Category Archives: Acronyms and Jargon

Aid Formulas

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, this is a bit of a refresher post.

There are three aid formulas: Federal methodology (FM), based on the FAFSA; Institutional Methodology (IM), based on the CSS PROFILE; and Consensus Methodology (CM), which uses both aid forms. Each is a different way of calculating a family’s Continue reading Aid Formulas

FAFSA Income Protection Allowance

FAFSA does have a minimal income protection allowance. For parents, it tracks the federal poverty line fairly closely but has an additional variable of number attending college. For students, it’s a flat $6,420.

Here is the table from this year’s FAFSA for dependent students: Continue reading FAFSA Income Protection Allowance

2016 SAT Results

The interwebs appear to be all aflutter about SAT results this week. That’s because the College Board just released the class of 2016’s results and generally the class of 2016 did worse on the SAT than did the class of 2015. There are potential explanations that have nothing to do with academic capability: changes in the test, resulting in changes in the Continue reading 2016 SAT Results

2017-2018 FAFSA Formula Guide

Here is a link to the FAFSA formula guide for 2017-2018. Remember, this year you’ll be completing the FAFSA in October, not January.

The Tables show income and asset protection allowances for parents and students. The allowances are pretty similar to last year’s. For example, the income protection allowance Continue reading 2017-2018 FAFSA Formula Guide

Negotiating a Financial Aid Award

For most people, college is not affordable, even with an aid package. If the aid package at your dream school is insufficient, you might be thinking of trying to negotiate a better one. While aid adjustments are generally infrequent, the worst that can happen if you ask is that they say no; the school won’t rescind the original offer. Colleges can adjust aid packages through a process called Continue reading Negotiating a Financial Aid Award

Subsidized vs Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Many aid packages include Direct Loans, which may be subsidized or unsubsidized. The difference is simple: with an unsubsidized loan, interest accrues starting on day 1 of the loan even if you choose to defer while in school. With a subsidized loan, Continue reading Subsidized vs Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Where does financial aid come from?

I know, I’ve been harping on the FAFSA lately. (Did you fill it out yet? If not, go here to do so.) For those who still have some time before applying to schools, let’s switch gears and talk about where aid comes from.

Refresher: Three primary sources of aid: federal government, state governments, and institutions. Continue reading Where does financial aid come from?

How to Fill out the FAFSA 3: Assets

Once you’ve finished the income section of the FAFSA, you’re on the home stretch. What’s left? Assets. And once again, the form is deceptively simple: “As of today, what is the net worth of your parents’ investments, including real estate (not your parents’ home)?”

OK, so not the home. But what does count? Continue reading How to Fill out the FAFSA 3: Assets

How to Fill out the FAFSA 2: Divorced Parents

Divorce is one of the biggest question areas with the FAFSA. This may be because the FAFSA presents it so simply: it just asks the parents’ marital status; if “Divorced or separated” is chosen, it asks which parent’s information is going to be used. You have to read the fine print to figure out whose info the Department of Education thinks should be reported. Because of the different rules, divorced parents who are still at least cordial with one another Continue reading How to Fill out the FAFSA 2: Divorced Parents