I understand that the first year a family might be offered large grants (30% of tuition?) etc… but how can I plan for year 2, 3 and 4? Do Grants generally go DOWN for year 2, 3, and 4? For our family the four year total grant amount is more important than a large grant in year 1 and no support in years 2,3 and 4.
It may be useful to present GENERAL guidelines and policies for Willamette so that we as parents and students can understand the general grant money ebb and flow over the entire four years…
This is a great question to ask all of the schools your student is considering. At Willamette, our overall aid policy is to keep student aid awards consistent each year–no “bait and switch”. To that end, the merit scholarships that we offer to students when they are admitted are renewable for 8 semesters, as long as the student stays enrolled full-time and maintains satisfactory academic progress. Funds that are based on the FAFSA only change from one year to the next if your family’s financial situation genuinely changes–if your financial situation worsens, your aid can increase; likewise, your aid could decrease only if your financial situations improves significantly. But in the vast majority of cases, what we offer to a student for their first year at Willamette U. is what we continue to make available for the next four years.
The EFC is only for the student filing that FAFSA. So if a family has two students in college, each of those students files a FAFSA, and each student gets an EFC. The same parent information would have been entered on each FAFSA, and was then used to calculate each student’s EFC. Here’s more info than you probably want: the FAFSA formula calculates a student contribution (SC) based on student income and assets, and a parent contribution (PC) based on parent income and assets, which are then combined to form the total EFC. When there is more than one child in the family in college, the PC is divided evenly by the number of siblings in college, then it is combined with the SC to make the total EFC. Parents are assumed to have a specific dollar amount from their income and assets to contribute to college for a year, and the FAFSA formula divides that amount by the number of siblings in college as part of the overall EFC calculation. Clear as mud, right?
At all schools, for students who have Financial Need, scholarship funds are first used to meet that Need. So at Willamette U. the math in the scenario you’ve described works like this: we will take our Cost (approx. $51K) minus your EFC ($9K), and your child’s Need at Willamette would be $42,000. We will then meet as much of that need as we can with Willamette funding, federal loans, and federal work study + any other sholarships she’s getting (including the $14K she’s already been offered). You would still need to cover the EFC from other sources.
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