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Need advice on whether to put parents on FAFSA

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by SMW, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    I'm pulling these quotes out of another thread, in which my cluelessness about FAFSA was interfering with "old man trying to become MD" getting his questions answered. Cobragirl had some very interesting input, and I was just wondering what others know about the pros and cons of listing one's parents.

     
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  3. ckent

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    I would call the financial aid office to hear it from the horse's mouth but I can tell you that you are probably better off putting down your parent's info. Based on the schools that I know about, if they want your parents info but don't get it, they will penalize you so that you have to borrow the maximum amount or get the least amount in grants, if they don't need your parents info then they won't look at it so it waon't matter. I would be pressuring your parents to be filing their income taxes right about now if I were you.
     
  4. Geoffro

    Geoffro Junior Member
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  5. freshity

    freshity Senior Member
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    geoffro, i'm not sure of your age, but for several schools that i applied to (yale, stanford, ucsf), being thirty or over meant you no longer need to submit your parents info. i just wonder if you might qualify since you'd said you've been on your own for 15 yrs. depending on where you go, make sure you ask if there's an age of parental independence, because they don't always advertise it. good luck!
     
  6. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  7. vyc

    vyc Senior Member
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    as far as i know, you HAVE to put your parents info on the FAFSA. unless you're married, in which case you need to put your spouse's and yours.

    also, don't necessarily wait until you get accepted, to start asking about their financial aid procedure... many schools (like Dartmouth, for example) want you to apply ASAP for financial aid, even if that means submitting the forms before you know the school's decision.
     
  8. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  9. lilycat

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    Okay, here's the deal:

    You don't have to put your parents' info. on the FAFSA, ie, you're not required to. But, it is very strongly suggested to. For some reason, only those students who are starting grad programs in the health sciences need to have parental info. in order to be considered for a variety of grant programs, scholarships, etc. So, YES -- PUT YOUR PARENTS' INFO ON YOUR FAFSA. This is totally regardless of your age, or how long you have been independent of your parents, or whether or not they are going to contribute towards your education. If you want to be considered for all the possible money that's out there, you need to do it.

    One interesting thing my Financial aid director just told me -- the older your parents are, the more their income is "protected," and the lower the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is. The assumption is that your parents need more of their income to save as they get closer to retirement.

    As for the $38,500, that's the maximum that you can borrow in Stafford loans per year. There's also a lifetime maximum (ie, if you borrowed in undergrad), but I forget what exactly it is.

    As for "qualifying" for a subsidized Stafford loan, I wouldn't worry about it too much -- most students who apply seem to get it, especially at this stage of the game.

    Finally, I know it's sort of unrelated to the original question, but also keep in mind that your FAO pretty much sets the upper limit on how much you can borrow each year. It's nearly impossible to borrow beyond the amount set by your school, even from private lenders -- I'm only aware of one who will do it, and they charge absurdly high fees and interest.
     
  10. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Thanks, lilycat!! So as I understand you, I don't need to worry about cobragirl's suggestion that if I put my parents' info on FAFSA (and they're pretty well off), I won't qualify for as much money in subsidized loans (are those Stafford loans the only subsidized loans?) as if I'd left them off altogether? Your advice does seem to contradict hers in that regard.
     
  11. vyc

    vyc Senior Member
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  13. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    what your parents or spouse makes for income will not prevent you from getting aid. However it does prevent you from getting substidized loans. You can only get unsubstizized. The interest accumulates throughout the whole loan, for the length of the loan starting from the day you get the money.

    Case in point... My husband makes a large salary, but losing my income when I returned to school caused me to have to take out federal loans for undergraduate classes. They based my loans on my husband's salary and only gave me unsubstidized. I already owe $4000.00 in interest. That is the draw back.

    Even with his large salary I never had any trouble borrowing the money. So I wouldn't worry about your parent's income affecting you being able to borrow. It will just affect how the loan is processed and how much you will have to pay in interest and principle.
     
  14. scottie

    scottie Member
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    Definitely put your parents info on the FAFSA! To determine your eligibility for federal loans for professional school (undergrad is a totally different ballgame), the federal gov. only looks at your info even though your parents info is on the form. Unless you have been working full-time for quite awhile and saving a lot of money, everyone will be eligible for 8,500 in subsidized stafford loans, and 30,000 in unsubsidized. Your parents income will not affect your ability to borrow this money!

