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Ds has good ACT scores, 1 year + college under belt- Dean's list. He's also white and we make great money. We also have had several disasters occur in life and don't have college funds for kids - of which we have 5. So, kids aren't eligible for need based assistance, and we don't have thousands to give them.

We know people making 1/3 of what we make and their kids go almost free. Ds can get opportunity scholarships but they are often 1/4- 1/3 tuition, leaving over $20K/ year. 

For now he works and pays state school tuition while living at home. He works and studies and works and studies. It's not terrible but it's a bit uninspiring. 

Just so frustrated for him- he is such a hard worker and feeling bad as he watches friend after friend leave for their cushy private school. 

 

 

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I feel for you, as we are practically in the same boat.  

 

As we look for potential schools for our youngest, our options are very limited by cost.  There are colleges I would love to see her at, but I can't justify a $40,000 tuition or more.  Our FAFSA expects us to pay about 1/3 of our income for our first......not.  I know my husband has a good job, and I am very grateful, but he doesn't make enough (in our eyes) to dole out 1/3 of it for college to one of our children.  I know it is our fault that we are limiting her, but it feels like the right thing to do in the long run.  

 

 

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We live there.  It is why our ds is attending UA on full scholarship instead of attending any of the other schools where he was accepted.  It is looking like our current sophomore will end up having to live at home and attend the local university.  All of the schools that offer her major are way outside of our budget and the local university has a brand new Russian dept.  

 

Oh well, I don't let it bother me.  It is what it is.  And, not attending a top school hasn't hampered my kids in any way.  And....hey, they graduate without debt b/c we won't let them attend anywhere that isn't cheap.   :)

 

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Is the cushy amenity he desires available locally?

 

We too limited the college to our definition of affordable. No reason to spend my retirement down when low cost options exist. Still not happy about the low spousal ira limit..I think I people who step out of the work place to parent should not be penalized so severely.

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I felt the same way when I worked in a juvenile prison and realized all those kids qualified for free university education and i worked my patootie just for an associate degree.

 

My dad was retired military, both parents were teachers, and we didn't qualify for assistance either. Whatever I earned one semester determined how many classes I took the next. I lived at home and it took 3 years for a two year degree. I worked and studied and worked and studied...

 

Everyone will not travel the same path. Try not to be bitter. I'm telling you, the juvenile prison education thing pissed me off because I worked hard to get what I had. But, it will pay off in the end.

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I feel for you. I benefited from need based aid when I went to college but now would be in the full pay category for my kids.   Between the ever increasing tuition costs and the favorable tax treatment of need based aid, the price discrimination can be brutal especially so at the more elite "need based aid only" schools. I don't have a problem with some financial aid, but the absurd sticker prices create too much of a differential for families.

 

Just to take an extreme example,  suppose you had a full pay family and a lower income family that has a net price of $10,000 after need based aid. Both send 3 children to elite "need based aid only" schools that cost about $60,000 a year. (see calculations below). You could think of it this way, the full pay family is being charged almost $900,000 more for the same product or, conversely, the lower income family is getting a tax free benefit of almost $900,000. I think this is excessive price discrimination. 

 

We happen to fall into the former full pay scenario, except while we can afford to send one child full pay, we definitely can't send 3 nor do I think it's worth $60,000 + after-tax for any college. So despite what people might think with our high income, we have to  limit our children's choices. We'll probably cross off all those elite "need based aid only" colleges (like the one I attended) and focus on the local state school or colleges that give merit aid. Nothing wrong with those choices but they are limited.

 

Full pay family

 

*  $60,000 a year x 4 = $240,000 after tax total

*  $240,000 total in after tax dollars ---> but In a 30% tax bracket you'd need to earn $340,000 to net that amount.

*  $340,000 x 3 children = $1,020,000

 

Lower income family (net price $10,000)

 

* $10,000 a year x 4 = $40,000 after tax total

* $40,000 total in after tax dollars ----> but in a 20% tax bracket you'd need to earn $50,000 to net that amount.

