The form opens the door to student aid. But it’s “a terrible measure of what people can actually afford,” one expert said. And many families will be asked to pay more, anyway.
The form filled out by most parents of college-bound students told Julie and Andrew Phipps they should expect to contribute about $14,000 to their daughter’s education. It was way off.
Like millions of other parents, Julie Phipps filled out the federal form last November that determined her college-bound daughter was eligible for financial aid. She also learned how much the federal government figured her family could contribute to the bill: $14,000.
That figure, known as the expected family contribution, was generated immediately after she completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. But with every dollar from their solidly middle-class income already accounted for, Ms. Phipps, 53, said she and her husband, Andy, were stunned at what they were expected to pay.
That was just the start.
The real shock came later, when they learned that the expected contribution was only about half of what their daughter’s chosen school expected the family to pay.
“If we were paying our expected family contribution, we would be thrilled,” said Ms. Phipps, of South Portland, Maine. “But we are paying twice our expected family contribution, so it means absolutely 100 percent nothing.”
Now that the latest FAFSA is out — it became available on Oct. 1 — millions of families are plugging in their numbers. The form is the first step to unlocking any potential federal financial aid, including grants, loans and work-study jobs, as well as aid from states and some colleges.
For the full article click here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/your-money/fafsa-financial-aid-student-loans.html
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