Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
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airwrecka
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Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby airwrecka » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:28 pm

Alright, I and others have posed this question in various forms in various threads, but the Financial Aid board seems like the most logical place to have it answered.

My parents are wealthy. My dad is a physician (therefore: high income) and they own a lot of valuable assets. While I don't know exact numbers/details (they won't let me see any of the info), they assure me that based on their info, I will not qualify for any need-based aid. If it matters at all (which it probably doesn't, because it doesn't for the need-based applications), I am 25 and married, not listed as a dependent on my parents' taxes, and my spouse and I are 100% financial independent from our families.

However, will it hurt me at all if I still apply for need-based aid? Will schools see my parents' info and say "well, they're rich so we don't need to offer her anything/very little (merit or need-based)"? Or will the worst thing that will happen is they see my parents info and say "no need-based aid for her, but we'll give her as much merit aid as her merit deems appropriate"?

I understand that different schools handle this differently. For instance, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford don't offer any "merit-only" aid, so if I even want a CHANCE at any money at all, I will have to provide my parents' info.

However, schools like Cornell, NYU, etc, offer the option of applying for merit-only or need and merit aid. In these cases, should I go for merit-only? Or should I go for both?

Also (perhaps) relevant to this question: my parents said they WILL help me with tuition, but they will only pay a maximum of 50% (if I get any scholarships, they will pay for 50% of the remaining tuition that is not covered; if I got a full ride they will give me nothing; they will not help with COL). There is a question on some need-based apps that asks how much parents are expected to contribute, so will they believe me if I say my parents would only pay a maximum of 50% tuition? (also--how should I handle the caveat that they will only pay 50% after scholarships?)

There are a lot of questions here, and nuances, and I get that you guys aren't financial aid officers. But the more feedback I can get before all the forms are due, the better. So fire away!

LawTweet
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby LawTweet » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:35 pm

Same boat, same questions except that my parents will contribute 0 no matter what.

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airwrecka
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby airwrecka » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:38 pm

LawTweet wrote:Same boat, same questions except that my parents will contribute 0 no matter what.


I feel like in your situation, law schools should believe you and not force you to provide your parents' info. This whole situation is ridiculous. (but I hope it works out for you!)

LawTweet
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby LawTweet » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:56 pm

airwrecka wrote:
LawTweet wrote:Same boat, same questions except that my parents will contribute 0 no matter what.


I feel like in your situation, law schools should believe you and not force you to provide your parents' info. This whole situation is ridiculous. (but I hope it works out for you!)


And my own personal EFC is only $2,000...So I really can't afford much on my own.

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KissMyAxe
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby KissMyAxe » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:16 pm

airwrecka wrote:
LawTweet wrote:Same boat, same questions except that my parents will contribute 0 no matter what.


I feel like in your situation, law schools should believe you and not force you to provide your parents' info. This whole situation is ridiculous. (but I hope it works out for you!)


They probably should, but they won't. Otherwise a ton of wealthy families would just lie and say they are contributing nothing in order to get free money. It's really a no-win situation there.

As far as need-based aid, here is my experience. Full disclosure, I'm your age, though single, and have been financially independent for 7 years. My parents are unable to help at all. I cannot speak with authority on Columbia and NYU, so someone else can speak up on that, but you'd probably be better off applying for merit aid. I wasn't even aware they had any need-based aid (though I'm sure it's limited given their use of merit based aid), and it's probably based off of HYS' methods, which have small differences but not tremendous ones.

Basically, this year, you're out of luck. Parental unwillingness to pay means nothing. They're expected to contribute if you're under 29. For Yale, if you're 27 or 28, they only use half of your parent's expected income. At Harvard and Stanford, if you're 26, they use 75% of their income, 27, 50%, and 28, 25%. This ends up being pretty close since YLS tends to award a bit more money in a vacuum. You can appeal for them to consider you without your parent's income, but this is extremely rare, and not applicable to you at all (I know one person who got them to ignore parental income, and that was because one parent had passed away and there was a long history of documented sexual abuse with the other parent, forcing them out on the streets young). For you, they will use parental income in their calculations.

Also, a point to make is that scholarships are calculated after everything else. If your parents can contribute 50% of tuition, that will be calculated first, then they will apply the maximum loans for a year. Only after that, will they meet the rest of your need with scholarships, if your family qualifies for that, which yours probably does not. I would highly doubt you'll receive any need-based aid because of that.