    But to received institutional loans, grants, and scholarships, many schools require parents info. So give it to them. It won't hurt you (you will get 0 if you don't put it down) and it may help.

    One thing I'm not sure about is how your spouse's income affects your ability to get financial aid. This is a very different situation than your parents income and I would speculate that your financial aid could decrease because of it.
     
  15. lilycat

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    I just wanted to echo everything Scottie said about Federal SUBSIDIZED loans. My info. is based on personal experience, and my dealings with 3 med schools last year about financial aid packages. Grad school is a different ballgame from undergrad -- basically everyone who applies for aid will get the full amount of subsidized Staffords and the full amount of unsubsidized Staffords per year -- bringing us to the full $38,500. At least in my conversations with these FAO's (before they had even seen my financial info. or my parents) these awards seemed standard, without regard to parents' income. So, go ahead and put your parents' info. down. If for some reason you are initially denied the full amount of subsidized Stafford money, I would just appeal it, and mention that you aren't getting the level of parental support projected in the EFC, or that you aren't getting any parental support (depending what your case is). Remember, it's your name on these loans, you're the one responsible for paying these back four years from now, not your parents, so you might as well try and get the best interest rate you can.
     
  16. ckent

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    You can call schools that you have not been accepted to and ask for financial aid info because the financial aid office does not have a list of who has been accepted or anything. If they won't answer your questions after you tell them you haven't been accepted yet, you can call back and tell them that you were accepted and that your name is John Doe, they won't know. I agree with what Lilycat was saying, you won't be penalized for having your parents info on your FASFA. The schools that I know about are at Duke, Yale, U Maryland.
     
  17. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Thanks again, everyone. :D Once again, I don't know what I would do without SDN!!! <img src="graemlins/clappy.gif" border="0" alt="[Clappy]" />
     
  18. so. cal gal

    so. cal gal Junior Member
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    I too echo SMW that SDN is an invaluable source of excellent advice and encouragement! :)

    On that note, I still have a question! :p

    THe 38,500 limit..what is that referring to? is that only for state subsidized loans or grants? If we need to borrow more, we can, from private sources right? cuz i think my tuition alone is gonna be 40K a year. Also, I'm a non-resident who will be attending a state school...will that matter when I am applying for financial aid?

    One last question about the fafsa forms..are these the only forms that we need to be filling out? The schools we've been accepted to should send those out soon right? or is it better to do it online? I feel like I'm being negligent about financial aid right now... is there something i should be doing ..some info i should be gathering or form i should be filing out or something?
     
  19. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    You should be filling out FAFSA now. That's what I'm doing and why I'm asking all these questions.
    Go to <a href="http://fafsa.ed.gov/index.htm" target="_blank">FAFSA on the Web</a> to do so. Apply for a PIN number right away, so you can apply in the first half of February.

    Medschools have other forms that may need to be filled out for their own grants/loans/scholarships.
     
  20. P60001

    P60001 Senior Member
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    I would just like to add my understanding of the fin. aid situation. Each school FAO will determine a cost of attendance amount. This is tuition, living, misc, etc. The FAFSA is used to determine your estimated family contribution. This usually is not much of a factor in what you qualify for unless you made quite a lot last year. For med school, parental info is required for most schools if you want to be considered for institutional grants/aid. You can submit w/o parental info, but you will not qualify for institutional help. I am an older student that has been independent for more that 10 years, and I am still required to submit parental info if I want access to institutional aid. As was mentioned, the age of your parents, number of family members in college, and other factor are calculated into the eic. Essentially, the parental info has little impact on what you qualify for. However, if you fail to included it you will not be considered for any institutional aid. It is your choice. For example, federal stafford loans max out at $38,500. If your school figures their financial aid package at $45,500, then you will need $7,000 in additional aid. If you gave parental info you might get grants of scholarships for the difference. However, if you did not provide the info you will be left taking out private loans. I would advise this as a last resort. Staffard loans are caped at 8.25%. Now they are at ~6.5%, but they cannot exceed that 8.25% amount. Private loans are not capped. They fluxuate with the market, and go as high as they want. If you borrowed at say 6.5%, in two years you may be paying 12%. There is nothing you can do once you borrow the money unless you lock in the intersest rate, and I don't think that is likely with private loans. So, I would include the parental info. It definetly works in you favor. A financial aid officer told me that this info will almost always not affect you, but w/o it you will be affected because you can not be considered for institutional aid.
    This ended up longer than I intended. I hope it helps.

