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  1. #1
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Student Financial Aid

    OK - It's STILL snowing, haven't been to work in 3 weeks, and I'm bored.

    I'm a student financial aid professional, and am open for FAFSA questions for the next few hours, so ask away!!

    For instance, did you know that if you have a child (or are a dependent student) at least the first $30,000 of income doesn't count toward determining your elelgiblity?
    Last edited by apclassic9; 01-10-10 at 07:00 AM.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

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    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    nothing??
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Fine, I'll play. Got me a 17 yr old HS senior who has already been accepted by a couple of uni's (and still being very heavily recruited by a crap load of others). Was employed, but no longer so; no idea when/if she will again.

    Luckily her grades (Honors) and ACT (33) pretty much qualify her for a full ride from her first choice of schools (according to them). She has not filled out a FAFSA before. Should we use the info from 2008 taxes, or just wait for the 2009 W-2's to come in before filing?
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    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    If total family income from 2008 is about the same as 2009, file the 2010-2011 with 2008 info, and then update it when you have your 2009 income taxes done. You can indicate that you have not yet filed - this will let the FA offices know that your info is an estimate which you will update later. Make sure you list ALL the schools your kid is thinking about - if you don't list the school, the school will not be able to access the aid report.

    Also, if your kid is even thinking about attending summer sessions, file the 2009-2010 FAFSA with the 2008 info. Summer sessions (May thru July) are usually paid from the prior year (which would be 2009-2010).

    Although Federal Pell Grants are now available for "more than and academic year", there is a technical glitch which prohibits a school from paying a student additional funds if the student has not COMPLETED an academic year. So if a student carries 6 credits in the summer, then 15 in the fall, the student has 21 credits - NOT the 24 required to dip into additional funding. Using the 2009-2010 grant year for any summer sessions prevents this from happening to an incoming freshman! 2009-2010 for THIS summer, 2010-2011 for Fall, Spring, and NEXT summer!
    Last edited by apclassic9; 01-10-10 at 05:12 PM.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  5. #5
    Look! My Spine! RubenX's Avatar
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    Aha! So, that's why my FIFA application it's 3 weeks late!

  6. #6
    Face Like A Car Crash Boresville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    Make sure you list ALL the schools your kid is thinking about - if you don't list the school, the school will not be able to access the aid report.
    Having just filled out my FAFSA about 20 minutes ago, I noticed that one can only list a maximum of 10 schools. If one is planning on applying to more than 10 schools, is editing/correcting one's file when necessary (e.g. when accepted by a school not on the initial list of 10) the only way to get around the current maximum?

    Basically, I'm casting my net far and wide and hate the idea of being late to the show with FA info if accepted to one of the schools I wasn't able to list.

  7. #7
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Are there any student loans that carry a lower interest rate than the fixed or floating rates we can get on an equity loan against our house? Assume household income of $150K + for this question.

    I'm assuming we're on our own on this.

  8. #8
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boresville View Post
    Having just filled out my FAFSA about 20 minutes ago, I noticed that one can only list a maximum of 10 schools. If one is planning on applying to more than 10 schools, is editing/correcting one's file when necessary (e.g. when accepted by a school not on the initial list of 10) the only way to get around the current maximum?

    Basically, I'm casting my net far and wide and hate the idea of being late to the show with FA info if accepted to one of the schools I wasn't able to list.
    yes - you can return to your processed application and edit/replace schools as you get responses from them. Additionally, your Student Aid Report will have a number on it - DRN #### ... this number, plus your last name, DOB & SSN will enable a school to access your information - you have to give the number to the school if you did not list the school on your FAFSA.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  9. #9
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    Are there any student loans that carry a lower interest rate than the fixed or floating rates we can get on an equity loan against our house? Assume household income of $150K + for this question.

    I'm assuming we're on our own on this.

    In your income bracket, a home equity loan would probably be your best bet. Those private student loans are NOT tax deductable, regardless of the interest rate, so when your income maxes you out of PLUS loans or Federal Family Education Loans or Perkins Loans, home equity is usually your best bet. Many colleges have private tuition and fee finance plans - some of these plans have little or no interest, but they are not long term loans - they merely spread each semester's cost out over the semester instead of the 1st day of class.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    If total family income from 2008 is about the same as 2009, file the 2010-2011 with 2008 info, and then update it when you have your 2009 income taxes done. You can indicate that you have not yet filed - this will let the FA offices know that your info is an estimate which you will update later. Make sure you list ALL the schools your kid is thinking about - if you don't list the school, the school will not be able to access the aid report.

