Each school has its own formula to determine “ Expected Family Contribution ” toward paying tuition, fees and costs. In general, financial aid counselors expect parents to spend only 5.65 percent of their assets, after subtracting an “asset protection allowance” based on your age and income. They expect students to spend 35% of their savings each year with no asset protection allowance.
These rules are based upon federal rules and formulas (and subject to change), so you will probably pay approximately the same amount regardless of what schools you choose, after looking at each one’s aid package.
For example, if your “Expected Family Contribution” is $15,000 a year, you will not qualify for aid at a state school costing $14,000. But at a school costing $40,000, you may qualify for a $26,000 annual financial aid package.
Many students do not even consider private schools because they think they can’t afford them. But through grants, loans, and scholarships, the cost of a private education may actually be less than at a state-funded school.
If your child gets accepted to a private university, financial aid counselors will work with you to get scholarships and loans. As long as your child gets accepted, he or she does not have to be a super brain or athlete to qualify for help.
Every student is eligible to apply for financial aid. And don't forget, you can re-apply each year.
For lots more info on financial aid and application guidance, see www.finaid.org
Check out the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (www.nasfaa.org) for a summary of state savings plans, a guide to federal tax benefits for tuition and fees, and much more.
To apply for scholarships, check with your financial aid office and online at www.fastweb.com and www.scholarships.com.
Between tax breaks and financial aid, your child may just find that his or her dream school is within reach after all.
See what you learned.