Should High-Income People Apply for College Aid?

It’s not a newsflash to note that college is expensive.  One year at CSU is about $25,000 and at CU it’s about $30,000. (That’s for in-state tuition, room and board and other expenses such as books.) Whether you’re a high-income family or not, it’s good to know that the Department of Education says that “most people are eligible for financial aid for college or career school.” That’s right, most people are eligible for financial aid. Despite this fact, many high-income families assume they won’t qualify for financial aid and so they don’t apply. In most cases, this is leaving money on the table.

Still wondering if you’re too wealthy to qualify? Okay, let’s get specific on eligibility.  A Wall Street Journal analysis determined that a family making less than $350,000/year, with assets of under $1 million with more than one student attending a more expensive school or with more than one child in college should apply for financial aid.

The most important step you can take in applying is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA enables access to all forms of federal aid – Pell Grants are one example.  Each year, the Department of Education provides more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to more than 13 million students paying for college or career school.  So, lots of people receive aid.

Finally, some parents are concerned that applying for financial aid may decrease the chances that their child will be granted admission. This can be a factor, so it’s worth checking to see if your target schools do consider financial aid in their admissions process. Schools are either need-blind or need-aware. Need-blind means that acceptance is not tied to financial aid. Need-aware means that financial aid may be taken into consideration. In practice, even in need-aware situations, aid only seems to be a factor in borderline situations.  As a reference point, both CSU and CU are need-blind.

Financing college is a challenge for most of us. There are many ways to prepare for this expense such as 529 plans. We’d be happy to help you think about funding your kids’ college education or any other financial matters in a no-charge, no-obligation initial meeting.  Just visit our website or give us a call at 970.419.8212 to learn more.

This article is for informational purposes only. This website does not provide tax or investment advice, nor is it an offer or solicitation of any kind to buy or sell any investment products.  Please consult your tax or investment advisor for specific advice.