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airwrecka
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby airwrecka » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:20 pm

KissMyAxe wrote:
airwrecka wrote:
LawTweet wrote:Same boat, same questions except that my parents will contribute 0 no matter what.


I feel like in your situation, law schools should believe you and not force you to provide your parents' info. This whole situation is ridiculous. (but I hope it works out for you!)


They probably should, but they won't. Otherwise a ton of wealthy families would just lie and say they are contributing nothing in order to get free money. It's really a no-win situation there.

As far as need-based aid, here is my experience. Full disclosure, I'm your age, though single, and have been financially independent for 7 years. My parents are unable to help at all. I cannot speak with authority on Columbia and NYU, so someone else can speak up on that, but you'd probably be better off applying for merit aid. I wasn't even aware they had any need-based aid (though I'm sure it's limited given their use of merit based aid), and it's probably based off of HYS' methods, which have small differences but not tremendous ones.

Basically, this year, you're out of luck. Parental unwillingness to pay means nothing. They're expected to contribute if you're under 29. For Yale, if you're 27 or 28, they only use half of your parent's expected income. At Harvard and Stanford, if you're 26, they use 75% of their income, 27, 50%, and 28, 25%. This ends up being pretty close since YLS tends to award a bit more money in a vacuum. You can appeal for them to consider you without your parent's income, but this is extremely rare, and not applicable to you at all (I know one person who got them to ignore parental income, and that was because one parent had passed away and there was a long history of documented sexual abuse with the other parent, forcing them out on the streets young). For you, they will use parental income in their calculations.

Also, a point to make is that scholarships are calculated after everything else. If your parents can contribute 50% of tuition, that will be calculated first, then they will apply the maximum loans for a year. Only after that, will they meet the rest of your need with scholarships, if your family qualifies for that, which yours probably does not. I would highly doubt you'll receive any need-based aid because of that.


Thank you so much for your reply!! This is very good to know.

Npret
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby Npret » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:25 pm

You have rich parents paying at least $25,000 a year and you want to apply for need-based aid? You don't qualify. I am not a financial aid officer but I can't imagine a scenario where a school will give you need based aid. You don't have need. Why would you apply?

If you just want to try anyway, schools won't/shouldn't hold it against you. Are you planing to disclose that your parents will pay half your tuition on your application for merit aid?

I'm trying to understand the question. Is it that you don't want to disclose your parents' contribution?

Npret
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby Npret » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:29 pm

LawTweet wrote:Same boat, same questions except that my parents will contribute 0 no matter what.


You are just going to have to be responsible about debt and live cheaply if you can. Lots of people have parents whopay for everything and they might skew attendance numbers at certain top schools. I mean people who can just pay are more likely to go for prestige and maybe not even have to worry about biglaw at all.

Still as you can see from this forum plenty of people mortgage their future to go to law school. You are just going to have to decide how much it's worth to you.

Good luck.
Last edited by Npret on Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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airwrecka
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby airwrecka » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:34 pm

Npret wrote:You have rich parents paying at least $25,000 a year and you want to apply for need-based aid? You don't qualify. I am not a financial aid officer but I can't imagine a scenario where a school will give you need based aid. You don't have need. Why would you apply?

If you just want to try anyway, schools won't/shouldn't hold it against you. Are you planing to disclose that your parents will pay half your tuition on your application for merit aid?

I'm trying to understand the question. Is it that you don't want to disclose your parents' contribution?


The reason I would apply is if there are schools that say (like Columbia) that merit aid doesn't exist (even if it does) and you HAVE to fill out the need-based aid application in order to even have a chance at a scholarship. Also, if schools offer need and merit based aid, but I only apply for merit, I am worried that they will limit me to a certain amount of merit based aid. Not saying I am CORRECT in assuming this, it's just something I'm worried/confused about. However, based on KissMyAxe's response, I think I have a better idea of how the process works (at least at some schools), and so it looks much less like I should apply for need-based aid anywhere (except maybe Columbia because I need to give my parents' info to even be considered for merit aid).

It is to my advantage to get as much in scholarships as I can. Aside from the fact that I don't want my parents to contribute more than necessary, I'm still paying the remaining 50% of tuition they don't cover. Without a scholarship at all, I'm covering 50% tuition, which while still better than 100%, is a lot of money. If I get a 25% scholarship, my parents would then contribute another 37% of tuition (1/2 of the remaining 75%), and I'd be paying only 38% tuition. You see how it goes. Not sure if you were asking for all that but there it is haha.

