Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Financial Aid => Topic started by: RedWine on January 12, 2007, 01:21:23 PM

Title: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on January 12, 2007, 01:21:23 PM
I'm having a really hard time with all the 2007 estimates they want filled in.  How am I supposed to know how much financial aid I anticipate receiving next year -- isn't this why I'm filling out the wretched form in the first place? 

Also, the way they have things broken down into academic year and summer categories is confusing because I'm going to be leaving my job about halfway through the summer but I'm not exactly sure when, so I really don't know how much my earnings for June through either mid-July or early August will be.  Yet I have to plug in both my estimated earnings for the year and my estimated summer earnings, even though the summer earnings will be included in the whole amount and I don't know what either of those amounts are.  I won't know how much student health insurance will be until the school tells me, yet they require an estimate of that -- my current insurance through work is awesome and cheap, so I don't know what it's like anywhere else.  And on, and on, and on.

Is anyone else experiencing this, or am I just particularly dumb about this stuff?  This form is horrible and the website doesn't give any real instructions about anything.  Argh.  Help!?!
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: EEtoJD on January 12, 2007, 03:09:11 PM
tag
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Denny Crane on January 12, 2007, 09:47:45 PM
NeedAccess is the devil, pure and simple.  What helps me is the fact that I will be able to input "zero" for so many of the fields, especially the ones pertaining to my own finances.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: zephyr on January 13, 2007, 04:14:02 PM
tag
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Zam on January 13, 2007, 04:23:05 PM
I have to fill out the Need Access but I haven't yet.

I'm scared of it.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: knicksfan0323 on January 14, 2007, 06:19:19 PM
I HATE the needaccess form. It makes absolutely no sense. My parents are divorced and I'm not sure where I should be filling out what.

And to make matters worse, my mom is disabled and I support her 100% financially. She lives with me and my husband and I have no idea how to account for that.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Denny Crane on January 14, 2007, 06:22:09 PM
I HATE the needaccess form. It makes absolutely no sense. My parents are divorced and I'm not sure where I should be filling out what.

And to make matters worse, my mom is disabled and I support her 100% financially. She lives with me and my husband and I have no idea how to account for that.

I haven't completed the NeedAccess form yet, but if they ask for combined parental info, I assume that your mother does not generate an income, so you would probably just have to put your father's info.  To account for your mother, you might want to just list her as one of your dependents. 
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: EEtoJD on January 14, 2007, 10:41:04 PM
Um, tag.

Man this is gonna suck to fill out.

Yup. Especially when one of your parents is a male private part and hasn't and won't ever tell you his finances. The other parent has to tell me on the QT.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Electric Counterpoint on January 15, 2007, 02:42:31 PM
I'm having a really hard time with all the 2007 estimates they want filled in.  How am I supposed to know how much financial aid I anticipate receiving next year -- isn't this why I'm filling out the wretched form in the first place? 

Also, the way they have things broken down into academic year and summer categories is confusing because I'm going to be leaving my job about halfway through the summer but I'm not exactly sure when, so I really don't know how much my earnings for June through either mid-July or early August will be.  Yet I have to plug in both my estimated earnings for the year and my estimated summer earnings, even though the summer earnings will be included in the whole amount and I don't know what either of those amounts are.  I won't know how much student health insurance will be until the school tells me, yet they require an estimate of that -- my current insurance through work is awesome and cheap, so I don't know what it's like anywhere else.  And on, and on, and on.

Is anyone else experiencing this, or am I just particularly dumb about this stuff?  This form is horrible and the website doesn't give any real instructions about anything.  Argh.  Help!?!

Are you sure it's asking you how much financial aid you'll receive next year? I filled my form out last night and, horrible though it was, I don't remember that question. It definitely asked about financial aid during undergrad, though.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Electric Counterpoint on January 15, 2007, 02:53:17 PM
I'm having a really hard time with all the 2007 estimates they want filled in.  How am I supposed to know how much financial aid I anticipate receiving next year -- isn't this why I'm filling out the wretched form in the first place? 

