I don't qualify for any aid?

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I don't qualify for any aid?

Postby splash79 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:22 am

Hello! I was wondering if someone could clue me in on why I may not qualify for any financial aid, according to an EFC estimator I found on studentaid.gov. When I was younger, I attended college and filled out the FAFSA, so I'm familiar with the process. My situation has changed since then, so that's partially why I'm thrown by what I've come across. Here's a quick rundown on me and my situation.

I am now a non-traditionally aged student, who is married and has no children. I am currently attending classes at a community college and have managed to pay my tuition without financial help, but hope to transfer to a 4 year school in the spring. I have not filled out a FAFSA yet, just used the calculator to figure my EFC.

Based on my information, my EFC is almost $15,000 and I (basically) don't qualify for aid. It did say that I may be elibigle for a unsubsidized Stafford loan "based on recent legislation". Tuition for the school I'm wanting to attend will be around $10,000 a year, so less than my EFC. There is absolutely no way I can afford that amount of tuition out of pocket. I am currently unemployed and we are barely getting by on my husband's income.

So, based on this limited amount of information, does it sound like I did the calculator correctly? And where can I find information about this "recent legislation"?
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Re: I don't qualify for any aid?

Postby FAO_Jona » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:18 am


It sounds like you and your wife may make to much money to qualify for a Pell Grant, but it is important to remember that a Pell Grant and Student loans are different things. When you fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the document that determines you Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) the only thing that it determines is 1. what your EFC is, and 2. what amount of Pell, if any, you are eligable for. Student loans like the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan you mentioned are not determined nor affected by the FAFSA or your income.

With regard to the FAFSA and your EFC: I am going to make the assumption that when you did the EFC estimator you provided both you and your wifes income, which would be what you will have to provide when you do complete a FAFSA. Being that you are married and have no children, you and your wifes combined income would have to be quite low for you to be eligable for a Pell Grant. Also, if you have a Bachelors Degree then that would automatically exclude you from a Pell Grant.

With regard to student loans: Student loans are not awarded based on income like Pell Grants. Factors that play a role in what a student is eligable for are; current grade level, amount of previous aid, independent/dependent status and academic standing.

The new legislation is likely the 1.4 billion dollars that has been earmarked for adults seeking to continue their education. This is most definitely a good time to get back into school if you can qualifiy.

The best advice I can give you is to go and sit down with the a financial aid counselor at the college you wish to attend and they will be able to provide you with your options.

Hope this helps,

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Re: I don't qualify for any aid?

Postby splash79 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:16 pm


(BTW, I'm the wife in this scenerio. :) ) Yes, I had an assumption that we made too much money to qualify for a Pell Grant, not really because of our income level, but because I had received them in the past and know they are for low income students. I just wasn't sure what "low income" means in their terms, because my prior family situation (when I was a traditionally aged student) was unique. So, I basically figured we wouldn't qualify, but I was curious as to why the EFC stated we didn't qualify for subsidized stafford loans. Not that there's a huge difference, but I thought that was kind of strange.

I'm going on the assumption that Pell Grants are for very low income families, subsidized stafford loans are for slightly more 'well off' income levels, and that unsubsidized stafford loans are for people who aren't considered low income, but don't have access to cash reserves to pay for their education.

At this point in my education, I don't have a bachelors, so I wouldn't be excluded from a Pell Grant, so I'm thinking it's income based. And I'm not at all complaining about not qualifying for a Pell Grant, not at all. If it wasn't for me qualifying for the Pell, I wouldn't have been able to have started college in the first place.

To answer some questions to may have had: My current grade level is sophomore status and I anticipate obtaining my associates degree in July, and hope to continue my education soon after. My amount of previous aid: my first two years of school, I received Pell Grants that paid for the entirety of my education. The last semester that I attended college (at that time) I took out a loan to pay for room and board. The short version of this is that I came from a very poor background (and had additional circumstances) and was the first in my family to go to college. I had a family tragedy my sophomore year, which required me to take out additional aid for school. I dropped out of school soon after, but decided to continue my degree after a 7 year absense. I have paid for the past year of my schooling out of pocket with no external help. I am (obviously) considered an independent student, because I am married (and nearing 30). My academic standing, frankly, isn't that great. I made some serious mistakes after what happened my sophomore year, but have managed to get close to a 3.0 in my studies since I've returned to school.

That is good to know about the 1.4 billion earmarked for adult education. I was under the assumption that most of the education money in the new plan was for traditional students.

I do plan to sit down with people at the school where I hope to attend in order to discuss my options, but am gathering information beforehand, so that I have some information and can know what questions I need/should be asking. You have been a great help, so thank you!
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Re: I don't qualify for any aid?

Postby lknopp1 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:21 pm

The Federal Aid requirements for the Pell Grant program have changed recently as a result of the enactment of the SAFRA bill. The maximum EFC cutoff threshold for the Pell Grant is now set at 5,273, and you must have an EFC below this value in order to become eligible for the Pell Grant. It is very difficult to modify your EFC without decreasing your income, with the other two factors that play a significant role being the number of family members from your household who may be attending college, and the overall size of your family. The Pell Grant was designed for students with an "exceptional" financial need, so you may simply make too much money to qualify.
Last edited by lknopp1 on Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: I don't qualify for any aid?

Postby samanthab » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:00 am

This is all really great advice, I'm glad you're forming a good list of questions to bring to your financial aid office.

Scholarships are another way to help finance your tuition and student often forget about this helpful option or don't apply to enough of them. Since you are already being pretty proactive, you should add scholarship applications to your to-do list. Start at search for scholarships at StudentScholarshipSearch.com and win free scholarships at ScholarshipPoints.com.

Once you've exhausted your benefits you can also look into taking out a private student loan to cover the rest...
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