* $50,000 x 3 children = $150,000

 

Net Difference between 2 families ---> $1,020,000 - $150,000 = $870,000

 

 

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Yes, then when you realize the 'low income' family has two nontaxable pensions including medical care coming....while you are choosing between ensuring you have a retirement with medical care and helping the 'unneedy' child with college...gets interesting at the extended family holiday table. If I had a dollar for every time I have been sneered at for being so foolish as to work in private industry....

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We are also in the same boat.  Make too much to qualify for any aid, not enough to actually eat AND pay for college.  One child really has her eyes on a university with a particular degree program.  She will have to get scholarship money or take the CC route.  The money just isn't there.  Thankfully, we do have a decent CC that is free for the kids of mine that want to go there straight out of high school.  

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What gets me is that many people don't seem to understand this. The assumption is that smart kid means "you don't need to worry about college". Every time the conversation comes up, I get that statement. But I've run the calculators. I need to worry. Because there are far fewer full-ride scholarships out there than people seem to think, and a lot of smart middle class kids who NEED said scholarships to go anywhere but the closest state school or CC for financial reasons. 

 

 

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Net Difference between 2 families ---> $1,020,000 - $150,000 = $870,000

 

This is what I'm talking about. When dh was in private grad school (our choice, we've definitely paid)- he paid full price. Our Peruvian neighbor paid nothing. They now live in a house 3 x's more than what our house is worth and still continue to call asking for "support" when they can't afford whatever. 

 

The State system is fine from an ed pov (our State Senators all went through the system and they live in D.C. and all of that) but he just feels so --disconnected- kwim? 

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I'm trying to figure out how my hard working child is going to head to college in a few years (he's high school now).

 

I am thankful we would qualify for need based aid, especially since being homeless is a very real possibility soon (within 2-3 months or less)

 

I did not qualify for need based aid when I went to university, so I know the difficulty of being financially secure while not having college funds. But I'd prefer that to where I am presently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ymmv.

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I feel for all of you, and it is a comfort to know that there are some of you who understand the situation that my family faces. And I've said it before, I am so thankful for the folks on here who explained this mess to me early in the process.

 

PinkyandtheBrains, I am very sorry you face financial hardship. I do recognize your position is much worse than mine. However, I've been where you are and scratched and clawed to get out of that situation. Now when things are going well financially if I was to choose to pay what colleges demand I too could find myself homeless. It would take mortgaging my home, emptying savings and investments and spend 1/3 of what we earn for the next eight years, at which time my husband would be near retirement. 

 

It is as if the system wants us all to be penniless. State schools for my kids and that alone may cost $270,000. 

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We're there too. We have saved our kids entire lives for college, combine that with dh's income and it equals no need based aid here. However that savings will not pay for most colleges. Dd is planning to go to a very inexpensive State U. Ds is going to a very reasonably priced private college because there isn't a State U that fits his needs (multiple LDs made the right fit very important)

 

I have a sister who has never been professionally successful and really never tried. She is divorced and her dh lives out of state. Her dd got the same kind of merit aid ds qualified for, but then got lots of need based aid including a special scholarship for free room & board. She graduated from a private college that is more expensive than the one ds will attend with no debt. I'm glad, but I'm admittedly frustrated too.

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I think any discussion that focuses on what people with lower incomes receive in need based aid vs. what affluent families don't receive in need based aid sort of misses the point.  3/4+ of students receive financial aid and quite often people who expect to get no assistance get more than they would expect at larger, more expensive schools.  

 

That said the real problem is that college costs too much.  The full sticker price of college is ridiculously, insanely, unbelievably more expensive than it was and the cost increases continue to far outpace inflation.  What are we getting for these higher prices?  Not that much.  The whole way college is funded and paid for in this country needs to change.  

 

I fully expect that most all of the money I earn when my sons are in college will go to the college bursar's office, which is why we live off of my husband's job.  As my income increases (I work very PT and am adding more work a little at a time), I don't add that mentally to what we can afford to spend each month.   

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Well, but doesn't financial aid include unsecured loans?   Even though they classify it as financial aid, I don't.  

 

54% of financial aid is grants.  Subsidized, below market rate, loans make up another large chunk.  While student loans might not always be wise, there are certainly situations where it makes sense. 

 

Personally I think the demand side nature of student aid is part of what drives up the costs of college.  

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I'm trying to figure out how my hard working child is going to head to college in a few years (he's high school now).

