more open to state universities (and I'm not suggesting she ought to be), she could likely attend college for significantly less money. 

Edited by dwilterd
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the geographer
1 hour ago, dwilterd said:

 

ETA: You are right though, college is crazy expensive and even with some great scholarships likely coming dd17's way it's still going to be incredibly difficult for her to get through financially. Part of this stems from the fact that she's being pretty picky about where she wants to go. If she were more open to state universities (and I'm not suggesting she ought to be), she could likely attend college for significantly less money

This is not necessarily true. Little Sis applied to two public schools and two private schools. After she got the financial aid packages, which included merit scholarships, other scholarships, and loans (I don't really count work study since it doesn't help with tuition/ r&b) the amount we were expected to come up with was the smallest for the most expensive private school. I don't remember off hand how they all stacked up but I do know one of the public schools was the most expensive.

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Merry
2 hours ago, dwilterd said:

Well, there were some qualifiers in what I said "possible" and "loads of debt" (which is entirely subjective and relative). There are ways to do it that are cheaper than other ways (starting at a CC and transferring to a university, for example - or living at home and commuting to the local university vs. going out of state). Most students will graduate with some debt, for sure. For sure, not all students can afford to go period. What I'm meaning to say is that there are some very expensive ways to do school and some ways that are less expensive. 

ETA: You are right though, college is crazy expensive and even with some great scholarships likely coming dd17's way it's still going to be incredibly difficult for her to get through financially. Part of this stems from the fact that she's being pretty picky about where she wants to go. If she were more open to state universities (and I'm not suggesting she ought to be), she could likely attend college for significantly less money. 

Even at our state schools, it's hard to go for less than $20,000 for tuition, room & board (plus books, plus travel--we don't have a 4-year state school closer than a 1.5 hour drive)--and several state schools are closer to 30! It's crazy! And if you have a student who might not be able to finish in 4 years...oy. We're starting at CC and transferring, and even at that, I'll be ever so thankful if they come away with less than $20K in debt (and that's still "loads" to me!) I get that it's not what it could be--I just think the cheapest possible option (barring completing a degree online which definitely isn't a good fit for oldest, and probably not for youngest) is still so far out of reach. 

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dwilterd
25 minutes ago, the geographer said:

This is not necessarily true. Little Sis applied to two public schools and two private schools. After she got the financial aid packages, which included merit scholarships, other scholarships, and loans (I don't really count work study since it doesn't help with tuition/ r&b) the amount we were expected to come up with was the smallest for the most expensive private school. I don't remember off hand how they all stacked up but I do know one of the public schools was the most expensive.

With that particular comment I was speaking only about MY daughter's situation, not meaning to speak globally. 

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dwilterd

Well, I just found out one of the colleges Dd applied to (Dordt College) does require an additional form for financial aid. Their form includes things like "current value of your home" (would we have to pay for an official assessment??) and "amount remaining on your mortgage" or something to that effect. Everyone is required to file it, unlike at some schools where they just leave the door open to request additional information after reviewing the FAFSA. Most of the schools she is applying to use only the FAFSA for determining aid eligibility. 

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texasmomtothree
19 minutes ago, dwilterd said:

Well, I just found out one of the colleges Dd applied to (Dordt College) does require an additional form for financial aid. Their form includes things like "current value of your home" (would we have to pay for an official assessment??) and "amount remaining on your mortgage" or something to that effect. Everyone is required to file it, unlike at some schools where they just leave the door open to request additional information after reviewing the FAFSA. Most of the schools she is applying to use only the FAFSA for determining aid eligibility. 

Interesting! I would think you could just put down the property value from your property tax assessment for the "current value of your home".

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the geographer
31 minutes ago, dwilterd said:

Well, I just found out one of the colleges Dd applied to (Dordt College) does require an additional form for financial aid. Their form includes things like "current value of your home" (would we have to pay for an official assessment??) and "amount remaining on your mortgage" or something to that effect. Everyone is required to file it, unlike at some schools where they just leave the door open to request additional information after reviewing the FAFSA. Most of the schools she is applying to use only the FAFSA for determining aid eligibility. 

I'd either use the value from your property taxes or the Zillow value.

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Debbie in Bailey
On 7/25/2017 at 5:37 PM, northwestmom said:

The thing that bugs me is that it's so secret and you have no idea how the end results are reached from the FAFSA or what effect changes in income or number of dependents might make. And the parent-secured loans are new to me.

It's not secret.  You can figure out your own EFC before ever filling out the FAFSA.  You can see how all your numbers go into the formula and how one thing changes another.

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/2017-18-efc-formula.pdf

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Moxie1

I am just so glad that dd and dh did all this work for college.

Grad school for her is much cheaper out of pocket - and without loans.  With lots of work she found full tuition and a stipend.  We still have to supplement.  Not enough for food and housing.

 

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northwestmom
3 hours ago, Debbie in Bailey said:

It's not secret.  You can figure out your own EFC before ever filling out the FAFSA.  You can see how all your numbers go into the formula and how one thing changes another.

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/2017-18-efc-formula.pdf

 

On 7/26/2017 at 4:41 PM, Merry said:

Actually, you can see exactly what will affect your EFC and how the results are reached by using a FAFSA worksheet. (And one of the biggest things that will affect your EFC is the money your children have.)

Wow, thanks. If I ever have another going to college I'll make use of this.

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the geographer

The real unknown is scholarship money. Little Sis received a lot, which made the private college doable, and less than the public schools.

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