How do you know if you are too wealthy for financial aid? The answer is, there’s no easy answer! Generally speaking, most schools will not give need-based financial aid to families making $150,000 or more per year, but there are exceptions. Princeton University, for example, is known to be the most generous ivy league school, is on the list of schools that meet 100% of an applicants need, and may give a small amount of aid even to families making over $200,000.
When information like this is shared, it is always based on having one child in college. One important thing to keep in mind: The more dependent children you have in college at the same time, the more financial aid you may qualify for.
Strictly speaking, if you have two kids in college at the same time and your expected family contribution for one child in college is around say $40,000, your expected contribution for each of the two kids will be around $20,000. However, you may find that this doesn’t come into play at a school unless you make under a certain income amount that the school considers to be low enough for need-based aid.
In a prior post, Determining Your Eligibility for Need-Based Financial Aid, I talked about other variables besides the number of kids in college that go into financial aid determination and how to calculate your eligibility. Make sure you estimate your general eligibility for financial aid through the FAFSA4caster and make sure you estimate your school-specific eligibility through Net Price Calculators. Don’t just assume you’re too wealthy for financial aid across the board.
If you find that your family is unlikely to receive any need-based financial aid based on these calculations, there are other ways to save money on your student’s college education. In another prior post, How High-Income Families Can Save Money on College, I listed some tips.
One other thing to note: Just because the net price calculator for a school doesn’t show any need-based aid does not mean that you definitely won’t receive any. Sometimes, a school that admits your student will come up with a small amount of aid as an extra way to attract him or her to attend. It may not be much, but every little bit helps!