    Also, if your kid is even thinking about attending summer sessions, file the 2009-2010 FAFSA with the 2008 info. Summer sessions (May thru July) are usually paid from the prior year (which would be 2009-2010).

    Although Federal Pell Grants are now available for "more than and academic year", there is a technical glitch which prohibits a school from paying a student additional funds if the student has not COMPLETED an academic year. So if a student carries 6 credits in the summer, then 15 in the fall, the student has 21 credits - NOT the 24 required to dip into additional funding. Using the 2009-2010 grant year for any summer sessions prevents this from happening to an incoming freshman! 2009-2010 for THIS summer, 2010-2011 for Fall, Spring, and NEXT summer!
    1. Income is projected to have increased 15-20k. Wife finally got a paying job in Oct.'08 and has stuck with it.
    2. Her first choice uses the trimester system. And summer term is tuition free to all students that meet the academic requirement, meaning good grades get rewarded.
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  11. #11
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    1. Income is projected to have increased 15-20k. Wife finally got a paying job in Oct.'08 and has stuck with it.
    2. Her first choice uses the trimester system. And summer term is tuition free to all students that meet the academic requirement, meaning good grades get rewarded.
    OK, then you can add in the extra $$ to your AGI and income earned from work, enter in 2008 taxes paid - I haven't looked at this year's student data entry yet, but there should be a tax estimator button you can click. It's always better to get your FA application in early, and then correct it to actual figures, than it is to wait.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  12. #12
    Senior Member azbackpackr's Avatar
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    I applied for my Pell grant late in 2009, and got only $550 for the spring semester. I can't remember last year's income, but I was in a 0 tax bracket, married filing jointly, disabled spouse, had one dependent, and we made less than $20,000. How poor do I need to be? Sheesh... My dependent daughter was getting a lot more Pell grant money than that--she graduated last year. I myself used to receive a lot more than that just to take only 2 classes at a community college a few years ago.

    Now I am to be a full-time online university student, at Northern AZ U. so why such a small grant? I was told it may have been because I applied for it so late in the year. I also wonder if it was because I had to file a 1040 instead of a 1040A in 2008, due to having $250 in 1099 income (I told that employer this year to NOT send me the 1099 since it is not required if you earn less than $600 on 1099s, so this year I can file the 1040A).

    I am really hoping you will tell me my grant was small because I filed so late in the year, and that I should be getting more for the 2010-2011 school year. This year my gross income is less than $16,000, not including hubby's disability, which is not taxable. Again, how flippin' poor do I have to be? This year I can't claim my daughter as a dependent, but am still in a 0 tax bracket, and can still claim EIC as well!

    As for this semester, I got a SMART grant and a perkins loan to make up the difference. The loan was a bit bigger than I really wanted it to be, but I went ahead and borrowed it.

    Thanks much and hope your weather warms up soon!
    Elizabeth

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    Senior Member FlatSix911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    OK - It's STILL snowing, haven't been to work in 3 weeks, and I'm bored.

    I'm a student financial aid professional, and am open for FAFSA questions for the next few hours, so ask away!!
    APclassic9, thanks for posting


    I have a son who is a HS senior and applying to a dozen schools that are all very selective on admissions.

    My wife has spoken with a number of advisors who have discouraged us from applying for financial aid.
    • What is the maximum income that would disqualify someone ... AGI above 200K+?
    • Are the college admissions really "need blind" when it comes to student selection?
    • Any other suggestions?
    Last edited by FlatSix911; 01-10-10 at 10:45 PM.
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  14. #14
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azbackpackr View Post
    I applied for my Pell grant late in 2009, and got only $550 for the spring semester. I can't remember last year's income, but I was in a 0 tax bracket, married filing jointly, disabled spouse, had one dependent, and we made less than $20,000. How poor do I need to be? Sheesh... My dependent daughter was getting a lot more Pell grant money than that--she graduated last year. I myself used to receive a lot more than that just to take only 2 classes at a community college a few years ago.

    Now I am to be a full-time online university student, at Northern AZ U. so why such a small grant? I was told it may have been because I applied for it so late in the year. I also wonder if it was because I had to file a 1040 instead of a 1040A in 2008, due to having $250 in 1099 income (I told that employer this year to NOT send me the 1099 since it is not required if you earn less than $600 on 1099s, so this year I can file the 1040A).

    I am really hoping you will tell me my grant was small because I filed so late in the year, and that I should be getting more for the 2010-2011 school year. This year my gross income is less than $16,000, not including hubby's disability, which is not taxable. Again, how flippin' poor do I have to be? This year I can't claim my daughter as a dependent, but am still in a 0 tax bracket, and can still claim EIC as well!

