Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

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enoca
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby enoca » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:43 pm

Harvard only gives you 24 hours to accept a WL offer, so there isn't time for a real financial aid process. However, they claim that you will still receive the same need-based aid as a normal admit. So I would like to come up with a good estimate for how much that would be in order to make the decision beforehand (if I am lucky enough to be admitted).

The final numbers will just be for my situation, but maybe it can help other people think through the same process. Also, if I am calculating something wrong or maybe an unwarranted assumption, that'd be great to know.

For these calculations I am drawing from these pages:

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/financi ... -packages/

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/financi ... cial-need/

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/financi ... resources/

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/financi ... om-assets/

All these numbers will be for 1L.

COA: $92,200
Base Loan Package: $48,000 (for 16-17... might be different this year?)

Financial Need = COA - Student Contribution - Parent Contribution
Grant = Financial Need - Base Loan

So, for 2017-2018 the numbers look like:

Grant = $92,200 - SC - PC - 48,000

or

Grant = $44,200 - SC - PC

Now, I am old and decrepit here in my 30s, so the Parental Assistance should be zero. So:

Grant = $44,200 - SC

That just leaves how much they will want from me personally. Harvard states that they expect you to spend all of your resources to pay for law school before you will get any grant money. So basically, they add up everything you own in the world, all your savings, yadda yadda, set aside an Emergency Fund (ERA), divide it by three, and that is your yearly student contribution. So:

SC = (Total Assets)/3 - ERA

Total Assets = Cash + Savings + Stocks/Money Markets/Bonds/CDs/Mutual Funds + Real Property + Business/Farm Equity + Trust Funds + 0.5*Retirement Funds + whatever else they feel like

ERA ≈ $500

"Luckily," I have basically no assets other than an IRA worth 20k-30k, because I have lived in a developing country making sub-US poverty level wages for half a decade. But lets make up a very optimistic number and say I have $3000 in savings and my IRA does extraordinarily well over the next few months. So:

Total Assets = $30,000/2 (IRA) + $3000 (Savings/Cash) = $18,000

SC = ($18,000)/3 - $500
= $6,000 - $500
= $5,500

Grant = $44,200 - $5,500 = $38,700

3 years of grants = $116,100*

I am aware the grant might be adjusted downward if I make a bunch of money over the summers, but let's go with the baseline here. Also, I think, based on these formulas, the grant will be recalculated and increase to match the inflation in COA every year, but let's assume no increase just to be safe.

If I plug all this into the GULC calculator I get a personal COA of $197,617, assuming I take out full loans, don't liquidate my IRA and use my "savings."

Does this seem basically correct?
Last edited by enoca on Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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GoBucks6612
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Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby GoBucks6612 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:47 am

I am no expert on financial aid but a couple of things I have seen other people mention in other threads that I figured I'd mention.

1. You are supposedly expected to contribute almost all of your summer associate salary above living wages. That will cut into your grant aid 3L (and maybe 2L??) year by $10k - $20k or so (not sure how much they consider living wages to be).

2. HLS COA goes up a couple thousand each year. Won't make a huge difference but something to consider nonetheless.

Other than that, your process seems to make sense. Good luck and I hope to see you in the fall! :)

Studybuddy17
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:38 am

Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby Studybuddy17 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:33 am

I'm a waitlister as well so I can't add to your post, but thank you for providing such a clear breakdown of the algorithm, it does seem to be correct!

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hammy393
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Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby hammy393 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:28 pm

GoBucks6612 wrote:I am no expert on financial aid but a couple of things I have seen other people mention in other threads that I figured I'd mention.

1. You are supposedly expected to contribute almost all of your summer associate salary above living wages. That will cut into your grant aid 3L (and maybe 2L??) year by $10k - $20k or so (not sure how much they consider living wages to be).

2. HLS COA goes up a couple thousand each year. Won't make a huge difference but something to consider nonetheless.

Other than that, your process seems to make sense. Good luck and I hope to see you in the fall! :)


Re: point 1 - although your grant money will go down during the academic year after you're a biglaw SA, your *loan* should not be any different. Your grant money will go down because you'll be expected to contribute more personally (from your SA salary), but that should not affect the amount of loans you'll receive.

saf18hornet
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:21 pm

Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby saf18hornet » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:04 pm

Dang, half of your 401K is considered for student contributions?! That totally sucks. Really screws over the people who have been working for several years and actually saved up significant funds, like 150k+.