Also, the way they have things broken down into academic year and summer categories is confusing because I'm going to be leaving my job about halfway through the summer but I'm not exactly sure when, so I really don't know how much my earnings for June through either mid-July or early August will be.  Yet I have to plug in both my estimated earnings for the year and my estimated summer earnings, even though the summer earnings will be included in the whole amount and I don't know what either of those amounts are.  I won't know how much student health insurance will be until the school tells me, yet they require an estimate of that -- my current insurance through work is awesome and cheap, so I don't know what it's like anywhere else.  And on, and on, and on.

Is anyone else experiencing this, or am I just particularly dumb about this stuff?  This form is horrible and the website doesn't give any real instructions about anything.  Argh.  Help!?!

Are you sure it's asking you how much financial aid you'll receive next year? I filled my form out last night and, horrible though it was, I don't remember that question. It definitely asked about financial aid during undergrad, though.
I HATE the needaccess form. It makes absolutely no sense. My parents are divorced and I'm not sure where I should be filling out what.

And to make matters worse, my mom is disabled and I support her 100% financially. She lives with me and my husband and I have no idea how to account for that.

You should be listing her as a dependent on your taxes, the FAFSA, and Need Access (but you can only have dependents if you yourself are not being claimed as a dependent by anyone else). Beyond that, I would indicate in the "special circumstances" area of the form (the very last box they ask you to fill in, both on the student's and parents' form) that she's disabled. You might also want to call the Fin Aid offices of the schools you're applying to -- this sounds like a pretty big issue.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: knicksfan0323 on January 15, 2007, 03:40:27 PM
I'm having a really hard time with all the 2007 estimates they want filled in.  How am I supposed to know how much financial aid I anticipate receiving next year -- isn't this why I'm filling out the wretched form in the first place? 

Also, the way they have things broken down into academic year and summer categories is confusing because I'm going to be leaving my job about halfway through the summer but I'm not exactly sure when, so I really don't know how much my earnings for June through either mid-July or early August will be.  Yet I have to plug in both my estimated earnings for the year and my estimated summer earnings, even though the summer earnings will be included in the whole amount and I don't know what either of those amounts are.  I won't know how much student health insurance will be until the school tells me, yet they require an estimate of that -- my current insurance through work is awesome and cheap, so I don't know what it's like anywhere else.  And on, and on, and on.

Is anyone else experiencing this, or am I just particularly dumb about this stuff?  This form is horrible and the website doesn't give any real instructions about anything.  Argh.  Help!?!

Are you sure it's asking you how much financial aid you'll receive next year? I filled my form out last night and, horrible though it was, I don't remember that question. It definitely asked about financial aid during undergrad, though.
I HATE the needaccess form. It makes absolutely no sense. My parents are divorced and I'm not sure where I should be filling out what.

And to make matters worse, my mom is disabled and I support her 100% financially. She lives with me and my husband and I have no idea how to account for that.

You should be listing her as a dependent on your taxes, the FAFSA, and Need Access (but you can only have dependents if you yourself are not being claimed as a dependent by anyone else). Beyond that, I would indicate in the "special circumstances" area of the form (the very last box they ask you to fill in, both on the student's and parents' form) that she's disabled. You might also want to call the Fin Aid offices of the schools you're applying to -- this sounds like a pretty big issue.

I do list her as a dependent on my taxes and Fafsa. I am definetely not claimed as a dependent by anyone. My Mom is actually going to call NeedAcess to figure out how to handle this.

32s. Number of Family Members
Enter the number of people that the parents will support between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. Include AT LEAST the following (always INCLUDE the student applicant, even if the student applicant does not live with the parents): 3 = 2 parents (married) + student applicant 2 = 1 parent (single/divorced/sep/widowed) + student applicant Include other people only if they now live with and get more than half their support from the parents, and will continue to get this support between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. Support includes money, gifts, loans, housing, food, clothes, vehicle, medical and dental care, payment of college costs, etc. If the student is completing this section for the parents, be sure not to include any dependents of the student. This question is for dependents of the parents


Thanks for all of the advice guys, I really appreciate it!
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on January 15, 2007, 09:13:52 PM

Are you sure it's asking you how much financial aid you'll receive next year? I filled my form out last night and, horrible though it was, I don't remember that question. It definitely asked about financial aid during undergrad, though.


