How does selecting an off-campus apartment or living with family affect my financial aid eligibility?
Many financial aid awards, including the Federal subsidized student loan and Skidmore Grant awards, are based on a calculation of family financial need. The way in which colleges determine financial need follows this general formula:
Estimated Costs of Attendance (less) Calculated Family Contribution = Demonstrated Financial Need
It is standard procedure, and Skidmore is audited in the process, to adjust the students’ estimated costs of attendance based on housing choices. In fact, this is why there is a question about housing on the FAFSA and Profile financial aid applications. The financial aid office follows Federal guidelines in using general average costs to determine the Cost of Attendance for students.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, the on-campus (double room, full meal plan) cost of attendance we use is $76,520, which includes $15,524 for room and board, $7,762 per semester. We begin the determination of your financial aid eligibility with this baseline budget, and then make changes if Residential Life advises us you are living off-campus locally, or with family, for the year or semester. You can view your estimated cost of attendance in the Financial Aid section of the Skidmore Student System.
If you live in an off-campus apartment, we will ask for a copy of your lease/rental agreement for confirmation. We will then adjust your estimated costs, reducing them by $2,184 for the year, or $1,092 for the semester, even though the bill will be reduced by $15,524 for the year, $7,762 for the semester. The reduction in the estimated cost of attendance is less than the reduction in the bill because we are still factoring in average student off-campus living expenses. The amount used in estimated costs of attendance for rent/utilities is $882/month for 9 months, and the amount used in the estimated costs of attendance for groceries is $591/month for 9 months. Unfortunately, if you sign a lease or rental agreement for time periods that are beyond the dates of the fall or spring semesters, those additional weeks/months cannot be considered in the determination of your financial aid eligibility. As we use average amounts for living expenses, it is possible that your costs may be lower – or higher – than this average. If your costs are lower, you will be saving money compared to living on campus. If your costs are higher, then you will be spending more money compared to living on campus.
If you are living with family, we will adjust your estimated costs of attendance, compared to living on campus. We will reduce the estimated costs of attendance by $10,600 for the year, $5,300 for the semester. Compared to living on campus in a double room with the full meal plan, the bill will be reduced by $15,524 for the year, $7,762 for the semester. Even though your billable charges will be less, we will recognize there are additional costs for your family when you are home, for food and utilities. We factor in $4,942 for the academic year, $2,471 per semester to account for these additional living expenses while you are living with family. Unfortunately, we cannot increase this amount if your family charges you rent or fees for living home.
Changes in housing status – Fall Semester to Spring Semester
If you are living off-campus in an apartment or with family for the fall semester, and move on campus for spring, we will increase your estimated costs of attendance (and financial aid, as appropriate) when Residential Life notifies us of your change in housing. If you are living on campus for the fall semester, and move off-campus or with family for spring, we will decrease your estimated costs (and financial aid, as appropriate) when Residential Life notifies us of your change in housing.