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JustMickey
01-21-2008, 08:02 PM
I'm 18 years old, and I'm a freshman at a public University in Texas. I moved out of my house last August and I will not be moving back in. I'm not receiving any financial help from my parents either. I would like to claim myself as an independent as I apply for financial aid for the 2008-09 school year, but I read somewhere that it's nearly impossible to do this unless you're at least 24, or married, or have children, or a veteran, etc. If I'm not relying on my parents in the least, do I still have to claim myself as a dependent? This would mean reporting my parents' tax information, right? Would I also have to report my step-parents info? (Both of my parents have re-married) I would really appreciate if anyone could answer these questions. I didn't really find any helpful info through internet searches so maybe someone on the DIS can help! TIA!

MrsPete
01-21-2008, 08:08 PM
I'm 18 years old, and I'm a freshman at a public University in Texas. I moved out of my house last August and I will not be moving back in. I'm not receiving any financial help from my parents either. I would like to claim myself as an independent as I apply for financial aid for the 2008-09 school year, but I read somewhere that it's nearly impossible to do this unless you're at least 24, or married, or have children, or a veteran, etc. If I'm not relying on my parents in the least, do I still have to claim myself as a dependent? This would mean reporting my parents' tax information, right? Would I also have to report my step-parents info? (Both of my parents have re-married) I would really appreciate if anyone could answer these questions. I didn't really find any helpful info through internet searches so maybe someone on the DIS can help! TIA!Years ago I was in the very same situation, and I never found a solution. I went to the financial aid office and talked to them about it multiple times, certain that there was some sort of a glitch and somehow I could work around this unfairness. Nope. All I can say is, GOOD LUCK.

Lisa_M
01-21-2008, 08:43 PM
You don't have to let them claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes, but for the FAFSA you are considered a dependent. It sucks, no way around it. Sorry.

JustMickey
01-21-2008, 08:48 PM
Hmm. Thanks for your responses, I knew there'd be someone here who could help. Does anyone know if I have to report my step-parents information as well?

Plantlady
01-21-2008, 08:54 PM
Go talk to people. I know one person that got around this.. with help from a VERY persistent father like figure.

Talk to financial aid, talk to the controllers office, ask how to do it. They want you in school. They get money if you go. Do you know ANYONE at the university that has a high up position? Even a professor could help pave your way for you.

Don't give up.. keep talking to people. If they can't help you, ask them who to go to.

good luck!

girli565
01-21-2008, 09:22 PM
Your parents can't claim you if they are not financially helping you out and you can say you're independent on any and all forms but because you're so young the FAFSA will just assume you are dependent regardless of what info you give them. I was supporting myself throughout my last 2 years of college and paying my share of the household bills but because I was under 24 they would not let me claim independence.

Goodluck. if you are persistent than maybe you will come out on top!

corndog
01-21-2008, 09:56 PM
I'm 18 years old, and I'm a freshman at a public University in Texas. I moved out of my house last August and I will not be moving back in. I'm not receiving any financial help from my parents either. I would like to claim myself as an independent as I apply for financial aid for the 2008-09 school year, but I read somewhere that it's nearly impossible to do this unless you're at least 24, or married, or have children, or a veteran, etc. If I'm not relying on my parents in the least, do I still have to claim myself as a dependent? This would mean reporting my parents' tax information, right? Would I also have to report my step-parents info? (Both of my parents have re-married) I would really appreciate if anyone could answer these questions. I didn't really find any helpful info through internet searches so maybe someone on the DIS can help! TIA!

It's true that the FAFSA will not understand your situtation, but most schools will ignore the FAFSA's determination if they are provided with the facts of your situation.

I was emancipated when I was 17 and was able to get the vast majority of schools that I talked to to understand the situation and do a separate workup.

It's on you to take the initiative though. Good luck!

angwill
01-21-2008, 10:39 PM
I was in the same situation and it really sucks. I never could find a way around it and my parents refused to allow me to have their tax info to even apply for financial aid.

I moved out at 16 and my parents continued to file income taxes for me as a dependant child for taxes. The IRS came after me a couple of years later for the money because I filed taxes for myself since I was on my own. There was nothing I could do but pay them back with penelty's and interest so be careful because your parents could claim you for their income taxes last year if you were 17 for any part of the year. My parents even claimed me the year I turned 18 on January 10th.

I am sorry for anyone that has to deal with this issue because it made a huge difference in my life.

jenm2878
01-22-2008, 07:34 AM
I was in the same situation. The college told me I had to get emancipated from my parents legally to not be considered a dependant. (Even though I was over 18) To get emancipated you have to fill out some paperwork and pretty much prove that you moved out due to abuse, neglect, etc. I didn't do it because my parents were nice people, just poor and couldn't help me with college.