    :)
     
  21. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Thank you P60001, that was a very clear summation. :)
    Are you applying to OHSU, or perhaps already a student there?
     
  22. rajneel1

    rajneel1 Senior Member
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    on the bottom of the FAFSHA form, in tiny tiny print, it says that some health professional schools will require you to include your parental info. when i went to my stanford financial aid talk, the man kept saying for us to include parental income, even though i told him that i was married. i'll be contacting him this week to clear that up. but it does look like you need to include parental info. also, somr schools might have a march 2nd fellowships deadline thing so you would have to file FAFSHA before than (ie UCSF JMP program). think about that also. this stuff totally confuses me. i can do ochem, but when it comes to loans......
     
  23. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Well, the preponderance of informed opinion appears to be that I should put my parents' info on FAFSA, and that doing so will not effect my eligibility for the $8,500 in subsidized Stafford loans (or the unsubsidized $30,000), only my eligibility for institutional grants/loans/scholarships. That jives with the info I got from U. of Washington, which clearly states that federal money is awarded based only on the student's information.

    Many, many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond and help me figure this out. Now if I can just get those figures from my parents.......
     
  24. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel
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    Sorry, but I still have a question. If you're married are you required to put your parents' info down or not? Also, if you're parents are separated and remarried (as mine are) whose info (out of the four) do you put down? Thanks!
     
  25. mma

    mma Senior Member
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    Yes, we married folks need to provide our parents' info in addition to our spouse's info. Lovely.

    With respect to which parent to put down...I would call a fin aid office and ask. I would say the people by whom you were primarily raised (at least this is how it worked for a friend of mine), but you may have to provide the info of both birth parents. Call the fin aid office--they'll tell you the correct protocol.

    Good luck!

    mma
     
  26. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    CoffeeCat, I think the answer to your question is the same as the answer to mine. You don't have to (unless a particular school you're applying to requires it), but it can't hurt you, only help you. There really seems to be no dowwnside to including their info. So I would guess the only time it makes sense not to is if your parents just refuse to give you the info. As far as your other question about which parents to include, I'm sure there are instructions on the form or in the on-line form's help menu to help you figure that out.
     
  27. P60001

    P60001 Senior Member
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    Hey Coffeecat,
    I was told by the FAFSA help line that when you check that you are married, ie. independent, the computer program that calculates the efc, does not factor in the parental info. The parental info is something that most schools require. As far as the divorced parents thing, I was told by a FAO to use the parent's (and step if appropriate) info that is the least. That is, which parental info looks the best, actually least ;) ,on paper.
    Hope that helps.
    Rob
     
  28. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  29. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  30. mma

    mma Senior Member
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    SMW--yes, that' it. But if you want school aid, you still need to provide parental info on the FAFSA (so it can accurately determine your expected family contribution). Even if you're old, married, have kids, own a house.

    It's a shame...

    mma
     
  31. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel
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    Thanks for the help guys, I love this place

    A SDN Lifer
     
  32. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Just when I thought I had this all under control, along comes a financial aid packet from Albany, that tells me NOT to put my parents' info on FAFSA, but instead to put it on something called NEEDAccess! (another on-line financial aid form that they want filled out in addition to FAFSA) :rolleyes: And to please have it all done by Feb. 1!!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: Without a doubt, other schools will want it on FAFSA, as we've been discussing. :confused: I guess I'll just put it both places. Very annoying, as it's pretty much the same information.
     
  33. doppl

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    Quick question about the FAFSA.

    When they ask for members in the family in College, does that include grad school? I tried to put down zero and it told me invalid response so I'm guessing it wanted me to say that I am going to be in college even though I'll be in Med school.
    Thanks
     
  34. mma

    mma Senior Member
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    SMW,

    Some schools use NeedAccess--you still need to file a FAFSA for government loans, though.

    Side note on NeedAccess--you have to pay to use it. I think it's about 14.95 per school. Bummer. :(

    Good luck!

    mma
     
  35. racerx

    racerx ASA Member
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    I'm screwed.