Edit: So theoretically a person with 150k savings, and who owns a house (maybe has paid off something like 30k on a 30 year mortgage for example) should not be expecting much need based aid. Even though they obviously aren't going to pay a penalty to actually pull out 75k from their retirement. What are student loan rates now? The money is still better off in the 401k, investment returns are typically over the 6%(??) student loan rate, especially in the current market.

I just think that makes it really impossible for the 30 something LS hopefuls to attend YHS at less than 300k in loans.

HarvardHopeful95
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Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:55 pm

Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby HarvardHopeful95 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:55 pm

So for example, I have an expected parents contribution of $0 and have no savings (I'm k-jd) so would it be reasonable to say that my grant amount would be ~$132,000? That number just seems so high to me. For contrast, I received $90,000 from Columbia in need based grants. Would it be reasonable to think I would at least receive that much from Harvard? I just really don't wanna stay on this waitlist and end up having to accept an offer of $30,000 or something. It would ruin everything

enoca
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby enoca » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:58 am

saf18hornet wrote: Even though they obviously aren't going to pay a penalty to actually pull out 75k from their retirement.


If you've rolled over to an IRA, you don't have to pay the penalty to use it for educational expenses, though it will be considered "normal income" for tax purposes.

Not to say doing so is a good idea though...

enoca
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby enoca » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:12 pm

HarvardHopeful95 wrote:So for example, I have an expected parents contribution of $0 and have no savings (I'm k-jd) so would it be reasonable to say that my grant amount would be ~$132,000? That number just seems so high to me. For contrast, I received $90,000 from Columbia in need based grants. Would it be reasonable to think I would at least receive that much from Harvard? I just really don't wanna stay on this waitlist and end up having to accept an offer of $30,000 or something. It would ruin everything


For comparison, Columbia has given me $85,000. Now, since CLS has a "mixed need and merit" grant system, I don't know how much we can gauge from the relative amounts, but there it is. More specifically to your numbers:

(a) If I understand correctly, there is a minimum student contribution every year (starting at $2,500 for 1L), so you need to adjust downward for that.

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/student ... fromIncome

(b) Are you sure your parent's contribution is $0? I think that is very unlikely. Just because the FAFSA says that, it doesn't mean Harvard is gonna come up with the same number. The HLS evaluation is going to be more rigorous and somewhat opaque. You can read up on how they generate these numbers here:

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/financi ... resources/

But in general, if your family really is super, super poor, I think you can expect more than 10k a year. What is your specific situation?

(c) But yes, in an extreme case where (say) the child of hobos* applied with no assets, the hobochild should** get something like 120-130k in grants over the three years, assuming they don't make any money during that time.

*hobos with tax returns

**I mean, I don't know for sure; that's part of the question I have in posting this thread. If this formula is accurate, then yes. But if it is just a guideline, then... maybe?

HarvardHopeful95
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:55 pm

Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby HarvardHopeful95 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:32 pm

enoca wrote:
HarvardHopeful95 wrote:So for example, I have an expected parents contribution of $0 and have no savings (I'm k-jd) so would it be reasonable to say that my grant amount would be ~$132,000? That number just seems so high to me. For contrast, I received $90,000 from Columbia in need based grants. Would it be reasonable to think I would at least receive that much from Harvard? I just really don't wanna stay on this waitlist and end up having to accept an offer of $30,000 or something. It would ruin everything


For comparison, Columbia has given me $85,000. Now, since CLS has a "mixed need and merit" grant system, I don't know how much we can gauge from the relative amounts, but there it is. More specifically to your numbers:

(a) If I understand correctly, there is a minimum student contribution every year (starting at $2,500 for 1L), so you need to adjust downward for that.

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/student ... fromIncome

(b) Are you sure your parent's contribution is $0? I think that is very unlikely. Just because the FAFSA says that, it doesn't mean Harvard is gonna come up with the same number. The HLS evaluation is going to be more rigorous and somewhat opaque. You can read up on how they generate these numbers here:

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/sfs/financi ... resources/

But in general, if your family really is super, super poor, I think you can expect more than 10k a year. What is your specific situation?

(c) But yes, in an extreme case where (say) the child of hobos* applied with no assets, the hobochild should** get something like 120-130k in grants over the three years, assuming they don't make any money during that time.

*hobos with tax returns

**I mean, I don't know for sure; that's part of the question I have in posting this thread. If this formula is accurate, then yes. But if it is just a guideline, then... maybe?


My mom is unemployed and my father isn't in the picture so I can pretty confidently say that my parental contribution would be $0. Thanks for working all of that out for me. I'm a bit more confident about staying on the waitlist now

enoca
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Re: Rough Calculation of Harvard Grant Aid off the Waitlist

Postby enoca » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:36 pm

Alright then. Good luck!




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