 

I am thankful we would qualify for need based aid, especially since being homeless is a very real possibility soon (within 2-3 months or less)

 

I did not qualify for need based aid when I went to university, so I know the difficulty of being financially secure while not having college funds. But I'd prefer that to where I am presently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ymmv.

 

:grouphug: I hope things turn around for you soon.

 

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What gets me is that many people don't seem to understand this. The assumption is that smart kid means "you don't need to worry about college". Every time the conversation comes up, I get that statement. But I've run the calculators. I need to worry. Because there are far fewer full-ride scholarships out there than people seem to think, and a lot of smart middle class kids who NEED said scholarships to go anywhere but the closest state school or CC for financial reasons. 

 

The only way to get any aid is to become independent, which still isn't feasible for most. That is what upset me about our situation - military doesn't make much, yet it was too much for college help. Once I moved out the house, I no longer had to use my parent's income and qualified for a small grant. My two sisters and I had to pay our way through college.  Yet, if I only had committed a serious enough crime (but not too serious to get life in prison) when I was young, I'd have an expunged record and a free university education. Sweet, right? There is also a lot of misinformation about billions of scholarships out there, getting people's hopes up. You either have to be really rich or really poor, it seems like.

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That said the real problem is that college costs too much.  The full sticker price of college is ridiculously, insanely, unbelievably more expensive than it was and the cost increases continue to far outpace inflation.  What are we getting for these higher prices?  Not that much.  The whole way college is funded and paid for in this country needs to change.  

 

 

 

As someone who receives need based aid,  :iagree: . I am thankful for the aid I receive and this fall my son, however, I would trade it all for some of the life stability you all have. We had years of under and un employement followed by health issues, and marriage problems, then a divorce. 

 

High school was done at home because we couldn't afford outsourced classes, online classes, gas to drive for expensive extra curriculars (very few available in our town - would have to drive). The last few years of ds's education has been sacrificed at the expense of me keeping my scholarships. Because of those sacrifices my son will need a year or two at a regional school before he's a good candidate to transfer to his school of choice. Part of it is life, part of it was because of our situation of living in poverty. There is so much we couldn't do because of lack of funds, I've been in tears multiple times over the last few years. 

 

I get your frustration and one of my biggest fears was that exdh would actually start making a lot of money the year we needed to file the FAFSA. But if you have worked hard and have a stable life, hug your spouse, hug yourself, and be proud of the example you've set for your children. I'd like to see the college cost issue change sooner than later, perhaps an enterprising homeschooled child will find the solution. 

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For those who are worried that they "make too much", The College Solution is doing a free webinar on college costs Thursday. Even if you can't log in that day, she says she will email the link to the webinar to everyone who signs up.

 

http://www.thecollegesolution.com/be-my-guest-an-invitation/

 

Disclaimer: I am signed up for the paid seminar that she is hawking, I own her book, and I like her work. However, I have also followed her free materials for a while before paying for the paid class and have found them worthwhile.

 

Another great source for finding financial aid data is http://diycollegerankings.com/  She also does webinars, and also offers free resources and a well-researched blog. Michelle is a former homeschooler and takes a special interest in student athletes. Her prices for spreadsheets and lists are very reasonable.

 

While I think there are several misconceptions about aid in the thread so far, I totally agree with the pain that parents of larger families feel. If you have 5 kids, it doesn't seem right to pay "all that you can afford" for the first child, assuming that you'll get more aid for future kids. The aid formulas do expect that, but, as a parent, you can't see into the future and it doesn't seem fair to spend on kid #1 now assuming you'll qualify for all sorts of aid for the other kids later. Maybe you will and maybe you won't.

 

 

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As someone who receives need based aid,  :iagree: . I am thankful for the aid I receive and this fall my son, however, I would trade it all for some of the life stability you all have. We had years of under and un employement followed by health issues, and marriage problems, then a divorce. 

 

High school was done at home because we couldn't afford outsourced classes, online classes, gas to drive for expensive extra curriculars (very few available in our town - would have to drive). The last few years of ds's education has been sacrificed at the expense of me keeping my scholarships. Because of those sacrifices my son will need a year or two at a regional school before he's a good candidate to transfer to his school of choice. Part of it is life, part of it was because of our situation of living in poverty. There is so much we couldn't do because of lack of funds, I've been in tears multiple times over the last few years. 