    As for this semester, I got a SMART grant and a perkins loan to make up the difference. The loan was a bit bigger than I really wanted it to be, but I went ahead and borrowed it.

    Thanks much and hope your weather warms up soon!
    Elizabeth

    Well, it's NOT warm, but I did manage to get over the hill & off to work today!! Anyway, to your question: Print your student aid report off of the net (if you don't have a copy) and look carefully at the untaxed income area. Did you, in addition to reporting your income from work, also report social security disability benefit payments? If so, you should not have done so. It is NOT too late to correct this for the 2009-2010 year. If you got $550 for the semester - were you attending school full time? Federal Pell Grants are based upon family income and size - so long as you file before the deadline, you get whatever you're eligible for. If you are concerned about your Spring term funding, I would suggest that you make an appointment with a FA counselor at your school, and make sure to bring all your 2008 income information with you.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  15. #15
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatSix911 View Post
    APclassic9, thanks for posting


    I have a son who is a HS senior and applying to a dozen schools that are all very selective on admissions.

    My wife has spoken with a number of advisors who have discouraged us from applying for financial aid.
    • What is the maximum income that would disqualify someone ... AGI above 200K+?
    • Are the college admissions really "need blind" when it comes to student selection?
    • Any other suggestions?
    The advisors your wife spoke to are probably on track - an AGI of $200K+ would not indicatge any need for financial assistance. That being said, not all financial aid is need based - scholarships abound, so I would suggest you sit down with your son (if he's anything like mine, THAT would be the hard part!) and complete the questionnaire on www.fastweb.com Fastweb is a free scholarship search. Make an e-mail account JUST for Fastweb, though, as it produces scads of junk. Buried in the contests are some actual scholarships that might be tied to family background, civic organizations, volunteerism, professional associations, etc. Also, do a thorough search of institutional aid at whichever colleges he is really seriously considering. Colleges sometimes have some very strange bequests lying around.... I recall one NE private uni that had a scholarship for a blind, left-handed flutist. Go figure!

    A decision was made sometime in the 1960's to segregate ability to pay from ability to attend. Prior to that point, a college considered your ability to pay for your education, thier ability to assist you in that endeavor, AND your intellect before accepting a student. Then there was a short period of "Admit/Deny" acceptance - admit based upon ability, but deny aid. As Federal and State Student assisitance became more widespread and well funded, colleges have dropped the ball on a students' ability to pay - they admit students based upon academic criteria and leave the student to figure out the financial end of things with the financial aid office and let the student determine whether to attend or not. So, yeah - privacy issues aside, colleges ARE need blind.

    One last suggestion - if your son actually knows what he wants to go to college for - now is the time to start searching out related internship programs in your area. For instance - if he wants to be a biologist, have him contact your local city, state, federal agencies that deal with biology & see what kind of internship programs they have. If he wants to be a CPA, same thing with say, private CPA firms or local government offices. Pay might be low, and he might start out at the bottom, but sometimes entities spot young talent & offer contracts - they'll pay for school in exchange for x number of years employment. Many small hospitals do this sort of thing for LPN and RN staff. Good luck!
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  16. #16
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Man, my kid will be Cal Poly (or maybe Stanford) class of 2032. Don't keep me up at night with thoughts of financial aid.
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    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
    Man, my kid will be Cal Poly (or maybe Stanford) class of 2032. Don't keep me up at night with thoughts of financial aid.
    OK - then start the kid up on one of those college savings plans NOW!! When your kid starts earning money, you can open a ROSS IRA for your kid and contribute the kids' earnings up to $4000. This is after tax income, which can be withdrawn without penalty for things like... EDUCATION.

    PS - Don't keep your kid up at night worrying about CalPoly (or maybe Stanford)!
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  18. #18
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    OK - then start the kid up on one of those college savings plans NOW!! When your kid starts earning money, you can open a ROSS IRA for your kid and contribute the kids' earnings up to $4000. This is after tax income, which can be withdrawn without penalty for things like... EDUCATION.

    PS - Don't keep your kid up at night worrying about CalPoly (or maybe Stanford)!
    Oh, of course I'd be happy if he went anywhere. I just have a certain loyalty to my alma mater and my employer.

    So hey, about the 529 accounts, do you need to have the baby before you can start one in his (okay, it's a boy) name?
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  19. #19
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that 529 accounts will deduct from your child's financial aid, as it counts as an asset in his or her name, which deducts more than an asset in your (parent) name. The system penalizes saving .

