Navigating college affordability


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A web-adapted version of the popular parent group presentation that introduces college financial aid processes to families

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Navigating college affordability

  1. 1. Navigating College Affordability An Introduction to Financial Aid Beth Post-Lundquist, Director of Financial Aid, Skidmore College Dan Lundquist, Vice President for Enrollment, The Sage Colleges
  2. 2. Topics We Will Discuss An Approach to College Affordability  The Financial Fit The Financial Aid Application Process Types of Financial Aid How Financial Aid is Calculated  Net Price Calculators: great family tool! Completing the FAFSA and PROFILE Understanding Award Letters Additional Resources
  3. 3. College Affordability Easy? No… Do-able? Yes! College Is Financial Aid Is Important  A Vital Resource Expensive  At private four-year colleges, 89% of students received an An Investment average of $16,265  Earning: college graduates  at public four-year colleges earn approximately 76% of students received an $1,000,000 more over their average of $8,735 lifetime  A Part of the Answer  Security: college degree  Families have the primary holders have the lowest responsibility to provide a unemployment rate, twice as college education but there is “safe” as high school grads significant assistance available
  4. 4. The Importance of “Fit” With so many college options it is important to focus on “fit,” or comfort and connection:  Academic Fit  Social Fit  Financial Fit College is a student’s experience and, usually, a family commitment so balancing these factors, early, can be key to success Exploration, questioning, and honest conversations help this process
  5. 5. “Right Pricing”: Finding the Financial Fit  The Net Price Calculator can help  Ballpark your cost  Help shape the potential college list  Manage expectations  Target your cost  Private, merit  Find colleges where you are a star  Matching academic credentials to colleges’ profiles will help identify places that will offer non-need-based grants  Public, price  Many more affluent families – who might not qualify for need-based aid – consider public universities for their lower cost
  6. 6. Suggested Timeline“Staying Ahead of Deadlines Increases Options”
  7. 7. What is Financial Aid? Funds provided to students and families to help pay for postsecondary educational expenses Financial Aid Gift Aid Loan Aid Work AidGrants or scholarships Borrowed money Money earned as paid back with NOT PAID BACK payment for a job interest
  8. 8. Financial Aid Packages Each college Financial Aid Office will estimate your eligibility for Federal, State, and college aid, and they will award the maximum you qualify for  Often a combination of grants/loans/work Sources of financial aid:  Federal government  States  Colleges  Private sources (explore on your own) ;
  9. 9. Government Assistance Available ANNUAL ELIGIBILITY NAME SOURCE TYPE MAXIMUM CRITERIAPell Federal gift $5,550 EFC < $4,996TAP State gift $5,000 NYNTI < $80,000Subsidized loan Federal student loan $3,500 need & ½ time enrUnsubsidized loan Federal student loan $2,000 ½ time enrollmentPLUS Federal parent loan up to COA clear credit history"work study" Federal student work generally $2000 need/school policySupplemental Grant Federal gift $4,000 need/school policyPerkins Federal student loan $4,000 need/school policy Examples of the types of financial aid available and the eligibility requirements that schools will use to determine whether you qualify
  10. 10. How Financial Need is Calculated Cost of Attendance – Family Contribution = Financial Need
  11. 11. What is the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)? Amount family can reasonably be expected to contribute The EFC has two components  Parent contribution  Student contribution Calculated using data provided by families from the financial aid application materials by each institution  Recognizing larger responsibilities than an individual, the parent contribution is a smaller percentage of assets than the student’s
  12. 12. 4 yr 4 yr Community Public Private College Price $ 18,500 $ 58,000 $ 3,500- Family Contribution $ 9,000 $ 9,000 $ 9,000= Financial Need $ 9,500 $ 49,000 0
  13. 13. Exploring the Difference Between Price and Cost Public PrivateTop-line PRICE Price is $ 18,500 $ 58,000 - Family Contribution $ 9,000 $ 9,000 = Financial Need of $ 9,500 $ 49,000 Student Loan $ 3,500 $ 3,500 Work $ 2,000 $ 2,000 financial aid award TAP $ 500 $ 500 Grant $ 43,000 Total Aid $ 6,000 $ 49,000Bottom-line COST Net Price to the Family $18,000 $14,500after financial aid (Net Price = price – grants)
  14. 14. Exploring the Difference Between Price and Cost Public PrivateTop-line PRICE Price is $ 18,500 $ 58,000 - Family Contribution $ 9,000 $ 9,000 = Financial Need of $ 9,500 $ 49,000 Student Loan $ 3,500 $ 3,500 Work $ 2,000 $ 2,000 financial aid award TAP $ 500 $ 500 Grant $ 43,000 Total Aid $ 6,000 $ 49,000Bottom-line COST Net Price to the Family $18,000 $14,500after financial aid (Net Price = price – grants)
  15. 15. Exploring the Difference Between Price and Cost Public PrivateTop-line PRICE Price is $ 18,500 $ 58,000 PRICE - Family Contribution $ 9,000 $ 9,000 = Financial Need of $ 9,500 $ 49,000 Student Loan $ 3,500 $ 3,500 Work $ 2,000 $ 2,000 financial aid award TAP $ 500 $ 500 Grant $ 43,000 Total Aid $ 6,000 $ 49,000Bottom-line COST Net Price to the Family $18,000 $14,500 COSTafter financial aid (Net Price = price – grants)