 

I get your frustration and one of my biggest fears was that exdh would actually start making a lot of money the year we needed to file the FAFSA. But if you have worked hard and have a stable life, hug your spouse, hug yourself, and be proud of the example you've set for your children. I'd like to see the college cost issue change sooner than later, perhaps an enterprising homeschooled child will find the solution. 

 

:grouphug:

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As someone who receives need based aid,  :iagree: . I am thankful for the aid I receive and this fall my son, however, I would trade it all for some of the life stability you all have. We had years of under and un employement followed by health issues, and marriage problems, then a divorce. 

 

 

:iagree:  There are not enough likes for this.

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Same boat here. Frustrating to say the least. So, ds did outstanding on his Asvab and is headed to the Navy to get an education. Super proud, but very nervous as well.

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Same boat here. Frustrating to say the least. So, ds did outstanding on his Asvab and is headed to the Navy to get an education. Super proud, but very nervous as well.

 

Congrats to your son!

 

 

 

 

 

(I didn't weigh enough to get accepted...)

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I know many intelligent kids who are doing the 2 and 2: 2 years at community college with plans to finish 2 years at the state school. In Illinois, UIUC is expensive for a state school, and these students don't want to take on too much debt. A student could go to UWisconisn-Madison as an OOS student for a little bit more and if they're good students, Madison would probably give them a break, too.

 

Back in my day, I ran down to my state school in Montana, which was in my town, and easily paid for classes with my own money. It was no big deal. That is how it should be.

 

Yeah, it's getting crazier and crazier.

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Ds has good ACT scores, 1 year + college under belt- Dean's list. He's also white and we make great money. We also have had several disasters occur in life and don't have college funds for kids - of which we have 5. So, kids aren't eligible for need based assistance, and we don't have thousands to give them.

We know people making 1/3 of what we make and their kids go almost free. Ds can get opportunity scholarships but they are often 1/4- 1/3 tuition, leaving over $20K/ year. 

For now he works and pays state school tuition while living at home. He works and studies and works and studies. It's not terrible but it's a bit uninspiring. 

Just so frustrated for him- he is such a hard worker and feeling bad as he watches friend after friend leave for their cushy private school. 

 

I am not white and my mom was a nurse and that was my situation as well.

 

Similar stats, excellent scores, top in my class, etc. Only one sister. We were still "too rich" (on $60k/year, mom had paid only a few years on a mortgage). We both paid cash for CC and I took out minor loans in uni since my mom lived too far away to stay at her place. There was no non-white money from the federal government and all the under-represented scholarships required a level of woe is me that I, as a mixed race kid taught not to whine, could not muster. "What did you overcome?" I didn't realize that not being able to have new clothes or having to take care of myself while my mom worked nights was a hardship, so I didn't feel I had anything to write about. Or you had to represent your community. I thought, what, the community of alt-grunge socialist freaks? True, some of us were not white, but at the time, living where I did, "not-white" was not a part of my identity. And frankly, I know many other minorities in this position.

 

My kids will face the same thing. You can read about in my painfully whiny, poor-me bankruptcy thread, which I wouldn't recommend, though I appreciate everyone's being nice about it. :p

 

I'm surprised that your son's friends had such an easy way to get to go to private school. They are getting all need aid? Their parents must make extremely little money or they wrote the woe-is-me essay.

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As someone who receives need based aid,  :iagree: . I am thankful for the aid I receive and this fall my son, however, I would trade it all for some of the life stability you all have. We had years of under and un employement followed by health issues, and marriage problems, then a divorce. 

 

High school was done at home because we couldn't afford outsourced classes, online classes, gas to drive for expensive extra curriculars (very few available in our town - would have to drive). The last few years of ds's education has been sacrificed at the expense of me keeping my scholarships. Because of those sacrifices my son will need a year or two at a regional school before he's a good candidate to transfer to his school of choice. Part of it is life, part of it was because of our situation of living in poverty. There is so much we couldn't do because of lack of funds, I've been in tears multiple times over the last few years. 

