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How much do personal assets affect gift aid?

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:56 am
by JudgeTiddlywinks
I'm trying to figure out how to handle my financial assets prior to declaring them for law school financial aid purposes. Is it worth giving away money, or similarly not accepting money, for the purpose of minimizing expected personal contribution?

Re: How much do personal assets affect gift aid?

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:33 am
by A. Nony Mouse
It looks like this is really only pertinent for HYS. Are you a competitive applicant for those schools? For the majority of schools expected personal contribution is irrelevant - you get merit aid or you take out loans (which you can get regardless of your financial situation, assuming your credit is fine).

Re: How much do personal assets affect gift aid?

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:07 pm
by JudgeTiddlywinks
A. Nony Mouse wrote:It looks like this is really only pertinent for HYS. Are you a competitive applicant for those schools?


LSAT is 173, so not out of the running. GPA could be better, but justifiable via my info and hoping other unique softs are attractive.

What do you think re: HYS? I guess this can wait until post-admission results, but interested in the answer regardless of where I end up.

Re: How much do personal assets affect gift aid?

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:18 pm
by A. Nony Mouse
I don't have any personal familiarity with how their financial aid works. My understanding is that HYS do take assets into consideration when calculating aid (for instance, if you work a high-paid job over the summer your aid for the following year is reduced), but I don't know how exactly (how assets play into this versus income) or what the best method of handling this is. FWIW, their need-based aid is capped so even someone with the max need-based aid will be taking some loans to cover the cost of attendance.

Re: How much do personal assets affect gift aid?

Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:52 pm
by hdunlop
IDK about Yale but Harvard and Stanford do expect you to use a percentage of assets for school. I believe that the latter does not count tax advantaged retirement accounts.

Re: How much do personal assets affect gift aid?

Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:59 pm
by EnderWiggin
H will assess a contribution of essentially all personal assets for need-based aid. The amount is divided evenly over three years so that your annual contribution will be 1/3 of of your assets at the time of your financial aid application, sans a small emergency allowance.

So there is, in some circumstances, an incentive to spend down assets between now and the date of your financial aid application, although for obvious reasons this isn't advisable for the vast majority of people (not guaranteed admission, uncertainties of if you will qualify for grant aid and how much your financial aid award might be, whether some or all of your projected grant aid ends up being an institutional loan instead, etc.)

Info about H's treatment of students' personal assets for financial aid is available here.