Paying for College

Will Foreclosure Affect EFC?

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 for ideas.

--applying for scholarships that you'll find on sites like 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.