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Old 12-05-2017, 03:53 PM   #41
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We never saved separate money for our child' education ... figured it was all just part of the big family money pot, and it would cost what it cost. When working I fully maxed out whatever tax-advantaged accounts I was able to ... but never bothered with trying to do any kind of tax-advantaged college funding.

We moved to Florida right before our child's senior year of high school, so what with her high grades/scores she qualified for the highest level of the State of Florida's Bright Futures scholarship available to all Florida residents, at different funding levels depending on one's grades. The Bright Futures program was one of (not the only) factors in choosing Pensacola area as our retirement destination.

Although she could have gotten into some more prestigious and/or larger Universities, she chose to attend the well regarded and modestly priced University of West Florida (another factor in choosing Pensacola to move to) where she also copped an additional academic scholarship from the school so she actually made money while doing her undergraduate. One plus to going to that school is that it's easier to stand out in a small pond. We never had to fool with the FAFSA or playing the scholarship game. She was able to live at home during her undergraduate & we funded her books and misc fees not covered by scholarships. I never took any educational deductions on my taxes and she never took any student loans.

We did have a goodly pot of money put back for her college from downsizing our house, so that was the backup plan had scholarships not come forth. We never had to use it.

She left this year for a highly competitive 4 year graduate program at Baylor where she has a full tuition waiver and a 20 hour a week job as a Research Assistant. Most in her cohort came from the Ivy League or other top-flight private Universities.

So, yeah ... I highly recommend good grades, scholarships, planning to retire near a modestly priced State University, and children living at home during their undergraduate as a college funding mechanism .. if one can manage to pull that off.

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Originally Posted by 43210 View Post
... In our case we'd have 3 kids over 9 years. ...
Being of relatively modest means, had we more than one child to get launched in life I probably wouldn't have retired at 49.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:59 PM   #42
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* Not all - in fact it seems not many - schools are need blind. I am currently thinking hard about this. If my kid is a great candidate for admission I may actually be hurting his chances: If we qualify for a lot of financial aid, that means that to the school my kid is not as much of a revenue generator. At some point, at most schools, that comes into the equation, and I'm worried it could turn a potential acceptance into a potential rejection. I would appreciate input on this.
Following up on this point.

I called the four schools that my son is considering. All four of them said that the admissions office has absolutely no information on the financial aid status of any applicant and so financial aid status has no impact on admissions results.

That being said, I now wonder if the financial aid offers are impacted by how much a school wants a particular student. I have to believe that they are.
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:27 PM   #43
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....
I called the four schools that my son is considering. All four of them said that the admissions office has absolutely no information on the financial aid status of any applicant and so financial aid status has no impact on admissions results.
.....
What the universities are telling you is a technicality. The essays and other information provided on a college application can give a very good indication of the socio-economic background of an applicant even without FAFSA or CSS information. The common refrain I hear from some folks I know that serve on admissions committees is "perhaps what this student needs is to just be given a chance."
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:37 AM   #44
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Following up on this point.

I called the four schools that my son is considering. All four of them said that the admissions office has absolutely no information on the financial aid status of any applicant and so financial aid status has no impact on admissions results.

That being said, I now wonder if the financial aid offers are impacted by how much a school wants a particular student. I have to believe that they are.

From some of the reporting and reading I have done the Ivy schools kinda collude and their offers are similar to a student... IOW, nobody is so far out of line that one school stands out...


Also, some schools do not have a lot of leeway on who they choose... Texas public schools have to accept students that graduate in the top 10%... University of Texas has 75% of their students automatically accepted because of this... but they have been able to lower it to 6% now since they would have more students automatically accepted if not...

https://admissions.utexas.edu/apply/decisions
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:03 PM   #45
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@DrBrisket interesting. I am thinking through what a FA office would think of me and my son based on what they could find out from the application and essay and publicly available data. I am a millionaire next door early FIREee type so I have high assets but low income so the public picture on me is a decidedly mixed bag. In general I think FAFSA schools will be more accessible than CSS/profile schools for my kids because of this.

@TexasProud, funny you should mention automatic admissions there. My Dad grew up in a small town there and got accepted to a Texas public university but they said "Don't waste our time or your parents' money by coming." He got offended, got the "top freshman" academic award, went on to another Texas medical school and became a doctor.

Anyway, my son isn't applying to any Ivy League or similar caliber schools nor any in-state public schools. But he is applying to schools where his grades and test scores put him in the upper half or even upper quartile. He goes to a well-respected IB high school and he also provides "geographic diversity" to his target schools. So I like his chances for admissions to at least some of his target schools.
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:18 PM   #46
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If your millionaire status involves a non-qualified account (a taxable account), then all that money will be earmarked by colleges for them. If one has to fill out a FAFSA or CSS/profile, then that money will need to be revealed.

If your million(s) is in IRAs or 401(k) or 403(b), then it is off-the-record, but the FAFSA will note your retirement account contributions that you make to reduce your annual income and colleges will assume you can stop those and just give the contributions to them instead.

In other words, they can see some folks who have money, but try to get financial aid. In such cases, they may just offer loans to cover expenses which to me is not really financial aid.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:34 PM   #47
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I don't want to make this thread just about me and my kids' situation, but just to respond to LOL!s comments:

Without getting into details to protect my privacy, I am planning to qualify for the zero EFC rule on the FAFSA. Qualifying for zero EFC short circuits most of the FAFSA data collection, including information about assets, including taxable accounts.

I don't know much about CSS/profile except that it is much more invasive in terms of data collection and includes things that FAFSA excludes. If I have to fill out the CSS/profile, I think they will be able to understand my situation much better and so I expect less financial aid.

Obviously the net cost of the various schools that my son gets accepted to will be an input to his decision. Currently his projected top six include five FAFSA schools and one CSS/profile school.

I am retired so no longer make retirement account contributions.

I know the FA people are smart, and maybe or even probably they can deduce or infer that I can/would/will pay some amount towards my kids' college. I am just trying to play the game as best I can given my understanding of the rules and staying within my ethical boundaries. It will be interesting to see what happens.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:36 PM   #48
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I say go for it and am curious how it all turns out. And it was obvious you were going for the low-income thing.
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Old 12-06-2017, 03:00 PM   #49
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I know the FA people are smart, and maybe or even probably they can deduce or infer that I can/would/will pay some amount towards my kids' college. I am just trying to play the game as best I can given my understanding of the rules and staying within my ethical boundaries. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Our kids received grants and from what I read on Forbes others with exempt assets, like businesses and retirement plans, but low taxable income do as well.

From Forbes:

"The Fafsa business loophole. Fafsa, the only aid formula used by most public colleges and many of the less-selective private ones, does not count the value of a small business. “Small” means one with fewer than 100 employees. Mom’s and Pop’s little software firm could be worth $20 million and it won’t show up."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/baldwin.../#742f1bb332b5
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