I did not intend this post to be "I'm rich but I still don't want to pay!" Yes, I'm super lucky my parents are willing and able to help me pay for law school, but paying 50% of tuition at a T14 can still leave me with a LOT of debt, so I'd like to minimize that as much as possible (especially because I am NOT interested in biglaw).

The question really wasn't about disclosing my parents' contribution. If I were to apply for need-based aid I would be honest about their contribution. Merit-based applications don't care about it. The point was: should I go through the hassle of applying for need-based aid at all, or are the benefits so unlikely/nonexistent that it's useless/it might actually hurt me?
Last edited by airwrecka on Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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waldorf
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby waldorf » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:48 pm

Npret wrote:You have rich parents paying at least $25,000 a year and you want to apply for need-based aid? You don't qualify. I am not a financial aid officer but I can't imagine a scenario where a school will give you need based aid. You don't have need. Why would you apply?

If you just want to try anyway, schools won't/shouldn't hold it against you. Are you planing to disclose that your parents will pay half your tuition on your application for merit aid?

I'm trying to understand the question. Is it that you don't want to disclose your parents' contribution?


I'm not sure how she "doesn't qualify". Yes, she's lucky to have parents willing to contribute, but she's still going to be in a lot of debt depending on where she goes. If you're saying she doesn't qualify for these schools specifically, then maybe that's true. But if your own moral compass is that she doesn't qualify, that's ridiculous. She obviously does still need a large amount of tuition covered if she doesn't want to end up in mountains of debt. She asked a question - take your judgement elsewhere.

Airwrecka, I wish I had advice for you! I would have been in the same situation had my dad not passed (mother isn't in the picture) and I was considering schools with need based aid only. Maybe you could contact the financial aid offices of these schools? It's not like they'd know who you are when you call - you could just ask in a general sense.

Npret
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby Npret » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:53 pm

airwrecka wrote:
Npret wrote:You have rich parents paying at least $25,000 a year and you want to apply for need-based aid? You don't qualify. I am not a financial aid officer but I can't imagine a scenario where a school will give you need based aid. You don't have need. Why would you apply?

If you just want to try anyway, schools won't/shouldn't hold it against you. Are you planing to disclose that your parents will pay half your tuition on your application for merit aid?

I'm trying to understand the question. Is it that you don't want to disclose your parents' contribution?


The reason I would apply is if there are schools that say (like Columbia) that merit aid doesn't exist (even if it does) and you HAVE to fill out the need-based aid application in order to even have a chance at a scholarship. Also, if schools offer need and merit based aid, but I only apply for merit, I am worried that they will limit me to a certain amount of merit based aid. Not saying I am CORRECT in assuming this, it's just something I'm worried/confused about. However, based on KissMyAxe's response, I think I have a better idea of how the process works (at least at some schools), and so it looks much less like I should apply for need-based aid anywhere (except maybe Columbia because I need to give my parents' info to even be considered for merit aid).

It is to my advantage to get as much in scholarships as I can. Aside from the fact that I don't want my parents to contribute more than necessary, I'm still paying the remaining 50% of tuition they don't cover. Without a scholarship at all, I'm covering 50% tuition, which while still better than 100%, is a lot of money. If I get a 25% scholarship, my parents would then contribute another 37% of tuition (1/2 of the remaining 75%), and I'd be paying only 38% tuition. You see how it goes. Not sure if you were asking for all that but there it is haha.

I did not intend this post to be "I'm rich but I still don't to pay!" Yes, I'm super lucky my parents are willing and able to help me pay for law school, but paying 50% of tuition at a T14 can still leave me with a LOT of debt, so I'd like to minimize that as much as possible (especially because I am NOT interested in biglaw).

The question really wasn't about disclosing my parents' contribution. If I were to apply for need-based aid I would be honest about their contribution. Merit-based applications don't care about it. The point was: should I go through the hassle of applying for need-based aid at all, or are the benefits so unlikely/nonexistent that it's useless/it might actually hurt me?


I can't imagine you will get need based aid. You don't have need. Only you can decide if it's worth your time in case I'm completely wrong about the level of need law school applicants have and the amount of need based aid available.

I don't think applying for need based will hurt you for merit based.

I know how much law school costs and so do the financial aid people. It's great to minimize your debt and I think everyone should. But you should have realistic expectations of where you fit in the applicants for aid.

