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Articles / Paying for College / Will Foreclosure Affect EFC?

Will Foreclosure Affect EFC?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 24, 2010

Question: If my stepfather, who makes over $300,000 a year, goes through a foreclosure within the next year, will this affect our EFC? The EFC is over $30,000, so I won't get any financial aid, but my parents say they don't have the money to pay for my college now. I haven't been able to find any scholarships that I would be eligible for. I don't know if loans are my only option or not. Do you have any advice for me?

Given your stepfather's high income, it is highly unlikely that a foreclosure-in-progress will affect your Expected Family Contribution, unless the foreclosure is on a property from which he derives a large chunk of his income (e.g., if he owns a big apartment complex which produces significant income for him, and it's that complex which is now in foreclosure).

But note:

1) If your EFC is $30,000+, you would still qualify for some need-based financial aid at colleges that cost more than that ... which includes a lot of private colleges.

2) If your mother happens to have joint custody with your father (not stepfather), and if you can say that you live with him at least 51% of the time, then those colleges that use ONLY the FAFSA form (and not the CSS Profile form) will not look at your stepfather's income, only at your father's (which, if lower, will mean a lower EFC).

Neither of these considerations may apply to you or will give you assistance you need, but I figured it couldn't hurt to mention them.

In addition, you should be:

--applying to colleges that offer merit aid and where your "profile" (grades, test scores, etc.) make you a very strong candidate. These may not be your "dream colleges" but they will allow you to get an affordable education. I am convinced that any student can get an excellent education almost anywhere, and it can often be wise to be at the top of your class, where you may have the best access to faculty attention, research opportunities, leadership opportunities, etc. See www.meritaid.com for ideas.

--applying for scholarships that you'll find on sites like www.fastweb.com If you haven't done so already, complete the Fast Web questionnaire which will direct you to scholarships for which you will be eligible. All will require an application process--some more complex than others--but you might even find some that are actually fun to go after.

You may have a bumpy road ahead of you, but you should be able to find some options out there, despite the obstacles at home.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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