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EFC - not fair

Dr. Donkey

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    Does anyone else feel that the EFC (expected family contribution) portion of determining aid is unfair? Anecdotally, it seems that most people I know in the process, even people with very affluent families, are not going to be receiving money from their parents for med school. They do not get help from their parents but their parents' wealth is considered nonetheless, therefore they get screwed in scholarships, grants, and institutional loans without the benefit of family help.

    I understand using disadvantaged background as a factor in admissions ("damn, you had a hard life, good job getting this far, we'll give you a little push to see that you get an acceptance), but basically everyone is going to graduate and make a good living, so why consider financial history? Shouldn't schools consider financial present only? I realize that there would be much less $ to give out per student, but isn't this only fair?

    (I would put up the smiley playing the violin myself, but I don't know how, so feel free to do it yourself).

    I'm rich biatch! (but not really)
     

    dnelsen

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      I will be interested to see how this whole FAFSA thing plays out as well. The thing that might screw me over is that they look at last year's tax return. Well I have been making good money working full time but as soon as school starts all of that money comes to a screeching halt. Wonder how they take that into account?
       
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      liverotcod

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        dnelsen said:
        I will be interested to see how this whole FAFSA thing plays out as well. The thing that might screw me over is that they look at last year's tax return. Well I have been making good money working full time but as soon as school starts all of that money comes to a screeching halt. Wonder how they take that into account?
        At a couple schools where I've interviewed, the financial aid person has specifically said that they look at projected income, not historical. They use the FAFSA as a starting point. UCincinnati was among those.

        I should think that every school would have to account for that problem.
         

        Dr. Donkey

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          Damn good point. I didn't start working till August so I'm in the reverse position of you. Does this mean that all the money I make beginning this year flies under the financial aid radar???

          dnelsen said:
          I will be interested to see how this whole FAFSA thing plays out as well. The thing that might screw me over is that they look at last year's tax return. Well I have been making good money working full time but as soon as school starts all of that money comes to a screeching halt. Wonder how they take that into account?
           

          Dr. Donkey

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            I think the only fair way to do this whole financial aid thing is to have big, burly Viking-looking Swedes turn everyone upside down and shake to see how much money comes out and base aid on that.
             

            PublicEnemy

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              EFC mattered for undergrad but does it really matter now? a lot of undergrad schools provide some grant based assistance along with federal loans with their financial aid packages, so EFC was important in determining that, but are med schools really giving out that much in grants and scholarships? most people are likely going to have to max out on federal loans and subsidize with private loans if necessary. from what i gather, most schools set you up with loan alternatives regardless of income background. you're not likely to get grant write-offs even if you don't have money upfront.
               

              WatchingWaiting

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                PublicEnemy said:
                EFC mattered for undergrad but does it really matter now? a lot of undergrad schools provide some grant based assistance along with federal loans with their financial aid packages, so EFC was important in determining that, but are med schools really giving out that much in grants and scholarships? most people are likely going to have to max out on federal loans and subsidize with private loans if necessary. from what i gather, most schools set you up with loan alternatives regardless of income background. you're not likely to get grant write-offs even if you don't have money upfront.

                It depends a lot on the school. At many of the private top-20 schools, students with a very low EFC get 40-60%, depending on how generous the school is, of their total costs paid for via grants. Obviously, that kind of benefit can't be given out to every applicant. Also, the EFC thing has a phased-in, phased-out unfairness property. Super-affluent parents will, in fact, generally pay for their kid's med school. There is an upper-middle-class group where the EFC formula comes up with a large parental contribution (and, hence, no grant support), but where the parents really aren't loaded enough to give $40-$60,000 a year for their progeny's med school. These are the poor students who end up having to take out $200,000 in loans to bankroll their education.
                 

                rambo

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                  Let's not forget about situations where the parents make a middle class salary, but are ridiculously indebted to the point where they owe more than they make in a year. They don't take that into account during EFC calculations.

                  Oh well, what can you do?
                   

                  Dr. Donkey

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                    What can you do??? WHAT CAN YOU DO?

                    The old Rambo I knew would grab his 50 millimeter round up an a$$ kicking posse and storm the Dept. of Education to demand change.

                    Note to Government: I am just kidding. Please do not send to Guantanamo Bay.

                    rambo said:
                    Let's not forget about situations where the parents make a middle class salary, but are ridiculously indebted to the point where they owe more than they make in a year. They don't take that into account during EFC calculations.

