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Complicated Family Situation

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Replies to: Complicated Family Situation

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    For any school requiring the non-custodial parent Profile, your former wife and her husband will need to complete the form (and yes...someone may question where their support is coming from).

    And, if your ex and her H won't fill out those forms, or their answers aren't believable (living on air), then your D's aid request will not get processed, and she'll get nothing except a $5500 student loan.
  • DGDzDadDGDzDad Posts: 15 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Wow. Awesome info guys. Not sure where to start with response, but here goes:

    Mom2collegekids wrote, "A school isn't going to give your child more money because her bio mom has no income. That would be crazy." Why is that crazy? The fact that bio mom is a deadbeat means the whole burden falls on me. Shouldn't that be taken into account?

    My prof'l practice (law) has no value. One of my partners is much older than me and he has been looking into selling his share of the partnership. He says there is absolutely no market. He may just have to retire and get nothing in return for the "value" of his interest. The nature of my practice is mostly one-time clients. It's not like I have business clients who throw perennial income streams. They are individuals who are mostly one-shot clients. How could that have a value? Accounts receivable, yes. But if I am disabled or die, the money stops flowing and the clients go elsewhere.

    StepD's father lives off the grid. He's been in and out of jail. Don't know where he is most of the time. He owes W @$30,000 in back child support for StepD so when he works, he works for cash under the table. If we can find him, I guess we can try to get him to fill out a FAFSA if he's not high on meth that day. I'll have to look into that waiver thing....

    Good tip about timing of filling out the FAFSA. I pay quarterly estimated taxes. So my bank account may show $20,000 in what looks like savings, but it's not really. It's just money set aside to pay the next quarterly Fed and state income tax payments. I guess I should date the FAFSA right after I make the quarterly payments.

    I borrowed some $ from my dad to help with down payment on the house I bought after the divorce. It's documented and I'm making payments to him, but it's not secured by the house as a 2nd mortgage. Sounds like maybe I should do that. Right now there is little or no equity in the house due to market, although that may be changing as prices are starting to rise in my area.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    Mom2collegekids wrote, "A school isn't going to give your child more money because her bio mom has no income. That would be crazy."

    Why is that crazy? The fact that bio mom is a deadbeat means the whole burden falls on me. Shouldn't that be taken into account?



    It's crazy because if your ex and her H had incomes then the "family contribution" would be GREATER than it is with only YOUR income. Get it???

    For example, if the situation is:

    You and W2 income = $250k
    Ex and H2 income = 0

    then the school will determine that YOUR income and two kids in school means that you have to pay $45k for D1's $55k college.

    BUT, if....

    You and W2 income = $275k
    Ex and H2 income = $80k

    Then schools will now expect that the total family contribution is Full Pay and pay the whole $55k. So, how would that benefit you? your ex would pay the $10k and you'd still be expected to pay the $45k because you make a whole bunch more.

    You're assuming that the family contribution would be same, but shared. No, the family contribution would be more, so you'd still pay the same. You couldn't expect your ex to pay half, right? not when her income is 1/3 of what yours is.
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Posts: 47
    edited May 2013
    I would seriously look at your instate options.

    In-state schools will not be a money saver for this family - they're not going to qualify for state aid and California schools are expensive! There are a handful of merit awards available for the UC's, but they are few and far between.

    I still believe this family's best option is to focus on private and out-of-state public where the kids would qualify for substantial merit aid.

    (And, yes, CA schools might be an option for your current junior if she were to spend more than half of the current calendar year living with Mom, since CA state schools require FAFSA only, and would only consider only Mom's income. But would you really want to upset the applecart this way??? Also, this would not work if someone else is paying X & Hubby''s bills - that would be treated as income for FAFSA purposes.)
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Posts: 47
    edited May 2013
    A school isn't going to give your child more money because her bio mom has no income. That would be crazy." Why is that crazy? The fact that bio mom is a deadbeat means the whole burden falls on me.

    Aha - what your missing here is that expenses are not taken into account - just income and assets. So a family living in the Bay Area and making $100k/year is screwed, while the same family living in West Virginia (for example) might be able to pay a significant chunk of the full cost of private college. No, it's not fair . . . but that's the way it is.
    Good tip about timing of filling out the FAFSA . . . I guess I should date the FAFSA right after I make the quarterly payments.