 

I get your frustration and one of my biggest fears was that exdh would actually start making a lot of money the year we needed to file the FAFSA. But if you have worked hard and have a stable life, hug your spouse, hug yourself, and be proud of the example you've set for your children. I'd like to see the college cost issue change sooner than later, perhaps an enterprising homeschooled child will find the solution. 

 

:crying: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

I would agree that the cost of college is too high relatively speaking, and I am going to go out on a limb and say that perhaps expectations with regards to college educations have also become too high. I think that we have gone from the idea 30 years ago of "I would like to give my child a college education," to now with the goal of "I'd like to give my child the perfect college experience."  They are two different things. There seems to be a greater sense of entitlement to a pricey education even for lackluster students.

 

There is a big difference between aid for college as a means out of poverty and aid for college to attend the "right" school. I am not saying this right. If we continue to look for the "experience" versus the "education," the Italian leather lecture hall seats and private bathrooms in dorm rooms versus rather Spartan living conditions and lecture halls, with professors that are paid to teach, then the price tag will be high. Somehow, what college should be and should mean has become skewed.

 

 

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I'm surprised that your son's friends had such an easy way to get to go to private school. They are getting all need aid? Their parents must make extremely little money or they wrote the woe-is-me essay.

A number of elite private schools are offering significant pledges to graduate middle income and poor students with zero debt loads. Smith paid off my friend's loan- her mom made around $100k a year so not an impoverished family. Other schools are doing the same for the select few who can get in. Often students will get a lower net price from a school with a large endowment than they can get from a less competitive mid size private school or a top private school.

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A number of elite private schools are offering significant pledges to graduate middle income and poor students with zero debt loads. Smith paid off my friend's loan- her mom made around $100k a year so not an impoverished family. Other schools are doing the same for the select few who can get in. Often students will get a lower net price from a school with a large endowment than they can get from a less competitive mid size private school or a top private school.

 

Wow. That is good to know. They paid off the loan as a need-based payment? Was there service involved (medical, teaching, Peace Corps contract degree)? Or was that just-- "At Smith, $100k is poor, so here, we will pay your loan."

 

The schools with very large endowments seem few and far between. Maybe I'll find some and start talking them up at home. My stepdaughter is very bright and will be in school before our incomes get much higher.

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A number of elite private schools are offering significant pledges to graduate middle income and poor students with zero debt loads. Smith paid off my friend's loan- her mom made around $100k a year so not an impoverished family. Other schools are doing the same for the select few who can get in. Often students will get a lower net price from a school with a large endowment than they can get from a less competitive mid size private school or a top private school.

 

We were startled to find that the NPCs for several LACs were more promising than our local state university, which is our "safety."

 

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Wow. That is good to know. They paid off the loan as a need-based payment? Was there service involved (medical, teaching, Peace Corps contract degree)? Or was that just-- "At Smith, $100k is poor, so here, we will pay your loan."

 

The schools with very large endowments seem few and far between. Maybe I'll find some and start talking them up at home. My stepdaughter is very bright and will be in school before our incomes get much higher.

It was need based, not service based.

 

It's not that 100k is poor. It's that they know full well what people can afford and they have considerable financial resources.

 

I received a very large grant and scholarship package at a school of a similar caliber. A combination of family concerns and poverty related anxiety about incidental costs (ie getting home when the dorms closed) meant that I walked away from that for state school instead. I was definitely "undermatched" and probably quite foolish to not take the scholarship. I did not write a "woe is me" essay. I did however write a pretty powerful essay about breaking the cycle of generational poverty. I find your attitude about students who do get great aid packages to be rather galling honestly.

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Binip, you mentioned the woe-is-me essay.  Oldest dc had the opportunity to write one and refused.  There was a question on the college's scholarship application asking why additional consideration should be given.  Dc wasn't able to submit the application without putting something down, so wrote a mere two sentences restating personal goals that could be attained through attendance at this particular college.  It may very well stand out from the other applications simply because it's NOT asking for pity. I'm hoping they'll look at it and decide that a person with such specific goals is more likely to do well, thus making their investment pay off, but I'm not holding my breath.  I have the distinct impression they are looking for sob stories they can share in their newsletter. 

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We were startled to find that the NPCs for several LACs were more promising than our local state university, which is our "safety."