Good luck! I never really found a way around it.

ForTheLoveofDisney
01-22-2008, 07:52 AM
I feel your pain. :sad2: I moved out at 18, like you. Our parting was not a good one and I was completely on my own and paying my own way. Working full time during the day and trying to go to school at night (thankfully my employer paid 90% tuition).

The bad thing was I could not claim myself for financial aid until the magic number 24 and like a pp stated my parents would not give me their financial information.

When I was trying to get financial aid at 18, and in the same boat as you, the financial aid officer explained to me that the reason for the age restriction is because before the age restriction was put into effect, parents were actually moving their children out of the house (but still helping them financially) and letting the federal government pay for the much more expensive college education.

The only other way around it is to be emancipated from your parents, join the military, get pregnant or get married. That's it.

JustMickey
01-22-2008, 09:23 AM
I'm so sorry for all the experiences everyone had with issue. :grouphug: Thankfully there's nothing ugly about my situation, like someone said my parents are just poor and I'd like them to not have to worry about me. I do have a scholarship from my school and that really helps, but I will try to talk to my financial aid officer as well. Thanks everyone for your advice and empathy!

ampooh
01-22-2008, 10:25 AM
no real advice except to talk to the Financial aid people. You could get a work scholarship.

HunnyPots
01-22-2008, 11:19 AM
Well, if there's nothing ugly in your situation with your parents, its probably in your best interest to get their assistance in filling out the FAFSA and seeing what you qualify for. They will not be obligated in any way to provide financial assistance. Its just a matter of providing tax info and bank account info. Its worth a try and you have nothing to lose.
Good luck!

lulamc
01-22-2008, 12:01 PM
I am a financial aid director at a public university in TX. The basic federal guidelines that make one independent on the 2007-08 FAFSA are:

Were you born before 1/1/84?
Are you a graduate student?
Are you married?
Do you have dependents?
Are you an orphan or ward of the court?
Are you a veteran?

If you answer "no" to the questions above, you are dependent, for financial aid purposes.

Financial aid administrators can override this dependency status, with appropriate documentation. We do this very rarely, but it is done in cases where a student is estranged from his/her parent(s). This must be well documented (police reports, court papers, counselor statements, etc.)

So, unless you fall into the situation described above, I would tell you its very unlikely to persuade a financial aid administrator into doing a dependency override. We get audited on these types of decisions and must be able to thoroughly document such a judgment.

Irin997
01-22-2008, 12:07 PM
FYI You will be able to apply for a private student loan if federal financial aid falls short. They may require a co-signor though so think about if you have any close relatives with good credit history to help you get your student loan. PLEASE take a meeting with the financial aid office so they can help you with your specific needs. You never know how helpful they may or may not be.

Here is some really great info from the Finaid website about parent refusal to pay:

http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/parentsrefuse.phtml

Irin997
01-22-2008, 12:18 PM
Also, I would suggest taking your first two years at a MUCH cheaper community college. CC is usually 1/4 of the cost of a university. I got my Associate's and then transferred to a 4 year.

MrsPete
01-22-2008, 12:32 PM
It's true that the FAFSA will not understand your situtation, but most schools will ignore the FAFSA's determination if they are provided with the facts of your situation.My school did not. In fact, when I went in to talk to them -- and told them truthfully that my parents paid NOTHING for me, and I did not live in their house -- they looked at my information and told me that it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to survive on what I was earning. The thing is, I WAS surviving on that piddly amount.

TinkOhio
01-22-2008, 03:38 PM
:grouphug: I don't know what the answer is, but I just wanted to you an e-hug and a big hang in there! I went through that a long time ago. Knock on as many doors as you can to see what kind of help is available. Work/study programs and working on campus for discounted tuition might help. Starting at a good CC is also a good idea.

Good luck!:goodvibes

Toby'sFriend
01-22-2008, 04:08 PM
It's been awhile since I was in school but I never got the "they want you in school" thing either. At least where I went, there was always a line of students behind me willing to take my place if I didn't show up.

Quite the opposite. I once sat in a FA officer's cubicle with my 3 years of tax returns showing "Married" and my infant son in a stroller next to me ---

and she accused me of being a big fat liar and told me that I would get no aid until she saw my parent's tax returns. :rolleyes: To say the least, I had to request to speak to her Supervisor, but I did end up having to go get a certified copy of my son's birth certificate showing that I did indeed birth the baby in the stroller.