                    Oh well, what can you do?
                     

                    rambo

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                      Dr. Donkey said:
                      What can you do??? WHAT CAN YOU DO?

                      The old Rambo I knew would grab his 50 millimeter round up an a$$ kicking posse and storm the Dept. of Education to demand change.

                      Note to Government: I am just kidding. Please do not send to Guantanamo Bay.

                      The new Rambo is a teamster, and he doesn't work Monday evenings.
                       

                      VFrank

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                        WatchingWaiting said:
                        It depends a lot on the school. At many of the private top-20 schools, students with a very low EFC get 40-60%, depending on how generous the school is, of their total costs paid for via grants. Obviously, that kind of benefit can't be given out to every applicant. Also, the EFC thing has a phased-in, phased-out unfairness property. Super-affluent parents will, in fact, generally pay for their kid's med school. There is an upper-middle-class group where the EFC formula comes up with a large parental contribution (and, hence, no grant support), but where the parents really aren't loaded enough to give $40-$60,000 a year for their progeny's med school. These are the poor students who end up having to take out $200,000 in loans to bankroll their education.

                        This is going to be me. My parents made a $hittload of money last year, but it was all stock options that are gone (so they can't help, even if they wanted to). I wish there was a way to tell the financial aid people what your projected income will be for the upcoming year. Is there anyway to do that? Isn't there, like, a bubble I can fill in somewhere that says, "we had money last year, but there's NOTHING LEFT"?
                         

                        tigress

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                          well I'll jump on the feeling-sorry-for-myself bandwagon, too
                          those of us who are married still have to include our parents' incomes...doesn't matter if we have kids or anything, either
                          now how does that make sense? my husband and I will BOTH be in med school so we'll end up like $400,000 in debt
                           

                          DianaLynne

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                            I so seriously hate this part. I'd fill out every secondary again just to not have to deal with this stupid financial stuff. I swear, as soon as I have a practice I'm hiring someone to do all the money junk. Stupid money.

                            I've heard that if the parents are divorced, you can put the info of the one with the least. Anyone else hear that?
                             

                            twicetenturns

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                              EFC is a device that most school MUST overestimate to make their FA budget work. They don't have the grant/loan capital to cover everybody, and they understand that private loans will cover most folks' EFC. They don't make it part of the unit loan, because in some cases, families can cough this up. (Wish I had this kind'a cheese) Anyway its a reality of the system. Just don't think of it as supposed to come from your family. Rather, they see it more as supposed to come from you however you can muster it. (try asking mom and dad, who knows)
                               

                              pjm

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                                They do not get help from their parents but their parents' wealth is considered nonetheless
                                Parental wealth is not used to calculate the EFC. For any graduate or medical student, only your numbers count. The full formula is in this document:

                                http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/attachments/siteresources/EFC_Formula_Guide0405.pdf

                                Even with an EFC of 10K-20K, you can still qualify for the federal loan maximum if your school's finaid budget is very high. Budget - EFC = loans.

                                You only need your parental info for the institutional loans. Schools unfortunately assume that your parents will be kicking in. Most schools only want biological parental info, so if your mom divorced and remarried, your stepfather doesn't have to send his info.
                                 

                                MedicineBird

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                                  pjm said:
                                  Parental wealth is not used to calculate the EFC. For any graduate or medical student, only your numbers count. The full formula is in this document:

                                  http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/attachments/siteresources/EFC_Formula_Guide0405.pdf

                                  Even with an EFC of 10K-20K, you can still qualify for the federal loan maximum if your school's finaid budget is very high. Budget - EFC = loans.

                                  You only need your parental info for the institutional loans. Schools unfortunately assume that your parents will be kicking in. Most schools only want biological parental info, so if your mom divorced and remarried, your stepfather doesn't have to send his info.


                                  Not true -- they do consider the income of your parents new spouse for institutional loans/scholarships. It's all about that joint tax return.
                                   

                                  pjm

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                                    MedicineBird said:
                                    Not true -- they do consider the income of your parents new spouse for institutional loans/scholarships. It's all about that joint tax return.

                                    Even if the remarried parents file a joint tax return, schools that only consider biological parents will just take 50% and assume that's your mom or dad's share.

                                    Like I said, it depends on your school. I chose a school at random just now, and here's their policy: http://medicine.wustl.edu/~finaid/financing2005.htm

                                    WashUStLouis FinAid said:
                                    If an applicant's parents are separated or divorced, the financial information is required from both biological parents (excluding income and assets of their spouse, if they have have remarried)
                                     
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