 

While I agree that college costs are out of control and the financial aid process is often unfair, I do think parents and students can benefit from carefully looking at all options and doing lots of research. As noted above, private LACs often give excellent aid to students, but sometimes they are dismissed as too expensive because the the sticker price is so much higher. My son was accepted to four top 25 LACS, only one of which had a policy of no merit aid. Scholarships from the other three cut our EFC in half. On the other hand, we nixed his applications to the two out of state public universities he was interested in after discovering they gave little to no merit aid to nonresidents. While they were more highly ranked than our in-state public universities, we did not feel the difference was great enough to make up for the much higher out of state tuition and lack of merit aid. He can always consider them again for graduate school.

 

And I thought of the hive this week when I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about lucrative scholarships to some excellent schools for golf caddies. Anyone with a junior high or early high school student looking for summer work might want to take a look.

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I understand your frustration over college costs.  When I first started looking into tuition for son's target schools i literally felt sick to my stomach!  He is a senior, heading to college this fall.  He ended up picking a school that will cost us quite a bit, although he did receive some merit and need based aid.

 

From what I have read online, an annual income of 80K seems to be a common cutoff point for receiving complete need based aid at schools that meet full need.

 

Our EFC (expected family contribution) plus 80K is very close to our annual income.  From reading online, this seems pretty common.  I have not discussed finances with many people though, so who knows, maybe we were just fortunate.

 

Honestly, this seems pretty just to me.  As long as we have kids in college, we will adjust our lifestyle down to the same level as if we were eligible for full need based aid.  We have the benefit of enjoying that income before and after the kids are done with college tuition costs.  We also have assests accumulted from years of our income level.   I would not want to earn less than we do in order to receive more need based aid.

 

I do wish your family well.  I know how hard financial set backs can be.  We have had some as well including lay offs and losses during financial crashes.  We just keep on trugging along.

 

 

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It was need based, not service based.

 

It's not that 100k is poor. It's that they know full well what people can afford and they have considerable financial resources.

 

I recieved a very large grant and scholarship package at a school of a similar caliber. A combination of family concerns and poverty related anxiety about incidental costs (ie getting home when the dorms closed) meant that I walked away from that for state school instead. I was definitely "undermatched" and probably quite foolish to not take the scholarship. I did not write a "woe is me" essay. I did however write a pretty powerful essay about breaking the cycle of generational poverty. I find your attitude about students who do get great aid packages to be rather galling honestly.

 

I volunteered in our high school's counseling department working with "first generation in college" kids. The counselors were frustrated because the school had a good system for identifying the kids and providing the help that got them accepted to colleges. The problem was that the system broke down from the acceptance point/high school graduation and actually getting the kids on campus for the first day of school. Incidental costs were a huge factor as was the student's working income being needed by the family. There were so many factors that as middle class volunteer counselors that we simply failed to foresee.

 

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It was need based, not service based.

 

It's not that 100k is poor. It's that they know full well what people can afford and they have considerable financial resources.

 

I recieved a very large grant and scholarship package at a school of a similar caliber. A combination of family concerns and poverty related anxiety about incidental costs (ie getting home when the dorms closed) meant that I walked away from that for state school instead. I was definitely "undermatched" and probably quite foolish to not take the scholarship. I did not write a "woe is me" essay. I did however write a pretty powerful essay about breaking the cycle of generational poverty. I find your attitude about students who do get great aid packages to be rather galling honestly.

 

We are, as usual, talking about totally different things.

 

I'm talking about ethnicity-based private scholarships when I talk about the "woe is me" prompt, particularly as I did not have a career goal I could write about at the time. (I wanted to study music and knew I'd never get a penny for that.)

 

You are talking about needs-based grants from a foundation or endowment fund. (Which, incidentally, I also got, and also walked away from--because it wasn't enough to make up for living out of state, so, likely a similar calculation on both of our parts.)

 

Generally, at least nowadays, one doesn't apply separately for all need based aid at a college. That's different.

 

 

I'm talking about my experience.

 

You are talking about your experience.

 

As I posted above, if having a $100k salary makes me needy at Smith, hot damn I need to get on some PhD applications.