  16. 16. Packaging Caveats We have chosen a typical New York public university, and it assumes they do not offer need-based grants (as was true when Beth was financial aid director at UAlbany) The private college example assumes the college meets 100% of need… not all do, nor is there any requirement that they do In both cases the yellow box (institutional grant and scholarship) is there to draw attention to the variability of individual institutions’ policies on need- and non-need-based gift aid After reviewing this illustration, we strongly suggest you “test drive” the Net Price Calculator at comparison colleges your child is interested in, that will give you the best insight into affordability or “Financial Fit”
  17. 17. Net Price Calculators All colleges that use Federal aid have a web-based Net Price calculator designed to give you an early estimated financial aid award amount  Estimates grants and scholarships for you  It may or may not include student loans and student employment opportunities Lets you get an idea of affordability before even applying for admission Search for Net Price Calculator on each college’s website  You may need to first calculate your Family Contribution, do so at and then enter EFC calculator into the search box This tool is a great help in exploring Financial Fit early
  18. 18. How and When to Apply FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid Profile – College Board (or search on College Board website “Profile”) Apply early = Deadlines  FAFSA – after January 1st, before earliest deadline  Profile – generally late fall
  19. 19. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) A standard form that collects demographic and financial information about the student and family May be filed electronically or using paper form  Available in English and Spanish Parent and student get PINs: File online: January 1, 2013 becomes available for new year
  20. 20. New York State Grants: TAP Good for NYS residents at NYS colleges Link to the TAP Application from the FAFSANew York State (NYS) Residents attending NYS schools will have theoption to link directly to the TAP application from the FAFSA submissionconfirmation page.  If you exited the FAFSA before selecting this option, you can complete the application after HESC receives your FAFSA data (three days). HESC will send you an email or postcard notifying you to complete the TAP application online if you did not select the FAFSA link to TAP on the Web. For more details and direct links
  21. 21. FAFSA Tips1. It is the STUDENT’S application, though a parent may becompleting it, so…  Don’t use parent social security # when it prompts you to enter “your social security number”  Don’t use parent marital status when it prompts you to enter “your marital status”2. Database matches are completed against otherFederal agencies to check for accuracy.  Social Security administration for name + social security number match  Homeland Security for citizenship status  Selective Service for registration status (if the student does not indicate they are female)
  22. 22. FAFSA Tips continued3. Divorced/separated/remarried families  Use the parent’s info that the student lived with most in past 12 months  Only one parent’s info reported UNLESS remarried4. Assets: report value at time of form completion  Do not include assets in Retirement Plans  Do not include value of home on FAFSA  529 plans are reported in parent’s name regardless if owned by student and/or parent  UGMA accounts are reported in student’s name
  23. 23. Special Circumstances No space to report on FAFSA  Employment/income changes  Health expenses, etc. Send explanation to financial aid office at each college College will review special circumstances  Request additional documentation  These decisions are final and cannot be appealed to U.S. Department of Education
  24. 24. Completing CSS Financial Aid PROFILE www.collegeboard.orgSome private colleges require the Profile: check the CSSlist (at or college’s websites Three years of income data instead of one Parent assets will include the family home, farm and small business Some expense questions not on FAFSA Some colleges will have specific, customized supplemental questions There is a section available to provide special circumstances information on the Profile
  25. 25. Award Decisions and Notifications Financial aid awards are sent with or shortly after the admission decision  Keep an eye out: it might be online or “hidden” in all the mail that arrives from colleges!  Read all information carefully Respond within 2 weeks if Early Decision applicant Respond by May 1st if Regular Decision applicant Compare offers: remember “Financial Fit” Uncertain? Contact the Financial Aid office. The process to ask for more assistance is called an appeal. We are here to help.
  26. 26. SUMMARY1) File the FAFSA during January (Check if Profile application is also required by college)2) Pay Attention to Requests for Additional Information from Colleges3) Expect to Receive the Admission & Financial Aid Decisions Near the End of March from Colleges4) Contact the Financial Aid Office if the Student Is Admitted BUT You Feel it Is Unaffordable5) Encourage Your Son/Daughter to Apply to a Variety of Types of Colleges (strive for best Academic & Social & Financial Fit)
  27. 27. Contact us: • Beth at • Dan at