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airwrecka
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby airwrecka » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:53 pm

sjs12 wrote:
I'm not sure how she "doesn't qualify". Yes, she's lucky to have parents willing to contribute, but she's still going to be in a lot of debt depending on where she goes. If you're saying she doesn't qualify for these schools specifically, then maybe that's true. But if your own moral compass is that she doesn't qualify, that's ridiculous. She obviously does still need a large amount of tuition covered if she doesn't want to end up in mountains of debt. She asked a question - take your judgement elsewhere.

Airwrecka, I wish I had advice for you! I would have been in the same situation had my dad not passed (mother isn't in the picture) and I was considering schools with need based aid only. Maybe you could contact the financial aid offices of these schools? It's not like they'd know who you are when you call - you could just ask in a general sense.


Thanks sjs :) I have been considering contacting a/some financial aid office(s) to see if I can get a more direct answer, but I was worried that I would have to disclose who I am. I guess that's not necessarily the case, so I should at least try!

If/when I do, I'll report back here :lol:

Npret
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby Npret » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:56 pm

sjs12 wrote:
Npret wrote:You have rich parents paying at least $25,000 a year and you want to apply for need-based aid? You don't qualify. I am not a financial aid officer but I can't imagine a scenario where a school will give you need based aid. You don't have need. Why would you apply?

If you just want to try anyway, schools won't/shouldn't hold it against you. Are you planing to disclose that your parents will pay half your tuition on your application for merit aid?

I'm trying to understand the question. Is it that you don't want to disclose your parents' contribution?


I'm not sure how she "doesn't qualify". Yes, she's lucky to have parents willing to contribute, but she's still going to be in a lot of debt depending on where she goes. If you're saying she doesn't qualify for these schools specifically, then maybe that's true. But if your own moral compass is that she doesn't qualify, that's ridiculous. She obviously does still need a large amount of tuition covered if she doesn't want to end up in mountains of debt. She asked a question - take your judgement elsewhere.

Airwrecka, I wish I had advice for you! I would have been in the same situation had my dad not passed (mother isn't in the picture) and I was considering schools with need based aid only. Maybe you could contact the financial aid offices of these schools? It's not like they'd know who you are when you call - you could just ask in a general sense.


In my view anyone who has 50% of tuition covered is above the threshold for need based aid at most schools. That's why I think she doesn't qualify. I could be wrong but there are lots of students with greater financial need.
I'm not judging her. She's smart to reduce costs. She just has more resources than other applicants who will be applying for aid.

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waldorf
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby waldorf » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:56 pm

airwrecka wrote:
sjs12 wrote:
I'm not sure how she "doesn't qualify". Yes, she's lucky to have parents willing to contribute, but she's still going to be in a lot of debt depending on where she goes. If you're saying she doesn't qualify for these schools specifically, then maybe that's true. But if your own moral compass is that she doesn't qualify, that's ridiculous. She obviously does still need a large amount of tuition covered if she doesn't want to end up in mountains of debt. She asked a question - take your judgement elsewhere.

Airwrecka, I wish I had advice for you! I would have been in the same situation had my dad not passed (mother isn't in the picture) and I was considering schools with need based aid only. Maybe you could contact the financial aid offices of these schools? It's not like they'd know who you are when you call - you could just ask in a general sense.


Thanks sjs :) I have been considering contacting a/some financial aid office(s) to see if I can get a more direct answer, but I was worried that I would have to disclose who I am. I guess that's not necessarily the case, so I should at least try!

If/when I do, I'll report back here :lol:


I don't think you have to disclose who you are. I contacted several schools to ask about financial aid and character and fitness (received a speeding ticket after I sent in my apps :roll:) and never said who I was. I was actually so paranoid that I used a friend's phone to call because I wanted to stay anonymous, but that's probably extreme, lol.

I would ask something to the effect of "I don't believe my parents income qualifies me for need based aid, but I am married and financially independent, and they don't plan on contributing. What should I do/how do I fill out these forms/etc."

LawTweet
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Re: Wealthy Parents & Financial Aid

Postby LawTweet » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:12 pm

Npret wrote:
LawTweet wrote:Same boat, same questions except that my parents will contribute 0 no matter what.


You are just going to have to be responsible about debt and live cheaply if you can. Lots of people have parents whopay for everything and they might skew attendance numbers at certain top schools. I mean people who can just pay are more likely to go for prestige and maybe not even have to worry about biglaw at all.

Still as you can see from this forum plenty of people mortgage their future to go to law school. You are just going to have to decide how much it's worth to you.

Good luck.


Current plan is to go full tuition scholarship and use savings on COL. Seems probably feasible but I may not end up at the most prestigious school I get into.




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