Financial Aid for College

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by JustMickey, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. JustMickey

    JustMickey DIS Veteran

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    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!
     
  2. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  3. Lisa_M

    Lisa_M DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
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  5. JustMickey

    JustMickey DIS Veteran

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    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?
     
  6. Plantlady

    Plantlady <font color=darkorchid>I eat a lot of pringles whi

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    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!
     
  7. girli565

    girli565 A Miami kind of girl

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    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!
     
  8. corndog

    corndog <font color=blue>My childhood grows increasingly h

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    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!
     
  9. angwill

    angwill I just want to live at WDW!

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    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.
     
  10. jenm2878

    jenm2878 <font color=blue>He's not going to claw his way ou

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    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.
     
  11. ForTheLoveofDisney

    ForTheLoveofDisney <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/image

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    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.
     
  12. JustMickey

    JustMickey DIS Veteran

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    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!
     
  13. ampooh

    ampooh DIS Veteran

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    no real advice except to talk to the Financial aid people. You could get a work scholarship.
     
  14. HunnyPots

    HunnyPots DIS Veteran<br><font color=purple>The Tag Fairy is

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    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!
     
  15. lulamc

    lulamc Mouseketeer

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    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.
     
  16. Irin997

    Irin997 DIS Veteran

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    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
     
  17. Irin997

    Irin997 DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  18. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  19. TinkOhio

    TinkOhio DIS Veteran

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    :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
     
  20. Toby'sFriend

    Toby'sFriend The thing about growing up with Fred and George is

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    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.
     
  21. Irin997

    Irin997 DIS Veteran

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    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.
     

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