Do we have to sell our house to pay for college?
Home value is not considered in calculations for federal financial aid. Colleges may take home equity into account when determining how much you are expected to contribute to college costs, but income is a far greater factor in this determination. No college will expect your parents to sell their house to pay for your education.
Can we negotiate with the financial aid office?
Many colleges will be sensitive to a family’s specific financial situation, especially if certain nondiscretionary costs, such as unusually high medical bills, have been overlooked. However, most colleges adhere to specific financial aid-award guidelines and will not adjust an award for a family that feels it got a better deal at another school.
If I apply for a loan, do I have to take it?
Families are not obligated to accept a low-interest loan if it is awarded to them. “In my opinion, everybody should apply for financial aid,” says Tally Hart, Director of Student Financial Aid at The Ohio State University. “Student loans are at all-time low interest rates.” She recommends applying and comparing the loan awards with other debt instruments and assets to determine the best financial deal.
If we saved money for college, can we still get financial aid?
Saving for college is always a good idea. Since most financial aid comes in the form of loans, the aid you are likely to receive will need to be repaid. Tucking away money could mean you have fewer loans to repay, and it won’t necessarily mean you’re not eligible for aid if you need it. A family’s share of college costs is calculated based mostly on income, not assets such as savings.
I'm not a straight “A” student, can I still get financial aid?
It’s true that many scholarships reward merit, but the vast majority of federal aid is based on financial need and does not even consider grades.
EMS College Planning Frequently Asked Questions
I heard college costs so much money? Is this true?
Despite the media hype about rising college costs, a college education is more affordable than most people think, especially when you consider college graduates earn an average of $1 million more over their careers than high-school graduates. The average yearly cost for tuition at a four-year public school in 2010-2011 is just $7,605. There are some expensive schools, but high tuition is not a requirement for a good education.
My parents make good money. Can we still qualify for financial aid?
Aid is intended to make a college education available for students of families in many financial situations. College financial aid administrators often take into account not only income, but also other family members in college, home mortgage costs, and other factors. Aid is awarded to many families with incomes they thought would disqualify them. You’d be surprised at how many families that make really decent incomes still apply for financial aid- a lot.
Is there less Financial Aid than there used to be?
In fact, student financial aid in 2010-2011 rose to a record level of more than $154 billion. Most students receive some form of aid. Less of this aid now comes in the form of grants, however; most aid is awarded through low-interest loans or institutional and other grants. You should consider carefully the financing packages you’ve been offered by each college to determine which makes the most financial sense.
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