Are you wondering how to get financial aid if your parents make too much? If this question plagues you, you’re not alone.
“It’s definitely something we hear a lot,” said Jill Desjean, a policy analyst for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “A lot of people make an assumption that [their family earns] too much to apply for financial aid.”
But even if you think your family won’t qualify for financial aid, Desjean said to go ahead and apply. “You can be pleasantly surprised,” she said. Here’s why.
How family income affects your financial aid
Sure, income is considered when the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) pumps out your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the cost of college. After all, you supply your parents’ tax returns when submitting your FAFSA.
But you might be surprised to learn that no income cutoff determines your eligibility for aid, said Desjean.
A family with a household income of hundreds of thousands of dollars, for example, could be helped by other factors in the FAFSA formula, including school cost and the number of siblings also attending school.
If you still think your parents are rolling in too much dough, consider using either the FAFSA4caster or your school’s net price calculator.
You can find the latter by Googling, “[school name] net price calculator.” All colleges and universities are required by the federal government to host the calculator on their websites.
With either tool, you’ll punch in basic information about your family’s finances and immediately see how much aid you might be eligible to receive for your cost of attendance.
How to get financial aid if your parents make too much
If you’ve already learned that your folks are too well off to help you get financial aid, Desjean recommends talking about your situation with your school’s financial aid office. You’ll want to confirm, for example, that the office used accurate information to arrive at your EFC.
“Before that conversation with the financial aid office, I always encourage families to sit back and think about what special circumstances their family might be experiencing that might make them look wealthier on a piece of a paper with a limited number of questions,” Desjean said.
For example, your family might have considerable medical expenses that absorb much of its income and savings.
“That’s not something that there’s a page for on the FAFSA,” Desjean said. “But it certainly is relevant to the family’s ability to pay for college.”
If this is the case for your family, you could seek a professional judgment, also known as an appeal, to your school for more aid. You’ll be required to submit evidence proving your case to be a worthy one.
Even if your family doesn’t have exceptional circumstances, there are plenty of other ways to receive money for college.
You can focus on opportunities that offer awards based on merit, not because of financial aid. Private scholarships and even some state grants might be available because of your academic achievements, no matter your family’s income.
How to pay for college when your family’s wealth isn’t helping
Are you still wondering how to get financial aid if your parents make too much? Maybe that’s because you’re a dependent student who isn’t receiving financial support from your well-off family. Consider that there are plenty of ways to pay for college without parental support.
You can start by taking ownership of the financial aid process and filling out the FAFSA yourself with the appropriate information. Make sure you stay on top of all essential FAFSA deadlines.
If you still have a tuition shortfall after seeking scholarships, grants, and other forms of aid, here’s a piece of good news.
“All is not lost if you don’t qualify for financial aid from the school,” Desjean said. “It’s important that families go out and look at other financing options.”
Your school’s financial aid office should again be your first stop. The representatives there can tell you about tuition payment plans, for instance, that allow you to pay your school dues in smaller installments.
There’s also the possibility of finding a job on or off campus. Heck, you could even start a side hustle to help pay for the cost of college.
Finally, you or your parents could consider borrowing money. Ensure you study up on the differences between federal and private student loans.
For example, loans from the federal government come with added protections, including the ability to alter your repayment plan. Private loans, meanwhile, could be cheaper to repay if your creditworthy parent is a cosigner.
When shopping around, compare all sorts of lenders — including the federal government, your school, banks, and credit unions — to find the best loan for you and your family.
Remember: You have options when it comes to paying for college, even if you feel like your family’s income is a deterrent when it comes to financial aid.
Keep the lines of communication open with your chosen school’s financial aid office, and approach the problem collaboratively to find the best solution for your situation.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
|1 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 11/1/2018. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
2 Important Disclosures for Discover.
3 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for PNC.
PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.
6 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.94% – 12.78%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.06% – 13.06%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.34% – 12.99%2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 11.10%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.03% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.12% – 13.13%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.62% – 10.01%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.93% – 9.81%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.26% – 12.13%9||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|