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:crying: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

I would agree that the cost of college is too high relatively speaking, and I am going to go out on a limb and say that perhaps expectations with regards to college educations have also become too high. I think that we have gone from the idea 30 years ago of "I would like to give my child a college education," to now with the goal of "I'd like to give my child the perfect college experience." They are two different things. There seems to be a greater sense of entitlement to a pricey education even for lackluster students.

 

There is a big difference between aid for college as a means out of poverty and aid for college to attend the "right" school. I am not saying this right. If we continue to look for the "experience" versus the "education," the Italian leather lecture hall seats and private bathrooms in dorm rooms versus rather Spartan living conditions and lecture halls, with professors that are paid to teach, then the price tag will be high. Somehow, what college should be and should mean has become skewed.

 

 

I look at it more as the academic mismatch is too much. We see here middle class students that would benefit from deeper academic coursework are not applying to the schools that offer that level of academics, because of the price tag. Their parents are choosing between medical care, funding retirement, or paying for college, depending on age and how the dice rolled genetically for medical.it isnt about cush, but about appropriate level of academic challenge.
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Binip, you mentioned the woe-is-me essay.  Oldest dc had the opportunity to write one and refused.  There was a question on the college's scholarship application asking why additional consideration should be given.  Dc wasn't able to submit the application without putting something down, so wrote a mere two sentences restating personal goals that could be attained through attendance at this particular college.  It may very well stand out from the other applications simply because it's NOT asking for pity. I'm hoping they'll look at it and decide that a person with such specific goals is more likely to do well, thus making their investment pay off, but I'm not holding my breath.  I have the distinct impression they are looking for sob stories they can share in their newsletter. 

 

I did the same.

 

I did not get any additional considerations. I got only academic aid. It was enough, though. I'm happy with my degree.

 

I went to school with a boy who had asthma. His parents made twice what my mom made. They had a nice car, nice everything. He got additional hardship aid for a couple of years: white boy, private tutoring for the SAT. All I could think was, wow. I couldn't do that.

 

And yes, they are looking for inspirational stories, but honestly, there ARE people out there who truly, truly need additional consideration. Such as, my house burned down junior year when everyone was taking the SATs. Or, I was in foster care the first 10 years of my life and I know my academic scores aren't fantastic but I've improved.

 

Tragically, many of the neediest actually don't get to that point. 

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Honestly, this seems pretty just to me. As long as we have kids in college, we will adjust our lifestyle down to the same level as if we were eligible for full need based aid. We have the benefit of enjoying that income before and after the kids are done with college tuition costs. We also have assests accumulted from years of our income level. I would not want to earn less than we do in order to receive more need based aid.

 

I think the fact that many financial aid formulas assume you've been making the same income for many years and thus accumulated assets and had the ability to save based on that income is often problematic for many families. Due to my returning to work to support my husband as he went back to school to train for a new career, our income was four times greater my son's senior year of high school than it was his freshman year. It worked out o.k. for us because we only had one child, he got some great scholarships, we made him apply strategically, and I continued working even after my husband started his new career. But for many families, the assumption of similar income over a long time period is one of the many problems with financial aid formulas.
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I look at it more as the academic mismatch is too much. We see here middle class students that would benefit from deeper academic coursework are not applying to the schools that offer that level of academics, because of the price tag. Their parents are choosing between medical care, funding retirement, or paying for college, depending on age and how the dice rolled genetically for medical.it isnt about cush, but about appropriate level of academic challenge.

I hope these families are considering more than the price tag before they decide not to apply. There are lots of academically rigorous private schools out there with high sticker prices but excellent merit aid for strong students. Some of them may not be household names, but careful research can yield some great results.

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I hope these families are considering more than the price tag before they decide not to apply. There are lots of academically rigorous private schools out there with high sticker prices but excellent merit aid for strong students. Some of them may not be household names, but careful research can yield some great results.

I dont think people know of these schools. Where do you get an MIT type of engineering education with merit aid?

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Wow. That is good to know. They paid off the loan as a need-based payment? Was there service involved (medical, teaching, Peace Corps contract degree)? Or was that just-- "At Smith, $100k is poor, so here, we will pay your loan."

