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JackTorres

Financial aid?

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I got accepted to PA school and I need some advice with financial aid such as grants and loans.  Although we (myself and significant other) have very little savings, my spouses income is a little high.  Can you provide any advice/guidance?  I read that we need to fill out the FAFSA and then go from there.  It seems the Stafford Loan might be the most practical option.  The school alone costs almost $100,000  for tuition not counting books or room and board.  I read that the financial aid can generally cover 100% of tuition including books and room and board.
Is this accurate/realistic?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I don't know if this is 100% accurate so contacting FASFA is always best but in my experience, my award amounts have not been effected by our income amount for grad school (can't say the same for undergrad). I qualified for the same amount of aid when I was applying with only my income versus with my husbands income which was higher. Most PA students end up taking out the max amount for the unsubsidized and then supplementing with the Grad Plus loan for the rest of the costs, up to the cost of attendance. 

With my husband's income, we have not had to take out the maximum amount of aid each semester versus other classmates who don't have another household income coming in. 

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Thank you for taking the time to reply to me in detail.  It is very much appreciated!  So i assume I need to file for financial aid as an independent vs. dependent?

Would I need to claim my spouses income?

Thanks a million!

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You are considered independent. The FAFSA will ask you questions to determine independent vs. dependent. It will ask you tax questions. Yes, it will ask you your spouse's income. When it asks if you want to provide parent info, decline. It's not needed. After you summit the FAFSA, it will give you an EFC(estimated family contribution) number. The lower it is, the more amount of aid you are eligible for. If you get "0", you will be able to take the max out available for student loans up to the cost of your attendance.  

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7 hours ago, JackTorres said:

Does cost of attendance include room and board and books?

The school I will be attending the estimated cost of attendance includes room and board, books, etc. However, when I talked with financial aid they only considered the tuition and told me the remainder of what I am awarded would/should cover everything else. Which in my case leaves me with ~$6000 to cover everything else. She said I was awarded the max. Which does not leave much. Considering I am an older adult with adult bills. I am also attending an out of state school and out of state is 10,000 more a semester. I was always told financial aid would be enough. I will have to use money from 401k to cover. 

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COA includes tuition, fees, allowance for books, health insurance, living expenses.  Each school determines their own based on cost of living and program fees (mine included an estimate for transportation, for example).

Your school sets these estimates and you are unlikely to successfully request additional fees over that.  However, usually between stafford and PLUS loans, you should reach the COA assuming you have good credit (PLUS is based on credit).  I attended one of the most expensive programs in an expensive city and I was easily able to obtain full COA in loans and had no problem living on that (and I'm adult with adult expenses).

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Thank you for all of your kind replies.

I’m very grateful for the insight.

One more question, so realistically to get $100,000 in total across the 2-3 years to cover PA school is a very realistic expectation for someone with little savings?

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Yes that would be a pretty average amount. For reference, I will be in about 100k for PA school with having the income of my spouse. My program is about 85-90k total for tuition and fees. 

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The spouses don’t need to co-sign do they?  I assume the financial aid and loans are only signed for by the students without obligating the spouse?  

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On 6/19/2018 at 12:41 AM, JackTorres said:

The spouses don’t need to co-sign do they?  I assume the financial aid and loans are only signed for by the students without obligating the spouse?  

No, they don't have to co-sign. If you are getting a private loan at all, you could add them as a co-signer in the hopes you get a better interest rate(that's if they have good credit and income).

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Good afternoon!

 

Thanks again for all of your kind and detailed responses.

i applied for FAFSA as an independent and it returned preliminary results: 

EFC: 019580

Direct Stafford loan estimate: 18500

What does this mean?

Thank you kindly!

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EFC is how much they expect you can contribute to your education for the year you applied.  The estimate is how much loan you might be eligible for (max direct stafford is 20500).

I can't remember for sure but I don't think these are hard and fast.  I.e when the time comes, you may actually qualify for more but you won't know for sure until you submit forms to your school.

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