Often when I write these posts, I address them to upper middle class (UMC) parents who have one child in college. I often forget that parents, of course, are sending two or more kids to college. That’s an incredible financial burden on a family, even if parents are happy to do so.
To make the burden even heavier, I found out that parents are not considered part of the financial aid formula if s/he is also a student. In other words, if mom or dad is going for her/his PhD or Master’s, well, that doesn’t count toward a person in college. It’s pretty unfair, if you ask me. Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder, who makes these rules?
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s go back to talking about the kids. The federal government’s formula is simple. They divide the parents’ contribution by the number of dependent children in college. Then they get a per child contribution.
Paying for College Without Going Broke cites the College Board formula: “If there are two [dependent children] in college, the parents’ contribution for each student will be 60 percent of the total parents’ contribution.” For three kids, 45 percent; four or more kids, 35 percent.
Again, I’m left wondering who makes these rules.
Either way, it’s good to know because parents who are sending two or more kids to college seem to fare better at least in the federal financial aid formula. It’s a simple division of children, but the College Board seems to be less forgiving.
It’s best to do your research and know all the rules when sending more than one kid to college. You can only benefit from understanding how the system works, even if it can be unfair.
~ the WPC team