 

The schools with very large endowments seem few and far between. Maybe I'll find some and start talking them up at home. My stepdaughter is very bright and will be in school before our incomes get much higher.

 

The private schools that have to offer significant aid to families making 100K per year are actually not "few and far between". However, the ones that have a completely loan-free package probably are.

 

I've got a pretty good handle on what our parent contribution can be for my junior, but if a private school she likes offers a mix of grants and loans, I'm not sure how much I should advise/allow her to borrow. She's a future art major, so not going to transition quickly to a high paying career at graduation. If I insist on zero loans, it's likely to be a state university (but there are good ones in our state system).

 

Tuitiontracker.org is a good place to enter a school and get a rough idea of how generous it is at various income levels. However, all incomes above 110K are treated the same in the ipeds data on which the site is based, and the data is for the 2012-2013 school year (so add a few percentages to the numbers for what you might be paying today). For the most accurate guessimate, use the school's net price calculator.

 

I'll start with one of The College Solution's favorite schools for merit aid: Beloit College. If you enter it in tuition tracker and look at the purple line for income of 75000-110000, the average net price is about 23000. Students of all income levels have an average loan amount of 6900.

 

Now, one of the schools that has a reputation of offering stingy aid: NYU: The same income level has an almost 39,000 out of pocket cost and the student average loan amount is 8600.  The location and reputation of the school make it much more in demand and able to charge a much higher price.

 

Now, one of those impossible to get into schools with a huge endowment: Harvard. The same purple line is at 13,600 net price. The average loan amount is 6200.

 

As of 2012, Smith had a purple line at about a 25,000 net price, but the lowest average loan amount of the entire group at 4600. 

 

Depending on the school, the same student at the same income range owes very different amounts. Factors like endowment, supply and demand, and the school's own institutional priorities are coming into play as well. If you are "too well off" for financial aid at one place, that may not be true somewhere else.

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I dont think people know of these schools. Where do you get an MIT type of engineering education with merit aid?

As one option, you go to one of "The Colleges That Change Lives" for undergrad and then attend MIT or a similar school for free for grad school. I did it, as did many of my college classmates. And I know my alma mater has at least two graduate students at MIT right now.

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I think the fact that many financial aid formulas assume you've been making the same income for many years and thus accumulated assets and had the ability to save based on that income is often problematic for many families. Due to my returning to work to support my husband as he went back to school to train for a new career, our income was four times greater my son's senior year of high school than it was his freshman year. It worked out o.k. for us because we only had one child, he got some great scholarships, we made him apply strategically, and I continued working even after my husband started his new career. But for many families, the assumption of similar income over a long time period is one of the many problems with financial aid formulas.

I really hope they start to look at that a little differently in the next few years.  The children applying for college in the next decade are the ones whose parents were hammered by the recent recession.  So many people lost part or full salaries for several years and are just now back on a decent track.  I really hope colleges look more deeply at each family's story.

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I look at it more as the academic mismatch is too much. We see here middle class students that would benefit from deeper academic coursework are not applying to the schools that offer that level of academics, because of the price tag. Their parents are choosing between medical care, funding retirement, or paying for college, depending on age and how the dice rolled genetically for medical.it isnt about cush, but about appropriate level of academic challenge.

 

I agree with this to a certain extent. Dh and I look at the large state university that we graduated from. It has nearly 21,000 undergraduate students. Ds could go there, but we think given his personality and his level of drive, that he would thrive more at a smaller school with more faculty interaction.  But I also know that the somewhat hefty price tag at the state university is driven in no small part by all the perks that seem to be mandatory to the college experience for so many students now.  Better residences, better meal plans, and fancier lecture halls all have a price tag and someone has to pay it.

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As one option, you go to one of "The Colleges That Change Lives" for undergrad and then attend MIT or a similar school for free for grad school. I did it, as did many of my college classmates. And I know my alma mater has at least two graduate students at MIT right now.

 

As a homeschooling parent, I really like that book for showing me the possibilities for our son to continue his education along similar lines as what we had laid out as the goal for our high school program. He thrives on discussion and that is not going to happen in classes like dh and I experienced our freshman years with 200+ students in the auditorium.

 

The tuition prices for most of the schools still give me pause, but some of them easily pencil in at less than or equal to our state universities.

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