    Besides being 35, married with two kids, and a veteran...my siblings and I were "disowned" by our mother 3 years ago. As she chooses to be estranged from us, and is our only living parent, why should I be penalized for this from a financial aid standpoint?

    If anyone knows of a similar situation, and what the end result is/was I'd appreciate you sharing it with me.

    racerx
     
  36. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie
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    Just chiming in...

    Yes, put your parent's information on the FAFSA, unless a school specifically tells you not to (like the NeedAccess one). I honestly dont think that it will hurt you, grad students are given $$ pretty much regardless. I, personally have a trust fund that was meant for college (I got a scholarship, didnt have to use it), that can pay for med school. My parents are well off as well. However, I was still offered 18500 in Staffords and another loan that I didnt accept for around 8000. Not subsidized though, which is completely understandable.

    Star
     
  37. mma

    mma Senior Member
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    racerx,

    I am sure that if you talk to fin aid offices about your specific situation that they will take this into account--they cannot hold you responsible if your mother has disowned you. I don't know legally what steps you need to take for documentation (if you need to take such steps), but you should definitely ask.

    Also, some schools have set a cut-off age for family contributions at 32... Perhaps none of this will come into question at all anyway.

    Good luck!

    mma
     
  38. quaileggs

    quaileggs Senior Member
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    racerx-
    I also highly recommend that you talk directly to your school's financial aid office. I am 32, married with children and also have a VERY complex family situation. I was tying myself in knots trying to figure out how I was going to handle this, and cursing the financial aid gods who think all of us are single 22 year olds from wealthy families. My financial aid office was very helpful and is taking a quite liberal approach in my case. I haven't lived at home since 1987, my parents divorced in 1985, my mother remarried (when I was 26) and she is now separated from this guy. I am estranged from my father who never paid child support for his 4 children after the divorce. My mom and her soon to be ex are filing jointly this year for tax advantages. The financial aid office told me to just put my mother's own income (on her W2)and assets on the FAFSA. I had no idea it was kosher to do this! My financial aid counselor observed that since my EFC all through college was 0, I had very little to worry about. And I can forget about my father since my mom had custody of us way back in the day :) . (So essentially he is off the hook again, but that's a whole other issue!) This is nuts isn't it? My mom has a low income and barely any assets so it is looking pretty good for me there. Getting a contribution from her is just about the last thing I want. In your case, I believe that if you and your siblings are totally estranged from your mother and it can be documented then many schools would make an exception for you. And how does your father fit into the picture?
     
  39. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  40. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  41. doppl

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    Thanks! Now I just have to get my dad to give me his info so I can get my Fafsa in.
     
  42. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  43. Doctora Foxy

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    This may be a stupid question, but is everyone supposed to fill out a FAFSA form now? What happens if I don't get in to med school this year?
     
  44. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    SMW,

    I think it would probably best just to include your parental information on FAFSA. The purpose of the form is to separate those out that truly have nowhere else to get the money from and provide them with subisidized loans. If perhaps you become inelligible for the subsidized Stafford loans due to your parental income, your parents might be willing to subsidize the loans you do get, i.e., pay the interest on the loans as it accrues during medical school leaving the principal for you to pay off afterward. I am not sure why Albany would ask that nobody put their parental information even for those whose parents are willing to pay. As far as I can tell, NeedAccess is a private loan group and they can't possibly provide loans at lower rates than the Stafford loans. Both subsidized and unsubsidized loans are actually subsidized by the federal government (typical wacko government-speak just like how de-regulation of the airlines has resulted in more regulations than before de-regulation). The difference is that the government pays the interest as it accrues for subsidized loans while you are in school. But the banks that issue the Stafford loans are subsidized for issuing any type of Stafford loan and the banks are granted insurance against loans in default.

    Foxy,
    If you don't get in this year, you will just fill out a FAFSA update for next year making the process a bit simpler for you next year. But don't worry about that yet...keep thinking positive...
     
  45. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Many thanks, mpp!! :D You are always so informed and helpful. :)
     
  46. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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  47. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    bumpin' for WAtcha! :D
     
  48. Dr. Kermit

    Dr. Kermit Senior Member
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    Bumping b/c I know I'll need it later this week! Thanks SMW!
     
  49. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    bumpin' yet again. Someone else was just asking about this. Although it'll probably get moved to the FA forum this time around.
     

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