I *think* that the amount of financial aid you receive in excess of tuition, fees, and books (i.e. living expenses) is considered taxable income.  I could be wrong, but question 4v seems to indicate this.  Anyone who knows differently, please chime in!
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on January 15, 2007, 09:35:17 PM
I remember from undergrad that any scholarships and grants not used to pay for tuition/fees/books had to be claimed.  However, since my college was primarily residential, all of our living expenses were included in the cost of attendance that the school based financial aid on, sort of like a student budget at law school.  Since we were living on campus and eating in the dining hall, the money awarded by the school as grants still went directly back to them -- since it never actually came to me, and I didn't have to worry about it on my taxes.  I'm not sure how this works with graduate studies and living off-campus, though, so that's what I'm confused about.  I guess I'll just put zero on the assumption that I don't have any grants or scholarships at the moment, and stop worrying.  And contact my undergrad to see if they can still tell me how much I received in grants from them, because that's something I've long since forgotten.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: perfect pint on January 16, 2007, 12:47:37 PM
Can you estimate 2006 tax info on Need Access? I know that for FAFSA you can estimate 2006 info and just update it when you actually file your taxes, but does anyone know if this is also the case for Need Access?

Also, is there some kind of deadline by which you must update it? My dad tells me he always gets an extension and doesn't file until August, so that seems like that would be a problem, no?

Much thanks for anyone who can help!
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on January 16, 2007, 01:05:46 PM
I don't know about estimates/updates, but Penn's deadline for filing the Need Access is March 1st.  My parents aren't even doing their taxes until mid-March.  So either they accept the estimate or I don't go to Penn (if I even get in).
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Jackie Chiles, ESQ. on January 20, 2007, 05:17:34 PM
do schools want us to wait until we know if we are going or not? or fill it out anyway?
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: zephyr on January 20, 2007, 05:21:41 PM
do schools want us to wait until we know if we are going or not? or fill it out anyway?

no, do it anyway.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Electric Counterpoint on January 21, 2007, 02:31:48 PM

Are you sure it's asking you how much financial aid you'll receive next year? I filled my form out last night and, horrible though it was, I don't remember that question. It definitely asked about financial aid during undergrad, though.


I *think* that the amount of financial aid you receive in excess of tuition, fees, and books (i.e. living expenses) is considered taxable income.  I could be wrong, but question 4v seems to indicate this.  Anyone who knows differently, please chime in!

Yes, regrettably, it is taxable. If you're not sure exactly what the sum is, I think it's on the 1098-T from your university.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on January 21, 2007, 09:25:57 PM
Yes, regrettably, it is taxable. If you're not sure exactly what the sum is, I think it's on the 1098-T from your university.

I'm not in school anymore so I don't have to worry about 2006, but the question I referred to on NeedAccess asks (in the fine print) what you estimate the taxable portion of your financial aid for 2007 will be, which I won't know until they tell me what my financial aid will be...round robin, round robin.  Blech.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: mufich on January 21, 2007, 11:26:10 PM
Can you estimate 2006 tax info on Need Access? I know that for FAFSA you can estimate 2006 info and just update it when you actually file your taxes, but does anyone know if this is also the case for Need Access?

Also, is there some kind of deadline by which you must update it? My dad tells me he always gets an extension and doesn't file until August, so that seems like that would be a problem, no?

Much thanks for anyone who can help!

Good question. I don't know the answer, but I'm just going to wait until I get my W-2s  -- hopefully it'll be done then before mid February, which I think is early enough...
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Ersatz on January 22, 2007, 01:02:17 AM
I've still got to do this.

/groan

/tag

Is there a list available that details all the schools that require Need Access? I know I can figure it out on a case-by-case basis, but given the obsessive nature of the LSD posters, it seems like someone would have come up with a master list by now.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: zephyr on January 22, 2007, 07:16:45 AM
Need Access has a "list of participating schools."
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: knicksfan0323 on January 22, 2007, 07:41:39 AM
I've still got to do this.

/groan

/tag

Is there a list available that details all the schools that require Need Access? I know I can figure it out on a case-by-case basis, but given the obsessive nature of the LSD posters, it seems like someone would have come up with a master list by now.

