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Old 01-27-11, 08:27 AM   #1
apclassic9
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It's that time of year again - Student Financial Aid questions, anyone?

I am a financial aid professional - questions, anyone?
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Old 01-27-11, 11:36 AM   #2
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Can I still refile my FAFSA for 2010? When it was originally filed, I had one student. As of two weeks ago, I have two. This was unexpected.
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Old 01-27-11, 06:00 PM   #3
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Yes, you can update that information; I would suggest that you contact the FA Office at the 1st student's school to let them know that you will be updating this item, so that they can review the FA package. On student #2, simply report 2 in school. You can make 2010-2011 corrections through July 15th.
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Old 01-27-11, 06:12 PM   #4
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Gonna have to some checking on the timing, but...

I think that when we filed FAFSA for the current school year, I was working, my wife was workng, and the college bound was working. Now, I'm still working, the wife has been unemployed for almost 7 months, and the Freshman is in her second semester and currently working work study like 10 hours a week. Shouldn't the loss of income potentially increase any need-based assistance?

Note the Freshman is currently on a full ride academic, but is seriously considering transferring to another in-state school- if that school can come forth with as good as, if not better, FA package.
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Old 01-28-11, 02:45 AM   #5
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Why the hell does everyone I know get 2k back for FA when I
only get 500. My folks also make a lot less than these people.
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Old 01-28-11, 07:50 AM   #6
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no1mad - you can contact your student's FA Office and explain your situation and request a "Special Circumstance Review" of your child's award based upon these financial changes - the FA Office has the OPTION of updating your financial information using thier Professional Judgement. They don't HAVE to do this, and each school varies on what thier attitude is about it. You would need to write a letter outling the details - date of job loss, w-2's and unemployment benefits received for 2010, your w-2 for 2010. You might also take a look at the Student Aid Report - in the "school use only" area there is a block of columns that have calculation values. One of these valuses is "IPA": this is the Income Protection Allowance for your household size. Take 11% of it, and then compare that number to your actual medical expenses and insurance payments for the year. If your expenditres exceed the 11%, document all the expenses and mention that in your appeal letter as well. Keep in mind that, unless your child submits a written statement allowing the FA Office to share information with you, the parent, they cannot discuss your child with you.

M.Alex: My first question would be "why the hell do students compare financial aid packages?" I don't know all the other students, and what thier grades, scholarships, grants, and LOANS amount to. I don't know if they receive food stamps, WIC, or other income assistance. I don't know if they have children of their own, and if so, how many. All this determines a student's cost of attendance and their aid package.

If you are considered an "Independent Student", with no dependent children, the first $8500 or so of your income is discounted as the Income Protection Allowance. Everything ABOVE that amount is assessed at 50% toward your Family Contribution. So let's say you made $18500 in 2009; $8500 doesn't count, and 50% of the difference is 5000, which MIGHT get you $200 per semester in Pell Grant. The school would also deduct 5000 from the cost of attendance before looking at other aid sources to "package" you. Cost of attendance (tuition, fees, books, room & board, travel) less Family Contribution = NEED (ie, your financial aid package).

I would suggest you drop by the FA Office and have your situation explained to you - WARNING: DO NOT arrive and ask why "everyone else" gets more $$ than you! Ask them to review your situation with you because you really need more money.
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Old 01-28-11, 07:52 AM   #7
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M.Alex: Keep in mind that some students have academic scholarships that pay REALLY REALLY well..........
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Old 01-29-11, 08:30 AM   #8
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NOTE: One of the biggests (and costly) mistakes people make is including the value of thier home, business, and thier retirement plan value, in the assets & investments area. Primary residence IS NOT COUNTED - rental property and investment property, and vacations homes fall under the real-estate heading. Again, NOT the primary residence! NO IRA's, 401K's, SEP's!!! Anything retirement related is NOT an investment account. If you can add or subtract from a financial tool at any time for any reason without penalty, it's an investment - if there are time frame, age related or use related restrictions, it's a retirement account. Does your business have MORE than 100 employees? If the answer is "NO", FORGET ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS!!! Nevermind that your 6 person partnership grosses $2M annually - if you don't have 100 employees, you do nto report it!!
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Old 01-29-11, 10:22 AM   #9
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M.Alex: Keep in mind that some students have academic scholarships that pay REALLY REALLY well..........
Sometimes they forget they offered this and send a $14k bill to your student via email and it goes unnoticed for several weeks. That is, until they tack on late fees and refuse spring registration...

I could kick them in the knees
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Old 01-29-11, 03:51 PM   #10
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Sometimes they forget they offered this and send a $14k bill to your student via email and it goes unnoticed for several weeks. That is, until they tack on late fees and refuse spring registration...