That was the worst year, but it was a nightmare nearly every year proving my independent status.

best of luck, finding money to pay for your education is rough.

Irin997
01-23-2008, 07:11 AM
It's been awhile since I was in school but I never got the "they want you in school" thing either. At least where I went, there was always a line of students behind me willing to take my place if I didn't show up.

Quite the opposite. I once sat in a FA officer's cubicle with my 3 years of tax returns showing "Married" and my infant son in a stroller next to me ---

and she accused me of being a big fat liar and told me that I would get no aid until she saw my parent's tax returns. :rolleyes: To say the least, I had to request to speak to her Supervisor, but I did end up having to go get a certified copy of my son's birth certificate showing that I did indeed birth the baby in the stroller.

That was the worst year, but it was a nightmare nearly every year proving my independent status.

best of luck, finding money to pay for your education is rough.

Wow, that is surprising. I never had any problems proving my independent status. I think I just had to provide a copy of the birth certificate and tax returns the first year and after that there weren't any issues. But I don't even remember if I had to do that. I may have had to sign some sort of declaration of independent status or something.

lilyv
01-23-2008, 07:39 AM
I'm 18 years old, and I'm a freshman at a public University in Texas. I moved out of my house last August and I will not be moving back in. I'm not receiving any financial help from my parents either. I would like to claim myself as an independent as I apply for financial aid for the 2008-09 school year, but I read somewhere that it's nearly impossible to do this unless you're at least 24, or married, or have children, or a veteran, etc. If I'm not relying on my parents in the least, do I still have to claim myself as a dependent? This would mean reporting my parents' tax information, right? Would I also have to report my step-parents info? (Both of my parents have re-married) I would really appreciate if anyone could answer these questions. I didn't really find any helpful info through internet searches so maybe someone on the DIS can help! TIA!

So, you're currently a student. Does this mean that your parents filled out the appropriate paperwork for 07-08? What has changed since last spring? Are you certain there is no middle ground? Any chance that you can work out a misunderstanding? It would be so much better if you were able to work out a compromise.

OK, so assuming you want to continue in school, and also assuming you're attending classes and making good grades, and haven't gotten into trouble at school. How did you find out about the change in your financial situation?

Did your parents say we aren't filling out FAFSA, and we will ignore our family contribution amount? First, read the fine print in your college catalog. There may be information contained there that spells out the college's policy on students who need waivers. Your next step should be an appointment to talk to the financial aid office. Explain exactly what the situation is. Ask what your options are. Stress that you don't want to drop out of school. They may ask for documentation that your parents have refused to give you any help. Are you receiving any $$ from them? Are you on their health/dental plans? Are you paying your own car insurance/rent/etc?

Finally, your High school guidance counselor, pastor, or other people with standing in the community that know you might be able to help clarify and document your situation. This isn't going to be easy. Document your steps as you walk through this process.



Good luck to you!

Mickeyluver37
01-23-2008, 08:18 AM
I had a friend that got around this by talking to her school's financial aid office, because she wasn't getting any college money from her parents. The school basically only sided with her because she said she got absolutely NOTHING from them of any kind of support whatsover. Well, you know that break between Fall and Spring semester? She had left on her dorm voicemail that she went "home" for break and they revoked her aid. Quite honestly, I do feel that she lied, you can't get financial aid just because your parents don't want to help you- otherwise everyone would claim that.

JustMickey
01-23-2008, 11:45 AM
Thank you everyone for your comments. I never dreamed that so many people have been in a similar situation. All of my friends from high school have their educations paid for and stay with their parents during breaks so I really had no idea how to handle this. Luckily, like I said, there's no tension b/w me and my parents at all, but contributing to my education is pretty much out of the question for them, they just really can't afford it. Last year when we filled out the FAFSA, my mother was not married and had not had a job for several years. Because of this, the EFC was almost non-existant and I got several grants and qualified for loans as well. Now, my mother is married and has a part-time job, so I don't think I will get as much money in financial aid as I did last year. My mother still takes care of my 3 brothers living at home and I know she doesn't have the money to help me. (I pay my own rent, car insurance, cell phone bill, gas, etc.) Thankfully, I also have a merit-based scholarship from my university, so I did not have to take out any loans this year. I know I will probably still qualify for grants if I apply as a dependent, I was just looking into declaring myself independent in order to possibly qualify for more. Also, I know that I will probably qualify for loans as well, though I would rather avoid taking out loans. Thanks again to everyone who responded with words of advice and support, and again I'm sorry to all of those who have been through this in the past. I feel very fortunate to even have the opportunity to go to college. If anyone else has words of advice feel free to leave them here! :goodvibes