    Yes, FAFSA is essentially a snapshot of your assets the day you file. But there are two other things you need to keep in mind:

    (1) The CSS Profile may be due sooner - especially if your daughter applies Early Decision anywhere. (Note: this is a particularly AWFUL idea in your circumstances, especially if she's looking for competitive merit aid!) Just be aware of the Profile due date for EACH school she applies to.

    (2) Getting the FAFSA filed on the most advantageous date is fine . . . but be aware that if your tax return isn't also filed as early as possible, your daughter could have a real problem at any school that wants to verify her tax info before issuing a financial aid award.

    Estimate if you need to, and file an amended return later . . . but get that tax return filed as close to January 15 as possible! (No, I'm not kidding.) And make sure all taxes are paid when you file. If you owe anything, processing on your return will be delayed significantly. (And, yes, I'm assuming that with a partnership, this is darned near impossible . . . which is why I'm giving you a heads up NOW.)
  • beth's mombeth's mom Posts: 58
    edited May 2013
    DGDzDad - in your situation, I think the most important thing (and the first thing) you and your D should do is find a good academic and financial safety. It's easy to find reaches and dream schools; finding a safety school that's a good fit and that your D would be happy to attend is harder. Find that school and get her excited about it. Don't let her get fixated on a dream school or a bunch of top tier schools that she may not get into or that you may not be able to afford.

    My D had stats similar to your D's. She just finished up a fabulous freshman year at one of her safety schools. Although it was a safety school, and didn't start out at the top of her list, by the time she had to choose her school it was #1, on its own merits without regard to finances. If a student is open minded and receptive to all opportunities, and not focused on the same 20-30 schools as every other high achieving student, he or she can find a lot of great schools that will be a really good fit and provide an excellent education. Check out the guaranteed merit scholarship thread that was linked in one of your threads - there are some gems on that list.
  • poetgrlpoetgrl Posts: 194
    edited May 2013
    You are getting the best advice here you can get, OP.

    The one thing is that dodgersmom is telling you something important, but it requires, I would imagine, a paradigm shift for you and your family.

    You state that the schools your daughter is interested in are the Profile schools, but these are, generally, NOT the schools which offer substantial guaranteed merit.

    So, your list of schools might very well need to change, if you want to defray the full pay costs you face.

    good luck.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    Quote:
    Good tip about timing of filling out the FAFSA . . . I guess I should date the FAFSA right after I make the quarterly payments.



    With your income, FAFSA timing, etc, is hardly going to matter. Your income is too high. What are you expecting? Your EFC with an income of $250k+ will likely be $99k for one in college, and $50k for each child with 2 in college.

    I don't think you understand what federal aid is. Fed aid (free money) is for LOW INCOME people only. You'd get nothing. You'd get student loans no matter what.

    At schools that are going to give you aid, they're going to use CSS Profile to determine aid, not FAFSA (except to see if you're Pell eligible, and you're not).

    UC and CSUs are FAFSA only, but again, you're not going to qualify for any free need-based money no matter what you do. Cal Grants and Blue and Gold Promise are income tested. Incomes have to be MUCH, MUCH lower than yours (less than $100k) to qualify. You'd get NOTHING.

    I'm just not sure what you're expecting from filling out FAFSA, except that you're going to have a very high EFC...even with 2 in college.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 216
    edited May 2013
    In-state schools will not be a money saver for this family - they're not going to qualify for state aid and California schools are expensive! There are a handful of merit awards available for the UC's, but they are few and far between.

    I still believe this family's best option is to focus on private and out-of-state public where the kids would qualify for substantial merit aid.

    (And, yes, CA schools might be an option for your current junior if she were to spend more than half of the current calendar year living with Mom, since CA state schools require FAFSA only, and would only consider only Mom's income. But would you really want to upset the applecart this way??? Also, this would not work if someone else is paying X & Hubby''s bills - that would be treated as income for FAFSA purposes.)




    I agree that Calif publics likely will not work UNLESS, the student commutes to a CSU and pays only $6500 tuition. Or if the student somehow lucks out and gets a HUGE Regents scholarship to a low level UC....maybe, but not likely.

    This dad needs to figure out how much he can pay each year. If he can pay $15k per year for THIS child (plus whatever he has to pay for the others), then the D needs at least a full tuition scholarship somewhere, so that his $15k can pay for room, board, books, fees, etc. His D can take a small student loan to cover any uncovered costs.
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