I could kick them in the knees
That would be the business office - you (after kicking them in the knees...) should forward the e-mail to the financial aid office, and forward your scholarship letter to the Business Office, and then call to make sure someone is transmitting the proper information both ways!
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Old 01-31-11, 01:59 PM   #11
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I paid off my student loans in full last year, within a year of graduating. Does this have any effect when I file taxes (a 'thanks for not being a jackass' clause or anything)? It doesn't seem like it, but for some reason I have it in my head that since it was a student loan it's different. Ring any bells? Thanks.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:13 PM   #12
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NOTE: One of the biggests (and costly) mistakes people make is including the value of thier home, business, and thier retirement plan value, in the assets & investments area. Primary residence IS NOT COUNTED
that's good to know. Does the mortgage amount effect what you could receive in aid?
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Old 01-31-11, 02:19 PM   #13
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This is a great thread, thanks Apclassic9 for doing this!!!

The FAFSA is really straight forward, but the CSS Profile was so detailed and a bit confusing, I hope I didn't over report on it, I'll have to go back over it. It seemed like they wanted much more info than FAFSA.
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Old 01-31-11, 06:01 PM   #14
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This is a great thread, thanks Apclassic9 for doing this!!!

The FAFSA is really straight forward, but the CSS Profile was so detailed and a bit confusing, I hope I didn't over report on it, I'll have to go back over it. It seemed like they wanted much more info than FAFSA.

I agree!!!! Thank you!!!
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Old 01-31-11, 07:29 PM   #15
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We're getting ready to start the FAFSA for our current senior. I doubt we'll qualify for any need-based aid, as I can see any of these out of state schools figuring we could just pay it, but of course while the paper numbers look nice (and our retirement plans are working well) cash flow is not sufficient to cover these out of state rates. A couple of the schools came out with merit based scholarship aid in their acceptance offers, which level those schools to the equavilent of in state tuition and fees. How and when do we have this conversation with other schools that have accepted our child, but not yet offered any assistance. Is this something that's typically settled before the final decision of school is made, or after? As of now, we have many acceptances, but only a couple of "we can swing that" offers on the table.
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Old 02-01-11, 08:44 AM   #16
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I paid off my student loans in full last year, within a year of graduating. Does this have any effect when I file taxes (a 'thanks for not being a jackass' clause or anything)? It doesn't seem like it, but for some reason I have it in my head that since it was a student loan it's different. Ring any bells? Thanks.
You can deduct any interest you might have paid during the year - you should get a statement of that from your loan servicer.
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Old 02-01-11, 08:46 AM   #17
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that's good to know. Does the mortgage amount effect what you could receive in aid?
HOME mortgages do not effect FA beyond the fact that your interest paid will reduce your Adjusted Gross Income. Mortgages on INVERSTMENT property would be reflected in that amount reported, as you are supposed to report NET value (today's value, not what you paid, less any amounts owed).
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Old 02-01-11, 08:49 AM   #18
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We're getting ready to start the FAFSA for our current senior. I doubt we'll qualify for any need-based aid, as I can see any of these out of state schools figuring we could just pay it, but of course while the paper numbers look nice (and our retirement plans are working well) cash flow is not sufficient to cover these out of state rates. A couple of the schools came out with merit based scholarship aid in their acceptance offers, which level those schools to the equavilent of in state tuition and fees. How and when do we have this conversation with other schools that have accepted our child, but not yet offered any assistance. Is this something that's typically settled before the final decision of school is made, or after? As of now, we have many acceptances, but only a couple of "we can swing that" offers on the table.

You should contact the admissions office and let them know that your child's decision will be partially based upon the Financial Aid Awards offered. The FA Award letters usually come out sometime in April/May - usually well before any final answer is required from the school. Letting the school know that this aspect is really important might help, though!
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Old 02-01-11, 08:53 AM   #19
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This is a great thread, thanks Apclassic9 for doing this!!!

The FAFSA is really straight forward, but the CSS Profile was so detailed and a bit confusing, I hope I didn't over report on it, I'll have to go back over it. It seemed like they wanted much more info than FAFSA.
A CSS Profile is usually required from a school which hands out a LOT of institutional aid, so it is usually way more detailed than the FAFSA. The CSS requests all this infor so the school has a better picture of resources really available to the student - for instance, the FAFSA would request info from the parent who the student lives with, but, in cases of divorce, the non-custodial parent may well be required to provide significant post-secondary funding. That's not on the FAFSA. It also accounts for things like grandparent funded 529 accounts & such.

PS - the more accurate the initial data on the FAFSA is, the less work down the road for the FA Office, the student, and the parent!!
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