    I'll be going into my senior year next fall. The only income I earned in 2009 was from federal work study, a part of this year's financial aid. Will this raise my expected contribution at all?
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    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I've never used 529 accounts because the investment choices were far too limiting. The investing I've done with the money outside those accounts has produced returns FAR in excess of anything I could have ever gotten in a 529. I'm not a stock trader, but I'm an active investor who watches the markets daily. I don't just 'buy and hold'. I buy to invest but often stop my losses with stop loss orders which covers me when the market really tanks, then I can buy back in @ lower levels.

    I started paying attention after we got creamed (for the second time in ten years) over the past coupe of years. Since the lows, we're essentially back where we were at the peak, and I have no intention of surrendering most of those gains. All you really have to do is:

    A) Pay attention. Every day.

    B) DIVERSIFY

    C) NEVER feel bad about taking a gain on an investment, ANY gain, never beat yourself up over a stock you sell for a profit @ $180 that later goes to $210. Forget about it.

    D) NEVER hesitate to sell investments to preserve capital before you lose more of it.

    E) ALWAYS hold onto significant cash in your portfolio. For me, 'fully invested' typically means 15%+ in cash.

    When you invest in anything, don't ask yourself what the upside is. ASK YOURSELF WHAT THE DOWNSIDE IS and formulate a cover your ass strategy accordingly. Because the upside takes care of itself. The downside is your problem.

    At any rate, that's what I've learned after two years of doing some reading and watching CNBC and the markets most days. It does make sense and it has been working. Of course the market over the past year is making plenty of investors look like geniuses. But the principals above apply all the more in rocky markets.
    Last edited by patentcad; 01-11-10 at 03:25 PM.

  21. #21
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
    Oh, of course I'd be happy if he went anywhere. I just have a certain loyalty to my alma mater and my employer.

    So hey, about the 529 accounts, do you need to have the baby before you can start one in his (okay, it's a boy) name?
    ANY savings instrument needs a SSN these days... so, yeah, you have to wait until they are born.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  22. #22
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
    Keep in mind that 529 accounts will deduct from your child's financial aid, as it counts as an asset in his or her name, which deducts more than an asset in your (parent) name. The system penalizes saving .

    I'll be going into my senior year next fall. The only income I earned in 2009 was from federal work study, a part of this year's financial aid. Will this raise my expected contribution at all?
    After you put your tax info onto the FAFSA, there are a series of questions about other types of income. One of those questions pertains to FWS earnings - put the amount there, and the formula will offset your FWS earnings from taxable income. So, if that's all you had, it nets to zero.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  23. #23
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Very interesting.
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  24. #24
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    A quick note about reporting assetts on a financial aid application:

    1. When the form asks for "cash, savings, checking" you should report what you have on hand - if you got paid today and deposited your check but have not yet paid your bills, pay the bills, then answer the question. Think in terms of what you have in reserve rather than actual checking accoutn balance.
    2. When the form asks about investments, FORGET any retirement investment instruments you have - they don't count. No IRAs, no SEP, no 401K. FORGET your house and mobile toys. Think: rental property, actual investment accounts that you pay regular capital gains on, CDs, T-notes and the like. Report NET value. If you are under on an investment property, the value would be ZERO.
    3. When the form asks about business & farm: Live on the farm? do not report it. Report ownership in CORPORATE farms. Does your business employ less than 100 people? Do not count it. If you have to report anything here, report the net value of whatever share belongs to you - that's right - deduct whatever is owed.

    The formula allows for the protection of assetts at an increasing rate based upon the older parent's age, or the age of the student (if independent). A dependent student who has been saving for college should buy whatever it was they were saving for BEFORE filing the FAFSA. Get the new computer now, because 1/2 of whatever the student reports will be "held" against them if the parents are not poverty stricken.

    Most public colleges' FA offices will not venture to verify this type of information - unless the whole FAFSA is totally out of whack - but a well endowed private school WILL ask for documentation, because most of thier FA is generated from thier endowments rather than the US treasury.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  25. #25
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    To those seeking a more in depth understanding of how FAFSA arrives at your EFC, see the source:
    http://ifap.ed.gov/efcformulaguide/a...de20102011.pdf

    Here you'll see that an 20% of an asset's value is added to the EFC if it belongs to the student; only 12% of an asset in a parent's name is added to the EFC.

    A student may make up to $4500 dollars and not have it affect his or her EFC. 50% of every dollar made after $4500 will be "added" to the EFC. For parent's it's not so simple. As APclassic9 said, the first $30,000 of household income doesn't count. The rest is determined by a series of "allowances." The older the oldest parent is, the more asset is protected (doesn't contribute to EFC).


    This is only applicable if your college uses FAFSA. Some private colleges use CSS profile, which is much more complicated. Fortunately, my college, even though it's private, uses FAFSA
    C://dos
    C://dos.run
    run.dos.run

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