Because I love you all :)

Schools that require Need Access (according to the list on their website)

American University Washington College of Law
Appalachian School of Law
Boston College Law School
Boston University
Brooklyn Law School
Columbia University law School
Cornell University Law School
Georgetown
Harvard
Hofstra
New York Law School
Stanford
Thomas M. Cooley
UC Davis School of Law
UCLA
UC-Berkeley
University of Chicago
University of DC - David A. Clarke School of Law
University of Maryland - Baltimore School of Law
University of Michigan Law School
University of New Mexico School of Law
University of Pennsylvania School of Law
Vanderbilt University Law School
Yale
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Denny Crane on January 22, 2007, 07:43:17 AM
You are more helpful than most of us on LSD deserve.   ;)
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Ersatz on January 22, 2007, 08:06:11 AM
Excellent, thanks!
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Lawbster on January 29, 2007, 04:06:02 PM
so does anyone on here know how Need access weighs student versus parental funds? im thinking the little savings i have would hurt me less if in the hands of my mom and listed under her name...
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: zephyr on January 30, 2007, 09:32:27 PM
i just submitted mine. what a pain in the balls.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Zam on January 31, 2007, 06:49:39 AM
i just submitted mine. what a pain in the balls.

Any tips?
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: zephyr on January 31, 2007, 08:00:04 AM
print out the worksheets first to get an idea of the info you need to collect. and have your parent do the same.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: xk on February 01, 2007, 07:35:57 AM
What kind of information should go under special circumstances?  I had been working for about two years in the public sector, but I have since quit.  I plan on doing a fair amount of international travel (South America and Asia) before starting school.  That's not something I should include, is it?
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on February 01, 2007, 09:01:37 AM
For mine, I wrote that I will obviously be quitting my job before school and will therefore have no guaranteed income for the next few years, and also that I have a younger brother who will be going to college while I'm in law school so my parents will be paying for him, not me.  I'm not sure travel plans count, though.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: 'tiki on February 04, 2007, 02:50:21 PM
OMG I started the needaccess online today. I had printed out the worksheets and thought ok this won't be horrible but then when you think you are done with the student section...BAM! more questions that are school specific pop up!! grrr.  ??? Question... Can one submit the needaccess without including schools one is still waiting to hear from and then add them if you are accepted or must they be included in the original submission? It's $45 I do not want to spend if I don't have to.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Special Agent Dana Scully on February 04, 2007, 08:27:51 PM
OMG I started the needaccess online today. I had printed out the worksheets and thought ok this won't be horrible but then when you think you are done with the student section...BAM! more questions that are school specific pop up!! grrr.  ??? Question... Can one submit the needaccess without including schools one is still waiting to hear from and then add them if you are accepted or must they be included in the original submission? It's $45 I do not want to spend if I don't have to.

Nope, gotta pay twice if you do that.

what do you mean pay twice?  so right now i have mich and vandy.  lets say i get into penn of the wl...it would only be the 15 for penn at that time right?
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: kristen823 on February 07, 2007, 10:31:14 AM
I just finished the student part of this... I feel like I answered the same questions like 5 times each. Its like some bizarre interrogation where they try to catch you in lies by asking the same question in slightly different ways. Instead, I just got confused and thought I must have misinterpreted the question before because they wouldn't be asking me the same thing again...Grrr!!!! Ok, sorry, just needed to vent my frustrations.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: degrassi on February 07, 2007, 02:51:43 PM
Can anyone provide any clarity regarding the 2007 estimates? I am having the same issue as the OP. I have no... seriously, NO... idea where I will be working this summer, if at all. So how could I possibly estimate my summer income? And all of the specific things about taxes for 2007, how could I ever know this stuff??

Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on February 07, 2007, 03:00:10 PM
Exactly.

I just estimated on the low end for income and high end for expenses, and be it what it will.  I also told the Director of Financial Aid at Penn that it was an unnecessarily difficult form.  He agreed, but I probably should have waited for a decision from them before I said it so bluntly.  Sigh.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Edna St. Vincent Millay on February 15, 2007, 01:18:38 PM
Its like some bizarre interrogation where they try to catch you in lies by asking the same question in slightly different ways.

exactly! hahaha.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Zam on February 15, 2007, 01:30:34 PM
My parents finally gave me their tax info and that means I actually have to do the form.

I was just looking again at what you should have at hand and noticed they want info on mortgages. Seriously? They want info on my parents mortgages?
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: EEtoJD on February 15, 2007, 02:41:26 PM
My parents finally gave me their tax info and that means I actually have to do the form.

