6 months ago
Admissions Advice

How one time bonus affect financial aids

My kids will go to college in Fall 2022. I had one time of bonus about $50,000 in year 2018 and 2019. and the income come back to normal salary in 2020. My question is how those bonus will affect my kids's financial aids chance when he start apply college in Fall 2021.

He has already took SAT test with score of 1560, and his PSAT test in October has scored of 1510. Will this be considered in financial aids when he apply college?

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@ajdekon6 months ago

I'm not sure about the bonus, but SAT scores don't affect need-based aid from colleges. They can help with merit-based aid, like scholarships that you need a certain SAT/ACT or GPA for, and a 1560 is a great score for that.

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1 answer

6 months ago[edited]

Only your family's income and assets for the year 2020 will be considered for financial aid if your kids start college in 2022. This includes you and any other person in your household that has any form of income from a job, trust, or inheritance, or stock dividends. For Fall 2021, they only look at 2019 documents, there is a 2-year lag.

When you apply for financial aid you will have to fill out the FAFSA form and the more detailed CSS Profile. Each college or university has its own unique requirements. If you are married, then they will require both parent's information. If you are divorced or separated, then the colleges will require financial information from the non-custodial parent as well. Also, if your kids work, or have assets (Savings) or a Trust, they consider that as well.

Some schools like Harvard and Dartmouth want very detailed information including a business Pro-forma if you are self-employed as and very detailed information on your assets like how many cars you own/lease, their value, and very detailed information on family trusts.

Since you are not low income, be prepared to file both the FAFSA and CSS Profile each and every year for 4 years unless you do not wish or need to apply for financial aid.

I would recommend that you use the free NPC Net Price Calculators on the Big Future Section of College boards website or look for NPC calculators on each of the colleges they wish to apply to. If you make $150,000+ sometimes the State Schools do not offer much financial aid however the best colleges in America have a sliding scale of financial aid so you still may qualify for some financial aid.

To answer your last question, your son's high SAT and PSAT does not matter for financial aid for 99% of the Top Schools. For instance, none of the Ivy League, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Rice, UChicago, Vanderbilt, Duke, etc have merit scholarships because everyone admitted to those schools have high test scores like your sons. However, USC does give a 50% tuition merit scholarship for students who are Merit Scholarship finalists and your son's score would qualify for that. There are also many merit scholarships available for other good schools like Washington & Lee, Trinity College, Virginia, William & Mary, University of Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, but you have to do your own research to determine what the amounts are. The best ones are a full-ride scholarship but typically your son would have to write numerous additional essays, interview and submit his transcript and other recommendations for a merit scholarship. (These are very competitive to get so think about 5%, in some cases, there is a cutoff like Willaim and Mary you have to be in the top 99% of applicants to get the full ride)) The catch-22 is that often those that get full-ride scholarships to schools in the Top 25 to Top 75 are students who are qualified to attend Ivy league or Near Ivy league schools whose parents do not really qualify for much financial aid but they still want their kids to get an excellent education. This sort of compromise has to be discussed and worked out between the kids and their parents.

If you and your son's goals are to attend only an Ivy League, then you have to realize that Test Scores are downplayed this year and possibly next year as well. There are many many more students applying to Top schools this year. In 3 to 4 months when admissions rates come out for RD you will see that some schools may get up to 50% more applicants. During early decision this fall, MIT got 62% more applicants, Harvard 57% more and Columbia 49% more applicants, and so forth and the admit rates were about 25% to 50% less than last year. (4.77%, 7.4%, and less than 10% for Columbia early decision). This just tells me that Regular decision will be record-low admission rates like 4-5% for top schools. Why I'm bringing this up is that he should be focusing on his extracurriculars, taking the most challenging classes, and doing some outside research or internships to have a better chance at the top schools.

Hope this is helpful to you.


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