I was just looking again at what you should have at hand and noticed they want info on mortgages. Seriously? They want info on my parents mortgages?

It is an unnecessarily obtrusive form which has driven my paranoid stepfather to give me absolutely no information.

I wish that this:

((___))
[ x x ]
 \   /
 (' ')
  (U)


would replace their website indefinitely (if you don't know what it is, don't worry. It's not actually there. In fact, you're seeing things. You should get that checked out).
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: Zam on February 15, 2007, 02:44:01 PM
My parents finally gave me their tax info and that means I actually have to do the form.

I was just looking again at what you should have at hand and noticed they want info on mortgages. Seriously? They want info on my parents mortgages?

It is an unnecessarily obtrusive form which has driven my paranoid stepfather to give me absolutely no information.

I wish that this:

((___))
[ x x ]
 \   /
 (' ')
  (U)


would replace their website indefinitely (if you don't know what it is, don't worry. It's not actually there. In fact, you're seeing things. You should get that checked out).

 :D

I like your picture.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: EEtoJD on February 15, 2007, 02:47:18 PM
My parents finally gave me their tax info and that means I actually have to do the form.

I was just looking again at what you should have at hand and noticed they want info on mortgages. Seriously? They want info on my parents mortgages?

It is an unnecessarily obtrusive form which has driven my paranoid stepfather to give me absolutely no information.

I wish that this:

((___))
[ x x ]
 \   /
 (' ')
  (U)


would replace their website indefinitely (if you don't know what it is, don't worry. It's not actually there. In fact, you're seeing things. You should get that checked out).

 :D

I like your picture.

The cow, or the pig? :)
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on February 15, 2007, 09:08:32 PM
Well, my dad and I had a conference call yesterday so I could walk him through the form.  My parents were fairly reasonable about giving me the info, although my dad did howl a few times ("WHAT?  Why the HELL do they need to know what kind of car I drive??"  "WHAT?  How the HELL do I know how much I'm going to pay in taxes next year??").  However, they haven't actually had their taxes done yet so it was all an estimate, and I'm not sure he put a whole lot of effort into estimating.  Not that I blame him.  I also told him that if he wanted to write in the "special circumstances" column that they would absolutely not be paying for any of my law school costs (which is true), that was fine with me because I'm not expecting it anyway.  But anything to get the info on the stupid form.

I also couldn't get anything out of my undergrad about how much I got in grants from them, even after bugging them for over three weeks.  So I had to estimate that, too.  I'm currently extremely annoyed at institutions of higher education.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: EEtoJD on February 15, 2007, 09:15:32 PM
Well, my dad and I had a conference call yesterday so I could walk him through the form.  My parents were fairly reasonable about giving me the info, although my dad did howl a few times ("WHAT?  Why the HELL do they need to know what kind of car I drive??"  "WHAT?  How the HELL do I know how much I'm going to pay in taxes next year??").  However, they haven't actually had their taxes done yet so it was all an estimate, and I'm not sure he put a whole lot of effort into estimating.  Not that I blame him.  I also told him that if he wanted to write in the "special circumstances" column that they would absolutely not be paying for any of my law school costs (which is true), that was fine with me because I'm not expecting it anyway.  But anything to get the info on the stupid form.

Yeah, don't worry about next year's estimate. Glad you got the info. out of him, though!

Quote
I also couldn't get anything out of my undergrad about how much I got in grants from them, even after bugging them for over three weeks.  So I had to estimate that, too.  I'm currently extremely annoyed at institutions of higher education.

Yikes. You don't have a financial aid website that has that sort of stuff? Also, what sort of grants? If they're gov't. grants, you can find out from the FAFSA website, I think.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Need Access
Post by: RedWine on February 16, 2007, 08:16:06 AM
Not government grants, they were institutional grants from the college.  I've been out of school a few years, and there was no website like that when I was in school.  Even if there is one now (which, knowing my undergrad, I highly doubt), my info definitely wouldn't be on it.  All my parents ever got after my initial aid package for my first year was a bill saying how much the total cost of attendance was, how much was canceled out by loans and grants, and how much they actually had to pay.  And if they still have those filed away somewhere, they're nowhere to be found.